How to pair a new or existing Apple Watch with your new iPhone [New process]

Ready to upgrade from your Apple Watch Series 7 to the new Series 8 or SE? Or maybe you just need to transfer your existing Apple Watch with your new iPhone? Follow the procedure to seamlessly pair a new or existing Apple Watch with an iPhone without losing data, including a new process in iOS 16.

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

Read on to find out how to make sure your Apple Watch is backed up and you’re ready to upgrade.

If you’re upgrading to a new iPhone 14 (or any other new model), you’ll need to take care of that first.

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

How to pair Apple Watch with a new iPhone

New with iOS 16 – Apple Watch automatic transfer

A fresh, seamless new process should appear with iOS 16 for moving an existing Apple Watch from your old iPhone to your new one.

  1. Be sure to set up your new iPhone and restore it with a backup or complete the quick transfer option from your old iPhone
  2. After setting up your new iPhone, make sure your Apple Watch is on your wrist (and the passcode is entered)
  3. Look for a message on your watch to Pair the watch with the new iPhone?
  4. Picking out OKAY
  5. You can leave your watch on your wrist during the transfer – even the ring workouts/progress from the start of the day remain after the transfer

If this process does not appear for you, follow the steps below…

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

  1. If you are upgrading to a new iPhone, make sure to set it up first (restore from new backup)
  2. Open the Watch app on your new iPhone to start the pairing process (you can choose to add your new Apple Watch before also removing the one you already have: All Watches > Add Watch if the automatic pairing screen does not not display)
  3. Turn on your Apple Watch and look for the pairing sphere codefollow the instructions
  4. When prompted, choose to restore your new Apple Watch from a backup and choose the most recent one
  5. If you don’t see a backup available from your most recent iPhone backup, follow below on how to force an Apple Watch backup

Pair the new Apple Watch with the new iPhone

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

  1. Open the Watch the app on your iPhone
  2. Tap All Watches in the upper left corner
  3. Picking out Add a watch
  4. Follow the prompts
  5. You should see an option to restore your previous watch backup to your new watch

Force an Apple Watch Backup

If you don’t see a backup available for 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 the app on your iPhone
  3. Press All watches at the top, choose your watch, then tap the “i” on the right side
  4. Press Unpair Apple Watch (during the unpairing process, your Apple Watch will make a new backup to your iPhone)
  5. Follow the instructions to unpair your current watch
  6. Make a fresh backup of your old iPhone, restore that 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 choose the most recent one

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