How to disconnect and reset your Apple Watch

Apple Watch 6 rests on an iPhone 11 displaying reset screen

Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Need to disconnect your Apple Watch? If you can’t remember your passcode, (or if you got carried away changing a bunch of settings and just want to start back at square one), it’s easy to reset your Apple Watch. With a few taps, you can erase all your content in the Watch app on your iPhone or from the Apple Watch itself. If you’re looking to hand off or sell though, you will need to unpair the device to restore factory settings. Here are the steps you need to know on how to reset your Apple Watch.

How to reset your Apple Watch with an iPhone

Reset your Apple Watch without unpairing for a fresh start. This will erase all data, media, and settings, but will not remove the Activation Lock, which keeps anyone from using your device but you.

  1. Open the Watch app and tap General. Scroll down and tap Reset.
  2. Tap Erase Apple Watch Content and Settings and confirm when prompted.

Reset your Apple Watch without an iPhone

Erase your Apple Watch right from your wrist. This also won’t remove the Activation Lock, but will give you an otherwise blank slate. Afterwards, you will need to pair it with your phone to resume using your device.

  1. Open the Settings app on your Apple Watch and scroll down to Reset.
  2. Tap Erase All Content and Settings.

Resetting a locked device

If you can’t remember your passcode, you can still reset your Apple Watch without your iPhone. Yes, this means someone else could reset your device without the code, but they wouldn’t be able to use it without knowing your Apple ID and password.

  1. Place your Apple Watch on its charger.
  2. Press and hold the side button until the Power Off slider appears.
  3. Press and hold the Digital Crown until a Reset prompt appears, then tap Reset.

Also read: The most common Apple Watch problems and how to fix them

How to disconnect your Apple Watch

To unpair your Apple Watch and restore the device to factory settings, you will need access to your iPhone. Unpairing the devices will erase the contents of your Apple Watch and fully remove it from your iCloud account.

  1. Open the Watch app and tap All Watches in the top left corner.
  2. Tap the info icon (encircled lowercase i) next to the watch you want to unpair.
  3. Tap Unpair Apple Watch and confirm when prompted.

How to force restart your Apple Watch

If you run into trouble turning off your device, you can force your Apple Watch to restart with a soft reset.

  1. Hold down the Digital Crown and side button for about ten seconds. The screen should turn off and then restart with the Apple logo centered on the watch face.

Use this option only as a last resort if your device isn’t responding and won’t turn off normally.