How to upgrade to your new Apple Watch without losing data

Ready to switch from your Series 4 or earlier Apple Watch to your new Series 5? Or maybe you’re upgrading to the Series 3 or 4? Follow along for how to upgrade to your new Apple Watch without losing data.

Apple Watch backups are a bit trickier than iPhone backups. That’s because they happen automatically and are saved on the iPhone your Apple Watch is paired with but there’s no place in Settings to manually back up your Apple Watch or see when the last automatic backup was.

Read on for how to make sure your Apple Watch is backed up and you’re all set to upgrade to your new one.

Note: If you’re already running watchOS 6 on your current Apple Watch, we’ll have a dedicated guide for how to upgrade to a new watch without losing data shortly.

How to upgrade to your new Apple Watch without losing data

Option 1

  1. If you’re also upgrading to a new iPhone, make sure to set that up first
  2. Do a fresh backup of your iPhone with iCloud or iTunes (tutorial)
  3. Open the Watch app on iPhone to start pairing process
  4. Power on your new Apple Watch and look for the pairing sphere code, follow the prompts
  5. When asked, choose to restore your new Apple Watch from a backup and choose the most recent one
  6. If you’re not seeing a backup available from your most recent iPhone backup, follow along with option 2 below

If you’re upgrading your Apple Watch but not your iPhone, you can choose to unpair your current watch from your iPhone and pair the new one or pair your new watch as a second Apple Watch with your iPhone (read more below on how to unpair / pair a second Apple Watch).

Option 2

Because an Apple Watch backup doesn’t happen with every iCloud or iTunes backup with your iPhone, you may want to force an Apple Watch backup

  1. Keep your paired Apple Watch and iPhone close together
  2. Open the Watch app on your iPhone
  3. Tap your watch at the top, then tap the “i” on the right side
  4. Tap Unpair Apple Watch (during the unpairing process your Apple Watch will do a fresh backup to your iPhone)
  5. Follow the prompts to unpair your current Watch
  6. Open the Watch app on iPhone to start the pairing process
  7. Power on your new Apple Watch and look for the pairing sphere code, follow the prompts
  8. When asked, choose to restore your new Apple Watch from a backup and choose the most recent one

Here’s how the unpairing process looks to force an Apple Watch backup:

How to upgrade to new Apple Watch without losing data

As shown above, you can also hit the “Pair New Watch” button if you want to add your new Apple Watch as a second one as opposed to only having one paired watch.

For more help with getting the most out of your Apple devices, check out our how-to guide as well as the following articles:

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