How to sync your Apple Watch with a new iPhone – Unlike your iPhone, there’s no straightforward method to back up your Apple Watch to iCloud manually. That’s because backups for the Apple Watch aren’t truly backups at all: Because your Watch borrows the majority of its data from your associated iPhone, it is all saved to your iPhone’s iCloud or iTunes backup.
When you’re connected via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, your Watch will sync the health and app data it collects to your iPhone (and, via your phone, to iCloud). However, unless you deliberately unpair your Apple Watch, which will then automatically sync its current data to your iPhone, you can’t pick when you’d like to sync that information – it happens in the background.
There are two methods for transferring an existing Apple Watch to a new iPhone.
- Automatic Setup
Since iOS 11.2, you may use Automatic Setup to transfer your iPhone backup and Apple Watch to a new iPhone without having to unpair and fix it. However, to ensure that your Apple Watch and iPhone are properly transferred, I recommend the following:
- Enable iCloud Health sync on your watch to keep it up to date.
- Before you transfer to your new iPhone, make a backup of your current iPhone.
The best approach to migrate your Watch is to force a backup if you’re not restoring your new iPhone from your old iPhone’s backup. To do so, unpair your Watch from your current iPhone by following the instructions in our backup article (but make sure you’ve enabled Health data to sync in iCloud first):
- What is the best way to back up your Apple Watch?
How to transfer your Apple Watch data to a new iPhone.
You’ll follow somewhat different steps for setting up your Apple Watch depending on whatever technique you used to set up your new iPhone.
If you select Automatic Setup, you will be presented with the following options.
- Follow the steps in our iPhone Automatic Setup tutorial to complete the process.
- When you get the message “Do you wish to utilize (name of Apple Watch) with this iPhone?” press Continue.
If you select Unpair/Repair as your option,
- Make sure your Watch isn’t connected to your existing iPhone.
- Set up your new iPhone from scratch or from an iCloud or iTunes backup.
- Open the Watch app after your iPhone has completed the setup process. (You can also bring your Apple Watch close to your iPhone to bring up a screen that looks similar to the AirPods pairing screen, which will then activate the Watch app.)
- Set up your Apple Watch from the ground up or from a backup.
You will lose your health data if you don’t have iCloud health sync enabled and set up your iPhone and Apple Watch from scratch.
How to swap the LTE account on your Apple Watch to a new iPhone
If you bought an LTE Apple Watch, you’ll almost certainly have a cellular plan for it linked to your iPhone’s account. The good news is that you shouldn’t have to change your plan when you upgrade to a new iPhone. Simply follow the procedures outlined above, and you should be good to go.
That’s because, even if you upgrade to a new iPhone, your phone number and plan remain the same (with a new SIM card inside it).
If you’re switching to a different carrier with your new iPhone, you’ll need to contact your new carrier to figure out the best approach to make the transfer. You’ll almost certainly need to do the following:
- Call your current carrier to terminate your Apple Watch plan (but don’t cancel your iPhone contract yet).
- Set up your new plan and iPhone according to your new carrier’s instructions, and transfer your old number over (if applicable).
- Follow the steps above to set up your Apple Watch.
- To your Apple Watch, add a new cellular account.
How to move your Apple Watch from an old iPhone to a new one without a backup
You have two options if you want to start afresh on your new iPhone from scratch without a backup.
Option one: If you don’t care about your Health data or other personal information, you can start over on both devices. You’ll lose all of your recorded workouts, GPS routes, heart rate data, and achievements, as well as your downloaded apps and health data.
Option two: You can move your Health data to a clean-install iPhone and Apple Watch if you use iCloud and iOS 11 or later, but only if you use iCloud and iOS 11 or later. To do so, make sure the Health toggle in Settings > iCloud is turned on. If you have a lot of Health data, you may have to wait a long time for everything to sync, so don’t erase your old iPhone until this is completed.
Follow the steps below to set up your Apple Watch once your Health information has synced:
- To unpair your Watch, follow the unpair/repair steps above.
- Open the Watch app after you’ve done setting up your iPhone. (You can also bring your Apple Watch close to your iPhone to bring up a screen that looks similar to the AirPods pairing screen, which will then activate the Watch app.)
- Follow the steps below: How to sync your Apple Watch with your iPhone and set it up
Transferring your Apple Watch to a new iPhone: Troubleshooting Tips
Do you have trouble transferring your Apple Watch from one device to another? Here are a few ideas to get you started.
I’m having trouble pairing my Apple Watch with my new iPhone!
On your ancient iPhone, you may still need to disable Activation Lock. Check to see whether your old device is still connected; in the worst-case scenario, try to reset your Apple Watch directly from the device.
- How to Use Apple Watch Activation Lock
My medical information has vanished!
Did you back up your Health data using iCloud or an encrypted iTunes backup, or did you sync it independently using iCloud? Your data hasn’t been saved to your backup or iCloud account if this isn’t the case. Making a new backup of your iPhone and watch (and restoring your new iPhone from that backup), using a third-party app like Health Data Importer, or waiting for iCloud to finish backing up your Health data are all options for resolving this issue.
- How to back up and save your Apple Watch health data
Are there any other issues?
If you have any other problems, Apple offers a really decent troubleshooting website for switching your Apple Watch over.
Have you have any other worries or questions about transferring an Apple Watch to a new iPhone? Please let us know if this is the case.