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(7 Fixes) Apple Watch Keeps Unpairing During Setup [2023]

Apple Watch Keeps Unpairing During Setup

You’re excited to set up your Apple Watch.

But several attempts later… 

You still can’t escape the unpairing issue between your watch and iPhone. 

Well, I’ve experienced the same problem before.

And luckily, you only need a few minutes to pair your Apple Watch successfully. 

Continue reading to find out:

  • The most common reasons this unpairing issue happens. 
  • How to ensure your iPhone is compatible with your Apple Watch. 
  • 7 quick fixes for Apple Watch models that keep unpairing during setup. 
  • And this is just the beginning… 

Why does my Apple watch keep unpairing during setup?

Your Apple Watch keeps unpairing during setup because it’s outdated or glitching. This problem also happens when your watch is incompatible with your iPhone. And your Apple Watch also won’t pair if it’s already linked with a different mobile device. 

Apple watch keeps unpairing during setup: 7 fixes

#1: Ensure that your iPhone is compatible with your watch

Unfortunately, some iPhones aren’t compatible with certain Apple Watch models. 

So, before you change anything on your devices… 

You should ensure that you can indeed pair them. 

Here’s a table that shows…

The compatibility of each Apple Watch model:

Apple Watch ModeliPhone Requirement Required iOS
1st Generation iPhone 5 or newer 8.2 or newer
Series 1iPhone 5 or newer iOS 11 or newer 
Series 2iPhone 5 or newer iOS 11 or newer 
Series 3iPhone 6s or newer iOS 14 or newer 
Series 4iPhone 6 or newer iOS 12 or newer 
Series 5iPhone 6s or newer iOS 13 or newer 
Series 6iPhone 6s or neweriOS 14 or newer 
SEiPhone 6s or newer iOS 14 or newer 

Note: As you update your Apple devices, their compatibility also changes. I’ll explain this in more detail in fix #6.

#2: Set up your Apple Watch properly 

So, your iPhone and Apple Watch are compatible. 

But they still keep unpairing during setup. 

In that case…

You might be using the wrong steps to set up your Apple Watch. 

But don’t worry. I got you. 

Let me show you the…

5 simple steps to properly set up your Apple Watch:

Step 1: Turn ON your Apple Watch

Hover any finger over the Side/Power button of the device.

Then, press and hold it until the Apple logo appears on your watch’s screen. 

After doing so, wear the device on your wrist, then… 

Step 2: Bring your watch closer to your iPhone

When you see a pop-up window on your mobile device’s screen, tap Continue.

But if you don’t, follow these steps:

  1. Launch the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Click All Watches. 
  3. Tap Add Watch. 
  4. Click Set Up for Myself. 

Note: Keep your iPhone and watch as close to each other as possible. Officially, they should be within 30 ft (10m). But for best results, keep them within arm’s reach. 

Step 3: Hold your mobile device over your Apple Watch

As the app instructs… 

Position your iPhone above your watch. So that the latter is at the center of your phone’s viewfinder. 

Can’t use the camera? Or is the pairing animation not appearing? 

Then, tap the Pair Manually option at the bottom of your screen.

And follow further in-app instructions. 

Step 4: Restore backup files (if applicable) 

If this is your first Apple Watch model…

Select Set Up as New. 

But if you already had a previous Apple Watch with your current iPhone…

Choose Make This Your New Apple Watch. 

Note: Feel free to customize your setup settings in this step as you see fit. 

Step 5: Finish up the process

Sign in using your Apple ID, create a passcode, and customize your watch’s display if you want.

Then, follow the rest of the instructions on your screen. 

After that, observe if your devices successfully pair.

And if they still don’t… 

#3: Unpair your Apple Watch with its previous mobile device 

This problem also occurs if your watch has already been paired with another iPhone/iPad. 

So, if this is the case for you, follow these steps to… 

Unpair your Apple Watch with its previous mobile device:

  1. Turn ON the mobile device your watch is currently connected to. 
  2. Launch its Watch application. 
  3. Click the My Watch tab.
  4. Select All Watches at the top of your screen.
  5. Find your Apple Watch from the list. 
  6. Tap the Information icon beside it (circle with an “i” in the middle). 
  7. Click Unpair Apple Watch.
  8. Select the same option to confirm. 
  9. Wait until your iPhone successfully unpairs with your watch. 

And now, you may use the previous fix as a guide to pairing your devices again. 

You might also want to know: Can I Shower With My Apple Watch? 5 Surprising Facts

#4: Restart your gadgets 

Like all kinds of devices, iPhones and Apple Watch models also glitch.

And when this happens…

Different kinds of issues might occur with your gadgets. 

That includes having trouble pairing them together. 

