I have an Apple Watch upgraded to WatchOS6 and I have only an old iPhone with iOS12 so this Apple Watch is blank and can't be associated to this iPhone (I'm using those devices for test - I'm not really an Apple user).

I would like to use this Apple Watch for its basic features and for some tests without the need to synchronize it with an iPhone.

1) Will I be able to associate this Apple Watch with an iPhone "for display" in a physical Apple retail store to pass the first WatchOS screen that asks to "associate to your iPhone"?

2) The idea is to associate without linking the watch to the cloud. Am I going to virtually brick the watch or will I be able to reset it from its own settings menu without the used iPhone of the Apple retail store?

  • 1
    I'm a developer ;-) I can't access a recent iPhone so I'm trying to find a way to pair this watch so that I can get things going. WatchOS6 (unlike WatchOS5) is a much more independent OS, you can use Wi-Fi to directly connect to the Apple store and those kinds of things. Jun 9, 2020 at 3:32

1 Answer 1


So, I would 100% ask for help at the store in setting up your Watch rather than trying to use the display devices for pairing or setup. The display devices are heavily managed, your personal data could be synced up to Apple’s account if you managed to do this.

They have staff dedicated to the task of getting you set up and have equipment specially prepared / wiped / sanitized to help you with getting your watch set up.

If you can’t borrow a friend’s device / wipe it and then set it up, I would seek help at the store and only with staff help - attempt to pair your device to the display phones. Also, try Apple support online - they might be able to help you get set up watch free or make an appointment so you know you’ll be seen when you arrive.

I don’t know what WWDC 2020 will bring, but you really need an iPhone to set up and do some critical tasks with your Apple Watch with the current version of watchOS and iOS.

  • The first thing the Apple store guy is going to tell me: buy a new iPhone! We have cheap ones at $1000+ now... Jun 9, 2020 at 3:33
  • 2
    No - certainly not if the store is run by Apple - they offer service so when you want to buy you do, not strong arm people into buying to get service.
    – bmike
    Jun 9, 2020 at 4:19

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