Many Apple Watch owners don’t know how to back up their Apple Watch and the process isn’t entirely obvious. Read along as we walk you through how to back up your Apple Watch.

This will be especially useful if you’re looking to upgrade your iPhone any time soon.

Your iPhone automatically backs up your Apple Watch, but it is unclear when or how often it backs up. This guide will walk you through how to force your Apple Watch to back up.

How to back up your Apple Watch

  1. In order to back up your Apple Watch you’ll need to be wearing your Apple Watch and it’ll need to be within Bluetooth range of your iPhone. Once that’s done, you’ll need to head into the Watch app on your iPhone > General > Reset > Erase Apple Watch Content and Settings. Unlike the iPhone or iPad, Apple Watch unfortunately doesn’t back up on a daily basis.
  2. You may need to enter your Apple ID password to disable Find my Apple Watch, and if you have a Series 3 Apple Watch with LTE, you’ll need to choose whether or not to keep or remove your cellular plan. You’ll want to keep it if you’re simply upgrading your iPhone, and remove it if you’re getting rid of your Apple Watch, for example.
  3. From there, you’ll have to wait for your Watch to completely un-pair from your iPhone and wait for it to show the welcome screen on your Apple Watch.
  4. Once that’s done, your Apple Watch is completely backed up to your iPhone. You can verify that it indeed backed up by going to Settings > General > iPhone Storage > Watch. Under Documents & Data, you should see the name of your Apple Watch, along with the date of your latest back up.
  5. You’ll need to back up your iPhone to iCloud in order to keep the Apple Watch back up, this is especially important when you’re looking to upgrade or wipe your iPhone. To back up your iPhone over iCloud, head to Settings > tap the Apple ID card at the top > iCloud > iCloud Back up > Back Up Now. If you erase your iPhone without backing it up, you’ll lose your Apple Watch back up as the back up is stored on the iPhone and is only synced to iCloud when your iPhone backs up.

While the process can be cumbersome and annoying, it’s the only way you can back up your Apple Watch at the moment. In the future, we’d like to see some sort of nightly back ups (possibly backing up while it’s on the charger), or a way to manually back up the Watch through software. While most users won’t need to do this often, it is necessary if you’re looking to upgrade or switch iPhones for any reason such as receiving a refurbished iPhone when you send your device in for repair. Or worst case scenario, you lose your iPhone or your Apple Watch.

Nonetheless, this is the way to do it. Just make sure you have an hour or so of your time as un-pairing and re-pairing your Apple Watch is a tedious process and can take quite a while depending on which Apple Watch model you have, especially if you have the first-generation Series 0 Apple Watch.

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