Luckily though, clearing your Apple devices’ bugs and glitches only takes minutes.

So, let’s hop right into…

Restarting your iPhone:

iPhone 6-8
  1. Hold the Power button of your device until a slider appears on its screen.
  2. Drag the slider head to the right.
  3. Wait for 30 seconds, so your phone shuts down completely. 
  4. Turn ON your phone by pressing the Power button for 3-5s. 
iPhone X and newer
  1. Press and hold your phone’s Volume UP and Power keys. 
  2. Drag the slider to the right side of the screen when it appears. 
  3. Wait for 30 seconds or until your phone’s screen goes completely black. 
  4. Press and hold your device’s Power button.
  5. Let go when you see the Apple logo.

Note: If your mobile device isn’t part of the examples above, check its user manual. 

Restart your Apple Watch:

  1. Locate your device’s Side button.
  2. Press and hold it until you see the power menu on your watch.
  3. Tap the Power icon. 
  4. Drag the slider to the right.
  5. Wait for 30 seconds. 
  6. Press and hold the Side button again to turn ON your device. 

After this process, pair your iPhone and Apple Watch once more.

And if they still repeatedly unpair…

#5: Update your mobile device

Update Your Mobile Device

When pairing issues arise…

You should always update your iPhone to the newest OS version. 

Because outdated Operating Systems are prone to:

  • Glitching. 
  • Being hacked. 
  • Slowing down. 

Moreover, if your phone’s OS is too old…

It can also stop connecting with other wireless gadgets, including your Apple Watch. 

So, for this fix, you should… 

Update your iPhone:

  1. Plug your mobile device into its power source. 
  2. Connect it to the Internet with your WiFi. 
  3. Head to your mobile device’s Settings app.
  4. Select General, the option with the gear icon.
  5. Choose Software Update.
  6. Select the update you want to install (if there are multiple ones). 
  7. Tap Download and Install at the bottom of your screen. 
  8. Follow further instructions. 

Read next: Can Apple Unlock My iPhone? 3 Surprising Facts

#6: Keep your Apple Watch up to date

Both your iPhone and Apple Watch receive constant updates from Apple. 

And, as mentioned earlier, as their Operating Systems improve throughout the months/years…

Their compatibility also changes.

If you want to update your watch to watchOS 9, for example…

You must pair it with an iPhone 8 with iOS 16 or later. 

But don’t worry. 

It’s not hard to ensure that your mobile device and watch are still compatible. 

All you have to do is keep both gadgets up to date. 

Because the latest iOS will always be compatible with the newest watchOS. 

And assuming you’ve already updated your mobile device, all that’s left to do is to do is… 

Update your Apple Watch’s OS:

  1. Launch your watch’s Settings app.
  2. Head to General.
  3. Click Software Update. 
  4. Tap Install and follow further instructions. 

If you still can’t pair your devices after this process… 

#7: Reset your Apple Watch

There may be stubborn glitches and bugs causing this pairing issue. 

And the only way to get rid of them is to reset your Apple Watch. 

Note: This solution wipes all your saved data from your watch. But all your Apple Watch information is automatically backed up on your iPhone. So you can still restore the deleted data later. 

That said, here’s how you can… 

Reset your Apple Watch:

  1. Turn ON your Apple Watch.
  2. Launch the Settings app. 
  3. Tap General from the list.
  4. Scroll down and select Reset. 
  5. Choose Erase All Content and Settings. 
  6. Enter your passcode if prompted. 
  7. Decide whether you want to keep or remove your plan. 
  8. Click Erase All to confirm the action. 
  9. Wait for your Apple Watch to finish resetting. 

If you want a visual guide for this process, you may watch this video:

Editor’s pick: Apple Watch In Sauna: 7 Alarming Dangers (Updated)

Bonus: Reach out to Apple 

No luck pairing your devices still? 

Then, it’s time to contact Apple’s professionals themselves. 

There may be serious hardware/software issues with your device.

And only Apple’s experts can fix those types of problems. 

Luckily, the company’s support team is very easy to contact. 

You may head to the brand’s official Watch support page

Or you can also schedule an appointment with your local Apple store. 

Either way, the company’s tech experts will help you.

And you’ll either get your Apple Watch repaired or replaced. 

“Do I have to pay a fee?”

It depends on a case-to-case basis. 

If you bought your Apple Watch less than a year ago…

Your device is still under warranty. So most likely, you won’t need to pay anything to get your Apple Watch fixed. 

But if it’s no longer under its free/paid protection plan… 

You may need to pay for the repair.

Note: Apple’s authorized service providers are allowed to set their own fees. Hence, it’s hard to estimate how much repair costs would be.