How to unpair an Apple Watch

best smartwatches apple watch series 3
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

If the time comes to part with your beloved Apple Watch, you’ll want to make sure it no longer contains any of your personal data, and can no longer connect to any of your iOS devices. Apple has made the process quite straightforward, so here’s how to unpair an Apple Watch.

Step 1: Prepare your devices

Make sure your Apple Watch and iPhone (or other iOS devices compatible with the Apple Watch app) are charged and close together before you begin. The unpairing process will erase all content and settings on your Apple Watch, which is handy for preparing your Apple Watch for resale, gifting, and so on, but what happens to all that personal data?

Apple creates a backup of this Watch data and stores it on iCloud. If you pair your account with a new Apple Watch, all that data will be transferred over, so you won’t lose anything important as long as you plan on getting another Apple Watch sometime in the future. This makes the process ideal if, for example, you damaged your Apple Watch but intend to replace it.

iOS Apple Watch AppStep 2: Navigate to the right watch on the Apple Watch app

Once you are ready, open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone — this is the app you use to manage settings for your Watch. Select the My Watch tab to view all Watches that are connected to your device. Tap the Watch that you want to unpair so that it is checked (if there’s only one Watch in your iOS family this will be an easy choice).

Step 3: Unpair the Apple Watch and confirm

Next your checked Watch, you should see a small red “i” to the right of the Watch title. Select this icon, and you will be taken to another screen where you can choose to either find a missing Apple Watch, or Unpair Apple Watch. Select the Unpair option. Prepare to enter your Apple ID and password if necessary.

Step 4: Consider your data planApple Watch App Unpair

If you have a later model of the Apple Watch, starting with the Series 3, you have the option to create a Watch cellular plan. If you have one of these plans, then the app will ask you if you want to keep it or remove it. Since this plan can be easily applied to a new Apple Watch, you should keep if you are planning on buying a new model. However, if you are planning on leaving the Apple Watch life, it’s best to remove any associated data plan immediately.

No iPhone handy? Do this instead

Apple Watch UnpairIf you can’t navigate to the Apple Watch app on another device, you can still unpair the Apple Watch with a different method.

Step 1: On your Apple Watch, head to Settings. In the General section, choose Reset.

Step 2: Confirm you want to Erase All Content and Settings.

Step 3: As indicated above, you may have to make some choices about your data plan at this point. Then confirm you want to erase all content. This will unpair your Watch and restore it to factory settings.

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