How to Set Up Apple Watch & Pair It with Your iPhone

Pair new Apple Watch with your phone, configure settings, and set goals.

New Apple Watch? We'll cover how to set up your Apple Watch, pair it with your iPhone, and configure the main settings and features. Let's unpack those Apple Watch boxes and get started! 

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

How to Pair Apple Watch with iPhone

Before getting started, make sure your iPhone has Bluetooth enabled and is connected to a Wi-Fi network. You can also check out how to put on your Apple Watch band. Here's how to pair your new Apple Watch to your iPhone.

  1. If you haven't already turned your Apple Watch on, press and hold the Side button until the Apple logo appears. 

    how to turn on apple watch
  2. If prompted, bring your iPhone closer to your Apple Watch. 

    how to pair apple watch
  3. Tap Continue.

    how to pair apple watch
  4. Hold your Apple Watch up to the Camera as instructed. If nothing happens after a few seconds, tap Pair Apple Watch Manually and follow the on-screen instructions.

    Bring your watch into view of the iPhone camera viewfinder.
  5. Tap Set Up Apple Watch.

    how to pair apple watch

You may need to wait for a couple of minutes while your iPhone connects to your Apple Watch. 

How to Set Up Your Apple Watch

Now that your Watch has been successfully paired to your iPhone, you're ready to configure your Apple Watch settings and set up some of the main functions. Let's complete the set up process: 

  1. Tap Agree to accept the Terms and Conditions.

    Tap Agree to accept the Terms and Conditions.
  2. Next, you'll be opted to create a Passcode. While you can skip this step by selecting Don't Add Passcode, I highly recommend creating one. To create a four-digit passcode, tap Create a Passcode. For a longer passcode, tap Add a Long Passcode. I prefer to create a regular four-digit passcode, although a longer one can be more secure (but harder to remember.)

    Tap Create a Passcode.
  3. Create a Passcode by tapping the digits on your Apple Watch. You'll be asked to re-enter the code to confirm it.

    Create a Passcode by tapping the digits on your Apple Watch. You'll be asked to re-enter the code to confirm it.
  4. First, select your preferred reading experience by toggling Bold Text on or off and adjusting the slider to select text size. You can see how it will look in the preview. Once you are done, tap Continue.

    Once you are done, tap Continue.
  5. Tap OK to share your iPhone's settings with your Apple Watch.

    Tap OK to share your iPhone's settings with your Apple Watch.
  6. Next you'll be prompted to personalize Fitness and Health. If you've already set this up on your iPhone, you should see your date of birth, sex, height, and weight here. You can change them by tapping on them. You can also toggle Wheelchair on or off depending on whether you are a wheelchair user or not. Once all the information is correct, tap Continue.

    Once all the information is correct, tap Continue.
  7. Next you can toggle Noise on or off. Many users tend to toggle this off to preserve battery life, however, if you tend to work in loud environments, you may wish to keep this on to protect your hearing. Tap Continue.

    Tap Continue.
  8. Next, you can read about the various ways your Apple Watch can help in an emergency. Tap Continue.

    Tap Continue.
  9. Next you'll learn about the Always On Display, Tap Continue.

    Next you'll learn about the Always On Display, Tap Continue.
  10. Here you'll be able to pick how you see the apps displayed on your Apple Watch Home screen. I prefer Grid View but List View is a great option too. Tap one to select it, then tap Continue.

    Tap one to select it, then tap Continue.
  11. It will take some time for your Apple Watch to sync. You can just wait for it to finish, or take this time to learn more about your watch by tapping Get to Know Your Watch.

    tap Get to Know Your Watch.
  12. At some point you will be notified that your Apple Watch has access to iMessage and FaceTime. Tap OK.

    Tap OK.
  13. Once your Apple Watch is done syncing to your iPhone, you'll get a Welcome to Apple Watch message. Tap OK.

    Tap OK.
  14. You'll be taken to the Watch app where you can explore your Apple Watch settings and create a watch face or several!

    You'll be taken to the Watch app

Pro Tip: Make sure to keep your Apple Watch updated so that it's running at it's best abilities! If your Apple Watch won't update, follow these tips to fix it.

Now your Apple Watch is ready to go! If you want to further customize settings, the Watch app on your iPhone is where you'll manage your Apple Watch settings and features. You'll also find all of your workout activity in the Fitness app. To make the most of your Apple Watch, I also recommend customizing your Apple Watch Control Center and checking 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 a 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.