Fixed: Why Apple Watch won’t pair with iPhone or after update

Back in the days, watches used to be heavy, hard-to-carry and only used for one purpose; check the time (and, sometimes, showing off). But today, it’s 2020 and everything is getting thinner, cooler and more useful; including the smart Apple Watch.

In its recent release, Apple has produced its smart Apple Watch Series 4 with a thinner design with round edges, faster processing, larger display, and unique healthcare features.

I bought the watch soon after it was released. I enjoyed it until only recently. I came home after a morning run only to see that my apple watch and my iPhone are not connected. I tried to repair it following the regular steps but no way; my apple watch won’t pair. I had several trials, but they were useless, Apple Watch pairing failed.

So, I surfed the internet for solutions and something worked out for me, which is to reset my apple watch before I attempt to repair it with the iPhone. However, I found a lot of relevant unanswered questions from other users that I would like to address in this article.

Apple Watch not connecting to phone, So how do I pair my Apple Watch with my iPhone?

Before you attempt to pair your Apple Watch with your iPhone, make sure of the following:

  • Your iPhone iOS is up to the last update; install any newer available updates available first.
  • Your Apple Watch and iPhone are within two feet of each other. 
  • Bluetooth is on your iPhone, and it’s also connected to Wi-Fi. 

Now, follow along with these simple steps to pair your device with your iPhone: 

  1. Make sure you have the latest version of iOS installed on your iPhone. You can check this through settings (on your iPhone) > General > About > Software Update. Make sure there are not more updated available for your device. If there are, you definitely want to update your software before you begin the pairing process. 
  2. On your iPhone, launch the Apple Watch App.
  3. Click on the ‘Start Pairing’ button. Now, put your iPhone down and pick up the Apple Watch
  4. Click and hold for a few seconds until the Apple logo appears and the watch is turned on.

Well done!

Now, there are two ways to go from here, you can either choose to pair them manually or automatically. And here is how to do both:

How do I manually pair my Apple Watch with my iPhone?

After you have followed the instructions mentioned above on How do I pair my apple watch with my iPhone? let’s follow along the manual way to pair your apple watch with iPhone. 

Your apple watch is now on and showing a message that says: ‘Open your apple watch app on your iPhone and tap start pairing’. Here’s what you would do: 

  1. On the right top corner of the screen, tap the ‘i’ icon. Now it says: ‘where is the apple watch app’
  2. On your iPhone Apple Watch App, there will be a button that says: ‘pair apple watch manually’. Tap on it. 
  3. A list of nearby devices will appear, one of which will be your apple watch. Tap on it. 
  4. Your iPhone will prompt you for a 6-digit-passcode that will show simultaneously on your Apple Watch Screen.
  5. Enter the 6-digit-code on your Apple Watch App. 
  6. Now, you can either choose: set up an Apple watch if this is your first apple watch to ever be used with this phone, or you can choose a backup version to install on your Watch. 

Now, let’s go to the other way of pairing; automatic. 

How do I automatically pair my Apple Watch with my iPhone?

Note: Make sure you have read How do I pair my Apple Watch with my iPhone before you move along with me. 

Your Apple Watch should now display: ‘Open your Apple Watch app on your iPhone and tap start pairing’. Here’s what you would do: 

  1. Tap: ‘Start Pairing’.
  2. Place the Apple Watch behind the iPhone Camera. This method uses the iPhone camera to scan a code that is displayed on your Apple Watch screen. That’s why your iPhone camera needs to be clear, and you should hold your hands steady. 
  3. Now it’s paired. As simple as that.  


These steps are the same in iPhone 6,7,8, XS Max, iOS 12 and XR.

Not pairing? Follow along. 

Why is my Apple Watch not pairing? 

Now, some people follow the previous steps and still face challenges pairing their watch with their iPhone. So, here are the most common quick fixes that I think will solve your problem

  • A first common fix is: Turn Airplane mode on your iPhone and Watch, then turn it back off. 

