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How To Reset a Locked Apple Watch

Locked Apple Watch

Setting a password on your Apple Watch is the only way you can ensure that your Watch isn’t used by anyone else when you don’t have it on your wrist. Sadly, we’ve all fallen prey to accidentally forgetting our password now and again. This begs the question, how do you reset a locked Apple Watch? 

Quick Answer

Here’s how you can reset your locked Apple Watch.

• Factory resetting your Apple Watch (standalone).
• Factory resetting your Apple Watch with a paired iPhone.

This article will cover exactly how you can reset a locked Apple Watch and which method is the best. 

How Do I Reset My Apple Watch?

Resetting your Apple Watch is the only way for you to gain access to it after it has been locked. Thankfully, you can use a few methods to reset your Apple Watch, some of which involve your phone, while others can be done completely standalone. 

Method #1: Factory Resetting Your Apple Watch 

Resetting your Apple Watch is the quickest way to reset your locked Apple Watch. Ensure your Apple Watch is connected to your charger until you finish the below steps. 

  1. Press and hold the side button; leave it when you see the power off screen.
  2. Press and hold the Digital Crown until you see “Erase All Contents and Settings”.
  3. Tap “Reset”.
  4. Tap the prompt again to confirm.
  5. Once the process finishes, your Apple Watch will be reset to factory default settings.
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If you have an Activation Lock on your Apple Watch, you’ll need to resort to the second method we’ve mentioned down below instead. 

Keep in Mind

While resetting your Apple Watch does lead to the erasure of all files and applications present in the watch, your phone takes a backup of your Apple Watch so that everything is restored once it is set up again.

Method #2: Resetting Your Apple Watch Using a Paired iPhone 

To reset your Apple Watch using your paired iPhone, you should ensure your Apple Watch and iPhone are close together until you complete the following steps.

  1. Open the “My Watch” tab on your iPhone.
  2. Tap on “General” and select “Reset”.
  3. Select “Erase Apple Watch Content and Settings”.
  4. Tap on “Erase Apple Watch Content and Settings” at the bottom of the screen to confirm the prompt. 
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Out of the two methods, we recommend using your iPhone to reset your Apple Watch. This is because it is a sure-shot way of ensuring that your Apple Watch does not have an Activation Lock when you decide to set it up again. 

So, if you plan on selling your watch, you should opt for resetting your Apple Watch using your iPhone. 

How To Reset Your Cellular Apple Watch

If your Apple Watch model is a GPS + Cellular, you must choose between keeping or removing your plan. To reset your Cellular Apple Watch, follow the same steps mentioned above and either use your iPhone to reset it or just the watch. 

‘The only difference is that if you plan to keep your watch, stick with your plan. Otherwise, remove that as well. If you accidentally remove your plan or plan on getting one later, you’ll need to contact your cellular provider to get your plan back up and running.

Quick Tip

If you do not have a plan for your cellular Apple Watch, you can just follow any of the methods mentioned above.


Unlike an iPhone, resetting a locked Apple Watch isn’t all that difficult. This is because it acts more like a companion device than a standalone gadget. So, while an Activation Lock does exist, you can use your iPhone to circumvent it even if you don’t remember your initial pin code.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I unlock a locked Apple Watch?

You can unpair your watch and “Erase all Contents and Settings” from your iPhone or the Watch itself. By doing so, you will have reset the watch to its factory default settings and be able to use it as normal again.

Can I pair an already paired Apple Watch to my ID?

Yes, you can pair an already paired Apple Watch to your Apple ID, given that Activation Lock is not enabled. Otherwise, the watch must be removed from the original Apple ID’s iCloud. Your watch will remain unusable until you do so.

Can an Apple Watch be tracked after a factory reset?

No, an Apple Watch cannot be tracked after its Factory Reset. However, to get past that stage, you’ll need to disable your Apple Watch’s Activation Lock by heading to the Apple ID the device has been paired to through iCloud. 

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