How to Reset & Erase Apple Watch to Factory Default Settings
If you find yourself needing to reset an Apple Watch to factory default settings, perhaps to erase personal data from it, to start fresh, for troubleshooting purposes, lending to someone else, for resale, or whatever else, you’ll discover the entire procedure is performed on the Apple Watch itself. That makes it a bit different from some of the other settings on the device which requires setup from an accompanying paired iPhone, but don’t worry, this is not difficult.
Perhaps this should be obvious, but do be aware that by resetting an Apple Watch, you are completely erases everything off Apple Watch, including any media, data, settings, messages, pairing to iPhones, and anything else.
When you’re ready to begin the reset, get the Apple Watch you wish to erase, then do the following:
- Open the “Settings” app on the Apple Watch and go to “General”
- Scroll down and choose “Reset”
- Tap on “Erase All Content and Settings”
- Enter the passcode for the Apple Watch
- Scroll down and confirm you wish to reset the Apple Watch and erase all data from the device
Once you confirm the reset, a spinning wait indicator will appear on the screen for quite some time, eventually followed by an Apple logo with an indicator around that.
The video below demonstrates the reset process on an Apple Watch:
When the Apple Watch has finished erasing all data on the device, the reset Watch will appear as if it was brand new, booting up and asking to be paired with an Apple Watch to complete the initial setup again. The Watch will reset to whatever the version of WatchOS is that it’s installed, it does not downgrade WatchOS or do anything else with the operating system itself.
Remember, this also removes any existing pairing between an Apple Watch and an iPhone, so that setup process has to start over again, even for a set of devices that were already synced to one another.
This process is pretty similar to performing a factory reset in iOS, and it basically restores the device back to its factory default settings as if it were brand new.