If your Apple Watch is acting up, and turning it on and off or force-restarting does nothing to alleviate problems you may be faced with, you might need to unpair the Watch and iPhone as a last resort.
Or, maybe you’ve forgotten your Watch passcode, in which case you’ll need to erase and restore the device from a backup. Thankfully, unpairing your Apple Watch and iPhone is a simple matter of a few taps in the iPhone’s Apple Watch app.
How to unpair your Apple Watch and iPhone
Step 1: Fire up the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
Step 2: In the Apple Watch app, tap My Watch > Apple Watch, then tap the Unpair Apple Watch option, as shown below.
Step 3: Tap again to confirm. After your Apple Watch unpairs, you’ll see the Start Pairing message.
Tip: Make sure to keep your Watch and iPhone close together as you unpair them because the process is done over Bluetooth. In case the connected iPhone isn’t nearby, or has Bluetooth disabled, you can start anew by tapping Settings > General > Reset > Erase all Content and Settings on your Watch.
Either way, content and settings on your wearable device will be wiped clean and the device set back to factory default settings.
As an added bonus, unpairing through the Apple Watch app always performs a backup first, just in case, without you having to do a thing.
This lets you easily restore your Watch from a saved backup and, for the most part, pick up right where you left off. In case you were wondering, you aren’t required to unpair the devices just to create a backup of the Watch on your iPhone.
“When paired with an iPhone, Apple Watch content is backed up continuously to iPhone,” notes Apple.
“Apple Watch backups are included as part of your iPhone backups to iCloud or iTunes,” according to Apple, “but you can’t view information in the backups in iCloud.”
Of course, should you reset your Watch to the factory settings on the device itself — and your iPhone isn’t nearby or has its Bluetooth disabled — the Apple Watch app won’t be able to create an up-to-date Watch backup.
It’s hardly a deal breaker because, as mentioned before, the Watch content is backed up continuously to its connected iPhone. Just something to keep in mind before you decide to wipe the Watch clean without the paired iPhone nearby rather than go through the normal unpairing process through the Apple Watch app.