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Apple Watch: How to set it up for the first time

You got your Apple Watch, now you have to set it up and pair it up to your iPhone. Here’s the ultimate guide on how to do this perfectly.

Set up your Apple Watch

Learn how to set up your Apple Watch with your iPhone.

Before you begin

To use Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular), you need an iPhone 6 or later with the latest version of iOS. (To use Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS) or earlier models of Apple Watch, you need an iPhone 5s or later with the latest version of iOS.)

You also need to complete these steps:

  1. On your iPhone, go to Settings > Bluetooth and make sure that Bluetooth is on.

  2. Make sure that your iPhone is connected to Wi-Fi or a cellular network.

If you already set up your Apple Watch but want to use it with a different iPhone, you can transfer your Apple Watch and its content to your new iPhone.

1. Turn on your Apple Watch
To turn on your Apple Watch, press and hold the side button until you see the Apple logo. This may take a few minutes.

Get help if your Apple Watch won’t turn on or if you’re asked to enter a passcode and forgot it.

2. Put on your Apple Watch
Hold your Apple Watch and iPhone close together. Wait for the “Use your iPhone to set up this Apple Watch” message to appear on your iPhone, then tap Continue. If you don’t see this message, open the Apple Watch app, then tap Start Pairing.

Keep your Apple Watch and iPhone close together until you complete these steps.

3. Hold your iPhone over the animation
Then center the watch face in the viewfinder on your iPhone. Wait for a message to say that your Apple Watch is paired.

If you can’t use the camera, tap Pair Apple Watch Manually, then follow the steps that appear.

4. Set up as new or restore from a backup
Then choose which wrist you want to wear your Apple Watch on. Read the Terms and Conditions and tap Agree, then tap Agree again to continue.

5. Sign in with your Apple ID
If asked, enter your Apple ID password. If you aren’t asked, you can sign in later from the Apple Watch app: Tap General > Apple ID, then sign in. Certain features that require a cellular phone number won’t work on Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular) unless you sign in to iCloud.

If Find My iPhone isn’t set up on your iPhone, you’ll be asked to turn on Activation Lock. If you see an Activation Lock screen, your Apple Watch is already linked to an Apple ID. You need to enter the email address and password for that Apple ID to continue set up. If your Apple Watch was previously owned, you might need to contact the previous owner to remove Activation Lock.

6. Choose your settings
You can set up Location Services, Route Tracking, and Siri. If Siri isn’t already set up on your iPhone, it will turn on after you choose this option.

Then your Apple Watch shows you which settings it shares with your iPhone. If you turned on Find my iPhone, Location Services, Wi-Fi Calling, and Diagnostics for your iPhone, these settings automatically turn on for your Apple Watch.

7. Create a passcode
You can skip creating a passcode, but you need one for features like Apple Pay.

On your iPhone, tap Create a Passcode or Add a Long Passcode, then switch to your Apple Watch to enter your new code. To skip, tap Don’t Add Passcode.

You’ll also be asked to set up Apple Pay by adding a card.

8. Choose your settings
We’ll walk you through setting up features, like SOS and Activity. On Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular), you can also set up cellular.

Then you can install your apps that are compatible with Apple Watch.

9. Wait for your devices to sync
Depending on how much data you have, syncing might take some time. While you wait for your watch to sync, try Apple Watch Basics.

Keep your devices close together until you hear a chime and feel a gentle tap from your Apple Watch, then press the Digital Crown.

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