Using Your iPhone to Restore Your Apple Watch

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If your Apple Watch has a problem, you can now restore it using a nearby iPhone, thanks to the release of watchOS 8.5 and iOS 15.4.
Apple Watch models that needed to be restored prior to the release of the updates were mailed in for service. However, thanks to recent software updates, this isn’t always necessary, and you can now restore an Apple Watch that’s having issues using your iPhone right at home. This is how it works.

This guide assumes you’ve updated to iOS 15.4 (Settings->General->Software Update), are connected to Wi-Fi, and have Bluetooth enabled on your iPhone before proceeding.

  1. The Apple Watch you wish to have restored must be within arm’s reach of your iPhone.
  2. The Apple Watch needs to be charged, so do that.
  3. On your Apple Watch, double-click the side button located below the digital crown.
  4. Follow the instructions on your iPhone if you have one.

If the steps don’t work, check your Wi-Fi connection—Apple recommends trying a 2.4GHz network instead of a 5GHz one. If at all possible, stay away from 802.1X or captive Wi-Fi networks, such as those found in hotel rooms.

Follow these instructions after pressing the side button twice on your Apple Watch and seeing a red exclamation mark. Contacting Apple Support and scheduling a mail-in repair are recommended if the exclamation mark persists after following the steps above.

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