How to reset your Apple Watch passcode

When you set up a passcode on your Apple Watch, ideally choose one that’s easy for you to remember. However, accidents happen to the best of us. Maybe you had to change your usual passcode for security reasons and forgot the new one. Maybe you start it up for the first time in a while and don’t remember ever setting one up. In my case, I wore my Apple Watch to bed and vaguely remember taking it off in the middle of the night. When I tried to unlock it this morning I was instead greeted by a message that I had entered too many wrong passcodes.

Regardless of the reason, being locked out of your Apple Watch is no fun. Fortunately, this is an easy problem to solve.

You may see this screen if you enter too many wrong passcodes.
Photo by Victoria Song / MovieUpdates

Reset the Apple Watch

Unfortunately, if you are in this situation, you will need to reset your Apple Watch. That does mean that you will lose all data on your smartwatch. The good news is that Apple automatically backs up as you go through this process, so you don’t real going to lose something.

To reset your Apple Watch from the watch itself:

  • Place your Apple Watch on the charger
  • Keep the side button until you see the Switch off
  • Hold the digital crown until you see Clear all content and settings
  • Tap Reset and confirm
  • Once the process is complete, pair your Apple Watch again
  • During setup, select Restore from backup

If you prefer to do this from your iPhone, you can do that too. To reset your Apple Watch from your iPhone:

  • Open the Watch app on your iPhone
  • Navigate to the My watch tab and select General
  • Tap Reset
  • Select Clear Apple Watch Content and Settings
  • To confirm
  • Enter your Apple ID password
  • For mobile users, decide whether to keep or remove your subscription
  • Once the process is complete, pair your Apple Watch again
  • During setup, select Restore from backup

Edit password settings

What the Change Password screen looks like
Image: Apple

You don’t have to wait for an emergency to re-evaluate your passcode settings. You may want to disable your passcode. (As a reminder, this will disable certain features, such as using Apple Pay.) You may want to preemptively change your passcode. Or, after you’ve had to reset your Apple Watch once, you may want to avoid having to reset it again. Whatever the reason, here’s how to adjust your passcode settings.

Change your access code

On your wrist:

  • Navigate to the Settings app
  • Scroll down to Access code
  • Select Change access code
  • Enter your current access code
  • Enter your new access code
  • Re-enter the new passcode to confirm

On the iPhone:

  • Open the Watch app
  • Go to My Watch tab
  • Scroll down to Access code
  • Select Change access code
  • Enter your new current passcode on your Apple Watch
  • Re-enter your new passcode to confirm

Disable your passcode

On your wrist:

  • Follow the first two steps from above
  • Tap Disable Passcode
  • A message will appear informing you that your Apple Pay cards will be removed from the watch
  • Tap Switch off

On the iPhone:

  • Open the Watch app
  • Go to My Watch tab
  • Scroll down to Access code
  • The rest of the steps are the same as above

Other settings

The passcode menu in your iPhone’s Watch app
Screenshot: Victoria Song / MovieUpdates

While these are the basic passcode settings, there are a few others that you can enable or disable. They can all be accessed from the same passcode menu on your wrist or the iPhone’s Watch app using the steps outlined above. Mixing and matching these settings is a good way to customize your experience, especially if you’re the forgetful type or worried that someone might access your data if you lose your Apple Watch.

For example the Unlock with iPhone setting is excellent if you find it difficult to enter numbers on a small screen. When turned on and wearing the Apple Watch, your watch will unlock automatically when you unlock your iPhone.

You may prefer not to enter seven digits to use your Apple Watch. Switch Simple Access Code lets you use a four-digit passcode instead. Keep in mind that the longer the code, the more secure it is. However, this is a useful option to simplify the process, especially when used with the following settings to strengthen security.

If you are using an access code, consider using the Wrist Detection institution. This will detect when you have not strapped the watch to your wrist and therefore require a passcode to unlock. This is a good option to keep your data safe in case you lose your device. Likewise, you can choose to use the Delete data institution. This will erase all data after 10 failed passcode attempts.

Show Love ❤️