Although traditionally reset using an iPhone, there is a way to reset and erase your Apple Watch when there is no access to a paired device.
The Apple Watch is simple to use and can effortlessly connect with any iPhone — but it can also do some tasks without a paired device, such as being reset. The Apple Watch is more powerful today than it’s ever been. From increasingly more capable chipsets, better displays, and improved health tracking features, it’s pretty amazing how far the Apple Watch has come since its initial release in 2015.
One of the more interesting evolutions of the Apple Watch is how much more capable it’s become without a paired iPhone. Apple Watch apps now run as standalone ones separate from their iOS counterparts, integrated GPS chips allow you to get accurate running/biking data, and optional LTE models mean you can still access calls, texts, and data on the Apple Watch — all without being near your iPhone. The Apple Watch still needs an iPhone for some tasks (such as the initial setup process), but it’s far more independent today than it was a few years ago.
This also applies to resetting an Apple Watch. Traditionally, an Apple Watch is reset through its paired iPhone. This is done by opening the Watch app on your iPhone, tapping ‘General,’ scrolling to the bottom of the page, and then tapping ‘Reset.’ But what are you supposed to do when you need to reset your Apple Watch, and your paired phone isn’t with you? Thankfully, Apple has a solution for this too.
What You Should Know When Resetting An Apple Watch
On the Apple Watch, press the Digital Crown and then open the Settings app. Tap ‘General,’ scroll to the bottom of the page, tap ‘Reset,’ and then tap ‘Reset All Content and Settings.’ If the Apple Watch is connected to a cellular plan, that can be disconnected as well. The steps are virtually identical as they are on the iPhone — the only difference being that you perform them on the Apple Watch itself. The steps are also the same regardless of your Apple Watch model. Whether it’s an Apple Watch Series 7, Series 6, or SE, the process is identical.
Just be aware that resetting the Apple Watch like this returns it to the state it was when you first bought it. As Apple explains on its support page, “Erasing all content and settings erases all media, data, and settings from your Apple Watch.” If you want to remove the Apple Watch’s Activation Lock (something that’s necessary if you’re selling it or trading it in), you’ll need to first unpair the Apple Watch from your iPhone before resetting it.
After resetting an Apple Watch, you can begin to set it up and pair it to new devices with ease. To fully utilize many of the features of the Apple Watch, connecting it to a phone is necessary. However, if buying an Apple Watch from a third-party seller, or taking a previously used Apple Watch from a family member or friend, it’s nice to be able to reset it, no matter what the condition.
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