I have accidentally unpaired my Apple Watch on my iPhone. I need to pair my watch with the same iPhone again.

(But I think the same problem can probably be faced if one gets a new iPhone with an already paired watch.)

The Apple Watch is fully working. I can open the apps, see my clock-face and so on. But in the menu bar, there is a red strikethrough iPhone icon.

If I open the Apple Watch app on my iPhone and tap on start pairing, my Apple Watch does not show the pairing image as it did first after unboxing it.

Do I need to completely erase my watch or is there somehow an option to start pairing my watch again?

According to my space usage on my iPhone (Settings > General > Usage > Manage Storage), I do have a backup on my iPhone. But this is some days ago and I do not want to lose my (activity) data – so erasing my watch is really my last choice.

To put it in a nutshell: How do I pair my iPhone with my watch again without erasing it?

  • Un-pairing makes a backup of the watch onto your phone, then erases the watch. So if you're still seeing third-party apps installed prior to the un-pairing, then it may not actually be un-paired. What appears on your watch and phone when you tap on Start Pairing on iPhone?
    – tubedogg
    May 5, 2015 at 16:17
  • 1
    I have the same problem. My phones he went haywire so I wiped it. My watch is fine but has a red phone at the top. When I try to pair manually in the phone watch app nothing shows in the list
    – Rafe
    May 6, 2015 at 7:44
  • @Jan I think your issue is different from Rafe's. For you, toggle Bluetooth off for a few seconds on the phone, then back on, and see if that resolves the connection problem.
    – tubedogg
    May 6, 2015 at 19:37
  • 1
    @Rafe Toggle Bluetooth as described in my previous comment. You may have a further issue since your phone was wiped, and may need to set your Watch up as new, but it is probably the Bluetooth issue first.
    – tubedogg
    May 6, 2015 at 19:38
  • Did you unpair the watch in Settings > General > Bluetooth on your iPhone, or did you just go out of range? That icon appears when you are out of bluetooth range of the iPhone, but it is still paired.
    – Ɱark Ƭ
    May 18, 2015 at 20:43

2 Answers 2


I was experiencing this problem when i had my phone on my desk and I would walk away from it. When I came back I found that the watch would refuse to re-pair with my phone again.

I found a quick way to force the watch to re-pair with my phone:

  • Flick up on the watch face to get to the "Glances" menu
  • Tap the airplane button to turn on Airplane mode
  • Tap the airplane button again to turn off airplane mode
  • Within a few seconds the watch will re-pair with the phone
  • The walk-away disconnect isn't the same as "unpairing"; it's just a normal disconnect. "Unpair" has to do with when the phone forgets about the watch's device ID and doesn't auto-reconnect when you walk within range. The issue is: re-pairing requires you to erase your watch. Ex: I have several weeks of record-setting activity that I'd rather not lose, so I'm hoping to re-pair without reseting (erasing) my watch, but the phone seems uncooperative.
    – Olie
    Nov 24, 2018 at 17:18

Disable and re-enable Bluetooth on your iPhone. This fixed the issue for me. (This answer is just to give more visibility to the comment above by @tubedogg saying the same thing.)

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