Resetting your Apple Watch is easy, but only if you know the difference between resetting and unpairing (one actually resets your Apple Watch and the other is frankly… kind of dumb).
Please, DON’T Reset Directly From Your Apple Watch
In order to sell an Apple Watch, you need to make sure that not only has your personal information been wiped, but also that your Apple ID has been removed. Many people assume that going to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Information on their Apple Watch will completely wipe it so another user can start using the Apple Watch.
This is false.
This method will wipe all of your personal information but keep your Apple ID and Password linked to the Watch. In this state, the Apple Watch is considered iCloud locked (also known as activation locked) and cannot be used by anyone but you.
This doesn’t make a whole lot of sense because when you follow the same exact procedure on an iPhone or iPad, it does remove the iCloud account. So, many people (who have not read this article) assume they can reset their Apple Watch in the same way they would reset their iPhone before selling it or giving it away.
This discrepancy has caused a massive problem for people who sell their Apple Watch with the assumption that it’s been completely factory reset, only to hear back from an angry buyer who purchased your iCloud locked Apple Watch.
The Best Way to Completely Reset Your Apple Watch? Unpair It
Unpairing is performed directly from the Watch app on your iPhone. When you unpair your Apple Watch using the app, it will automatically start the process of resetting itself to factory settings and deleting all of your information. It will also automatically remove your Apple ID and iCloud account so it can be used by another user.
This is the critical difference between unpairing via the app versus resetting directly on the watch. Once unpaired, your Apple Watch can be used by another user.
How to Unpair Your Apple Watch:
|1.||Open the Watch app on your iPhone.|
|2.||Click on the Apple Watch you want to unpair.|
|3.||Click on the icon of the little orange ‘i’ with a circle around it.|
|4.||Click Unpair Apple Watch.|
|5.||Enter your Apple ID and password to begin unpairing.|
|6.||Keep your iPhone near your Apple Watch for the duration of the unpairing process. Once your Apple Watch boots to the home screen, it’s ready to be used by a new user.|
What If You Can’t Unpair Using Your iPhone?
Typically the only reason you’d be unable to unpair your Apple Watch using the Watch app on your iPhone would be if:
A. Your Apple Watch is broken and won’t connect to your iPhone.
B. The iPhone that was attached to your Apple Watch has been lost or stolen or stopped working completely.
If this sounds a whole lot like your Apple Watch, no worries! You can still unpair it by using a web browser.
How to Unpair an Apple Watch Without Using an iPhone
Depending on whether you choose to unpair your Apple Watch with either a desktop or mobile browser, the exact steps you need to follow will vary slightly.
On a Desktop Browser:
|1.||On your Apple Watch, go to Settings > General > Reset then click Erase All Content and Settings. Make sure to keep your watch connected to its charger during the reset.|
|2.||Power off your Apple Watch before proceeding to Step 3 (this is important!).|
|3.||Go to icloud.com and log in using the Apple ID that’s connected to your Apple Watch.|
|4.||Once on icloud.com, go to the Find My page.|
|5.||Click All Devices on the top of the next page.|
|6.||Find your Apple Watch from your list of devices and click on it.|
|7.||Once again, click All Devices from the drop-down menu at the top of the page.|
|8.||Click on the circular ‘x’ icon.|
|9.||A message will ask if you want to remove your Apple Watch from your iCloud account. Click Remove.|
|10.||That’s it! You’ve now reset and unpaired your Apple Watch.|
On a Mobile Browser:
|1.||Follow Steps 1-4 above.|
|2.||Under the My Devices list, find and click on your Apple Watch.|
|3.||Click Remove From Account at the bottom of the page.|
|4.||That’s it! You’ve now removed the iCloud account from your Apple Watch.|
How to Reset a Broken Apple Watch
If your Apple Watch is broken, you won’t be able to erase your data from it. However, you can remove the iCloud account. This is important because if you sell the watch for parts, a refurbisher can erase the watch data themselves once it’s been repaired so it can be used by a new owner. For this reason, removing your iCloud account from a broken Apple Watch will substantially increase its value.
To remove your iCloud account from a broken Apple Watch, follow the directions in the section above starting at Step 3.
Remember that your Apple Watch is still protected by a passcode lock. So, you don’t need to worry about someone being able to access your data after your broken Apple Watch has been repaired. Once it’s fixed, a technician can easily perform a factory reset on the watch without access any data.