This resets the connection between your devices and the WiFi, and between them and each other through Bluetooth. 

  1. If it doesn’t work, tap ‘forget network’ from your device Wi-Fi settings and re-log into your Wi-Fi network from both devices. This sometimes fixes are it. 
  2. Make sure your devices are connected to the same Wi-Fi if you are using Wi-Fi to connect your devices. 
  3. Make sure Bluetooth is enabled on both your devices and that they are within 30 feet from each other. It’s also possible to establish a Bluetooth connection between the iPhone and the Apple Watch.
  4. Make sure your iPhone iOS is up to date. If not, you want to update it first.
  5. Restart both your devices and repair.  The restart option usually fixes a lot of iPhone problems. 
  6. If all fails, then you have to reset your Apple Watch to factory settings. You can do this from your Apple Watch > Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings > Confirm (if prompted).

Note: This will erase all data on your Apple Watch and reset it to factory settings.


Always make sure your Apple Watch is connected and paired with your iPhone. Back up your data on the Apple Watch App. That way, if something happens and the watch disconnects, you will be able to reset it and not lose your data. 

If you didn’t find your issue in the article, I have consolidated some common FAQs that could include your question. Here we go.

How do I pair my Apple Watch with a new phone without resetting it?

It’s possible to pair your watch to a new phone without losing any data. These are the step:

  1. Make sure that you have enough time for updating both your old phone and the Apple Watch. It may take up to one hour, but this step is necessary for switching.
  2. Either you use iCloud or iTunes for back-up, make sure that Health and Activity Content is on.
  3. Now, It’s time for baking-up your old phone.
  4. Set up your new phone by logging into the iCloud (or iTunes) account you’ve used for back-up.
  5. Your new phone will ask you if you want to use the Apple Watch, simply press continue.
  6. If you are not asked for using the watch, you can set up the Watch app manually.

Why does my Apple Watch say disconnected?

A quick fix to this is to turn Airplane mode on then turn back off on your Apple Watch and iPhone. You could also try to reset the Bluetooth connection on both of your devices. If this doesn’t help, then check How do I pair my apple watch with my iPhone 

Where is the 6 digit code on Apple Watch?

It is displayed automatically on the Apple Watch screen in the process of manual pairing with your iPhone. 

Check out this video to know exactly when it pops-up or refer back to how do I manually pair my Apple Watch with my iPhone?

Can an Apple Watch have its own phone number?

No, It’s not possible. You have to set the watch up with an iPhone. The Watch then copies data from your iPhone SIM card and uses it for its various functionalities. Your cellular provider should also support Apple Watches.

What if you don’t have an iPhone but you want to make use of your watch?

You need to know that the features that will be available to you will depend on your internet connection.  There are many apps you can enjoy without having an iPhone.

These apps include; Siri, iMessage, Walkie-Talkie, podcasts, radio, listening to music and any app working via WiFi.

Can I make calls from Apple Watch?

Yes, you definitely can.  It’s very simple to make calls through your watch.  As your watch is connected to your iPhone, make the same steps of making calls via your smartphone. 

If you are away from your phone, you can also make calls. You can get this feature by maintaining two conditions:

  • The watch has to be connected to a WiFi network that your iPhone was previously connected to it. 
  • The cellular carrier of your phone supports WiFi callings.

Then, all you need to do is enabling WiFi calling on your phone.

What if my Apple Watch won’t pair with headphones?

You can pair your watch with any Bluetooth accessory as headphones.  On your watch, press settings’, then select Bluetooth. That will make the watch search for available devices. Choose the device you want to pair with. 


Some devices ask you to enter passkeys.

At the end of the day, I am glad that my Apple Watch couldn’t pair with my iPhone. Because it made put together this guide. It’s a pain that some people could buy these devices and not be able to enjoy this for some simple problems.


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