How to Back Up an Apple Watch and Restore It

The best way to think about your Apple Watch is as an extension of your iPhone, rather than a completely separate device. That means that pairing your Apple Watch to your iPhone automatically sends the content from your watch to your iPhone. Therefore, when you back up your iPhone, all your Apple Watch data is backed up as well. In this guide, we show you how to back up your Apple Watch, whether it be an Apple Watch Series 6, Series 5, Series 4, or an older model in iOS 14.8.

If you perform regular backups of your iPhone, then your Apple Watch data should already be backed up. We show you how to check that it is, just in case. We also explain how to restore it and review what the backup does and doesn’t include.

How to back up the Apple Watch

Your Apple Watch data will back up to your iPhone regularly, as long as it’s in range. The process of unpairing an Apple Watch will also automatically create a backup. When you pair that watch again, or a new watch, you’ll be able to restore the latest backup if you want.

  1. First, be sure to have your device connected to a Wi-Fi network.
  2. On your iPhone, go to Settings > [Your Name] > iCloud. Toggle the control on, if it’s off.
  3. Tap iCloud > iCloud Backup. Toggle the control on if it’s off.
  4. Make sure Watch is toggled on.
  5. Tap Back Up Now, if it has not been backed up recently, or just do it anyway for the most recent data record.

What if I get a new Apple Watch?

The moment you unpair your Apple Watch, the device will immediately back up to your iPhone. That way, if you get a brand new Apple Watch, you can follow just a few simple steps to restore your device from a previous backup:

  1. Open the Watch app.
  2. Choose Start Pairing.
  3. Choose Restore From Backup.

From there, you can follow any of the instructions that appear on your screen to complete the process. Be sure to agree to the terms and sign in with your Apple ID.

What if I get a new iPhone?

Your Apple Watch is an accessory for your iPhone. As long as your iPhone has been backed up properly and is up-to-date, then you shouldn’t have any problems restoring your data to your Apple Watch. Once you’ve restored your iPhone through a previous backup, you can follow the steps above to connect your Apple Watch to the new device.

Will the backup include everything?

The backup does not include absolutely everything. It doesn’t include:

  • Bluetooth pairings
  • Credit or debit cards used for Apple Pay on the watch
  • The watch passcode
  • Messages (if you use iCloud and Messages in iCloud, your iMessages, text, and multimedia messages are stored in iCloud.)

The backup does include:

  • App data for built-in apps like Mail, Calendar, Stocks, and Weather
  • Settings for built-in and third-party apps
  • Your home screen app layout
  • Clock face settings and customizations
  • Dock settings
  • General system settings
  • Health and fitness data history
  • Notification settings
  • Playlists, albums, and mixes that are synced
  • Siri voice feedback settings
  • Any synced photos under the My Watch > Photos > Synced Albums in your Apple Watch app
  • Time zone information

Now that you’ve ensured your information is up to date and backed up safely, have some fun with your device. Explore some of our favorites from the best Apple Watch apps and watch face guides.

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