How to connect a new Apple Watch to an iPhone in iOS 16

You have received the new Apple Watch 8, Ultra or SE and you want to transfer the data from your old watch to your new iPhone, then follow the instructions to pair a new Apple Watch with the new process included in iOS 16, including the mobile subscription. Ditto if you have a new iPhone and want to pair it with your current watch.

Apple Watch backups

Apple Watch backups happen automatically and are stored on the iPhone your Apple Watch is paired with. However, there is no place in Settings to manually back up your Apple Watch or see when the last automatic backup took place.

Please note that Apple notes that certain items are not included in Apple Watch backups: Bluetooth pairings, credit or debit cards used for Apple Pay, Apple Watch passcode, and Messages.

This guide from our “Easy iPhone” section applies to all watches sold by Apple, from Apple Watch 8 to Apple Watch Ultra, including Apple Watch SE and Apple Watch 7 (up to Series 4). In the same way, you can track it with an iPhone 14 Pro, such as an iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 12 or iPhone X, it does not change the procedure.

apple watch iphone 14 pairing guide

How to pair Apple Watch with a new iPhone

A new process brought by iOS 16 should allow you to transfer an existing Apple Watch from your old iPhone to your new phone.

  1. Set up your new iPhone and restore a backup, or use the quick transfer option from your old iPhone.
  2. After setting up your new iPhone, make sure your Apple Watch is on your wrist, turned on (press and hold the side button), and the passcode is entered if it has one.
  3. A message should appear on your watch saying “Pair Apple Watch with new iPhone”.
  4. Validate.
  5. You can leave your watch on your wrist during the transfer – even the current day’s training/activity progress is preserved after the transfer.

If this process doesn’t appear for you, don’t panic, there is the manual option.

Manually pair Apple Watch with a new iPhone

Use an Apple Watch backup to pair a new or existing watch.

  1. If you’re upgrading to a new iPhone, make sure to set it up first.
  2. Open the Watch app on your new iPhone to start the pairing process (you can also choose to add your new Apple Watch before deleting your existing watch: “All Watches” > “Add Watch” if the screen’s automatic pairing doesn’t appear).
  3. Turn on your Apple Watch and find the pairing sphere code, follow the instructions.
  4. When prompted, choose to restore your new Apple Watch from a backup.
  5. If you don’t see a backup available from your most recent iPhone backup, follow the instructions below to force an Apple Watch backup, see below.

Pair a new Apple Watch with a new iPhone

If you want or need to pair a new Apple Watch with your iPhone, or pair an existing watch as a new watch:

  1. Open the Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap “All Clocks” in the top left corner.
  3. Select “Add a clock”.
  4. Follow the instructions.
  5. You should see an option to restore the backup of your old watch to your new watch.

Force an Apple Watch backup

If you don’t see a backup available to restore, you may need to force a backup.

Since Apple Watch backups don’t happen with every iCloud or Mac/PC backup with your iPhone, here’s how Apple says to force them:

  1. Keep your paired Apple Watch and your old iPhone close together.
  2. Open the Watch app on your iPhone.
  3. Tap “All Watches” at the top, select your watch, then tap “i” on the right side.
  4. Tap “Unpair” (during the unpairing process, your Apple Watch will create a new backup for your iPhone).
  5. Follow the instructions to unpair your current watch.
  6. Make a new backup of your old iPhone, then restore the backup to your new iPhone.
  7. Open the Watch app on your new iPhone to start the pairing process for your new watch.
  8. Turn on your new Apple Watch and find the pairing sphere code, follow the instructions.
  9. When prompted, choose to restore your new Apple Watch from a backup and select the most recent one.

Transfer an existing mobile subscription to a new Apple Watch

If you have 4G on your “old” watch, you can transfer your Apple Watch’s cellular subscription to a new Apple Watch with cellular service. To do so, proceed as follows:

  1. With your Apple Watch on, open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap “My Watch,” tap “Mobile Plans,” then tap “i” next to your mobile plan.
  3. Press “Delete plan [nom de l’opérateur]”, then confirm.
  4. Remove your old Apple Watch from your wrist, put on your Apple Watch with cellular service, tap “My Watch,” then tap “Mobile.”
  5. Follow the instructions to activate the package.

Quickly switch to another Apple Watch

If you have several Apple Watches connected to the iPhone, you can easily “switch” from one to the other. Put the right one on your wrist and the iPhone should recognize it. If not, you can also select an Apple Watch manually:

  1. Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap “My Watch,” then tap “All Watches” at the top of the screen.
  3. Disable “Auto Change”.
  4. Choose the “right” watch.

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