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My teenager went fly fishing this weekend...

The iPhone has been destroyed, but photos remain on the Apple watch. Is there a way to upload them directly from the watch to the cloud before I reset and pair with his new phone?

Note that there was not a prior backup on iCloud and his watch/phone was not connected to Photo Stram.

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  • I believe that without having a proper backup you're going to loose whatever is on the Apple Watch because without first unpairing it you'll have to erase it to pair it with a new iPhone. I'd suggest you take it to an Apple Store or at least call an Apple Store and see what can be done. – user3439894 Mar 14 '16 at 15:46
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At present, Apple's WatchOS won't connect to Wi-Fi or iCloud directly. Even if you brought up each image and took a low resolution screen capture - there isn't a viable way to send them off the device in the absence of the phone to which it was paired.

I would do two things just in case there's a maintenance procedure for this:

  • Contact AppleCare and ask about watch backups when the phone is gone.
  • See if waiting for the phone to dry out over a week or more and/or risk opening it to expedite the drying process.

Most devices that get submerged will function for a short time (with greatly reduced lifespan) once they dry completely - and that process could take a week or more before you introduce it to the best chance of working (known Wi-Fi network, connect to power to see if it boots and then connect to iTunes in the presence of the watch and a pre-joined network to try and get a backup of the photos).

Sorry I can't offer a higher chance of success. Going forward, you can make sure photos back up to iCloud and get the phone to network access periodically to reduce the window in time where photos only exist on the phone/watch combination.

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