How to Pair & Set Up Your New Apple Watch

My new Apple Watch just came in the mail, and since I've never owned one before, I'll need to learn how to set up and pair my watch to my iPhone. If you're wondering how to get your Apple Watch working as well, read on to learn along with me about how to get your iPhone ready for pairing, how to turn on your Apple Watch and sync it to your phone, how to set up your watch, customize your settings, and choose features and apps for your new device. Let's open up those Apple Watch boxes and get started! 

Related: How to Set Up & Use the ECG Feature on Your Apple Watch 

Attach the Apple Watch Band

how to change apple watch band

Your Apple Watch band is quite easy to attach; the side of the band with text goes towards your wrist. Gently slide each side of the band into the grooves on the top and bottom of the watch until you hear a click. If you have to force anything, you're doing it wrong.

How to Turn On Your Apple Watch

Once your watch band is on, put on your Apple Watch. Now press and hold the Side button until the Apple logo appears on screen. 

how to turn on apple watch

Get Your iPhone Ready to Pair to Your Apple Watch

Make sure that Bluetooth is enabled on your iPhone if it's not already by opening the Settings app, then:

  • Tap on Bluetooth in the Settings menu.
  • Toggle Bluetooth on.
how to turn on bluetooth
turn on bluetooth iphone

Also, make sure your phone is connected to a Wi-Fi network:

how to connect iphone to wifi

How to Pair Your Apple Watch to Your iPhone

You'll see a prompt on your Apple Watch like the one below:

how to pair apple watch
  • Once you bring your phone and watch together, your iPhone will let you know it's ready to help set up your Apple Watch; tap Continue.
  • Next, you'll be directed to bring your watch into view of your iPhone Camera's viewfinder.
how to pair apple watchpair apple watch
  • You'll get a notification that your Apple Watch has been successfully paired; tap Set Up Apple Watch.
  • A notification like the one below will appear on your screen; you're almost ready to start setting up your watch.
how to pair apple watchpair apple watch

How to Set Up Your Apple Watch

  • Once your Apple Watch is ready to be set up you'll see a page of terms and conditions; tap Agree at the bottom right corner of your screen.
  • You'll need to wait for a few minutes while your Apple Watch is signed in.
apple watch setup
how to set up apple watch
  • If you're going to use your Apple Watch to track workouts (and most people do), you'll need to tap Enable Route Tracking.
  • Next, tap OK to share your iPhone's settings with your Apple Watch.
apple watch route tracking
apple watch location services
  • Next, you'll have the option to create a passcode. I went with the standard, four-digit version but you can create a longer one if you wish or skip it altogether (not recommmended).

apple watch passcodepasscode for apple watch

  • Next, you'll be directed through the steps of setting up your Activity app goals.
  • You'll also be offered the option to set up Apple Pay on your watch.

apple watch fitnessapple watch apple pay

  • Now you can choose to install all the Apple Watch-compatible apps available on your iPhone on your Apple Watch, or decline and pick your apps later.
apple watch apps

The Apple Watch & Activity Apps on Your iPhone

You'll see two new apps on your iPhone; the Apple Watch app and the Activity app. When you open the Apple Watch app, you'll be able to choose your watch face, customize Notifications, change Settings like Brightness & Text size, and decide which third-party apps you'd like to download on your watch. This app is also where you'll find the App Store for your Apple Watch.

Your Activity app has all the data collected from your Apple Watch about your movement during the day and allows you to view your workout history and awards, and share your activity with friends. It is important to calibrate your Apple Watch to ensure that your exersice minutes are being tracked accurately.

apple watch app

Are you wondering, 'can you use an Apple Watch without an iPhone?' The answer is kind of.

Next, customize your Apple Watch Control Center to make the most of your new watch! I'd also recommend you check out this list of some of the best Apple Watch accessories we've come across.

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Author Details

Leanne Hays's picture

Author Details

Leanne Hays

Leanne Hays is an SEO Content Strategist and Feature Writer at iPhone Life, and has written hundreds of in-depth how-to and troubleshooting articles. She's a former Associate Editor for iPhone Life magazine, and has written for the Iowa Source, as well as web content for education marketing. Leanne has an associate's degree in education, with a focus on curriculum development, as well as a bachelor's degree in science. She has over nine years of experience with SEO, social media management, and web development and writing. Despite years of web work, Leanne is by no means an early adapter; she's only owned a smartphone for five years, which makes her highly sympathetic to the learning curve of new iPhone owners. She enjoys making reader's lives easier and putting her education experience to work by walking them through the most practical ways to use Apple devices, step-by-step.

In off-work hours, Leanne is a mother of two, homesteader, audiobook fanatic, musician, and learning enthusiast.