Like an iPhone, an Apple Watch requires a passcode in order to gain access. This is an important feature that not only enables the owner to use Apple Pay but also keeps data stored in the device as secure as possible.

The Apple Watch can get locked from time to time and for various reasons, such as becoming automatically locked when removed from the wrist. If you forget your passcode or inherit an Apple Watch whose passcode you don't know, it means you will be unable to use it. This article explains the various methods used to unlock an Apple Watch.

unlock apple watch

Part 1. How to Unlock Apple Watch with Passcode

Unlike most iPhones, which get locked after five to six unsuccessful attempts at the passcode, an Apple Watch locks after 10 unsuccessful attempts. For many people, this often happens as a result of a child or unauthorized person trying to gain access into the device. The easiest and perhaps the most straightforward method of unlocking your Apple Watch is by manually entering the correct passcode. Alternatively, you can do it from your iPhone by following the steps below:

Step 1. On your Apple Watch, navigate to the "Settings" app.

Step 2. Select "Passcode" and then tap on "Unlock with iPhone".

You can also do this on your iPhone. Follow these steps:

Step 1. Find the Apple Watch app on your iPhone and launch it.

Step 2. Select "Passcode" and then tap on "Unlock with iPhone".

unlock apple watch with passcode

Step 3. On the Apple Watch, tap the "Digital Crown".

Step 4. Now you can use either Touch ID or passcode on your iPhone to unlock your Apple Watch.

Part 2. How to Unlock Apple Watch without Password

In this section, we will describe the two ways you can unlock Apple Watch if you do not have the passcode. The first scenario is through a paired iPhone and the second one is without a paired iPhone.

1 Unlock Apple Watch with A Paired iPhone

You may also unlock the Apple Watch through a paired iPhone; however, there are a couple of things you should first be aware of. After 10 unsuccessful attempts at the passcode for Apple Watch, the data stored within the device will be completely erased if the Data Erase feature was enabled. The good news is that the data can be backed up to your iPhone as well as to iCloud and iTunes – which will then be restored once the device is reset. To unlock your Apple Watch with a paired iPhone, you can use the following steps.

Step 1. On the paired iPhone, launch the Apple Watch app.

Step 2. Navigate the following path: My Watch > General > Reset.

Step 3. Tap on the option that prompts you to erase all data on the Apple Watch. When asked for confirmation in form of Apple ID password, provide the details.

Step 4. You may also be prompted with a choice to maintain your cellular plan. Keep it.

Step 5. The device (Apple Watch) will get reset to factory settings. Wait for the process to complete.

Step 6. You will once again be prompted to restore from backup. Do it, and then set your desired passcode. That's it.

unlock apple watch with a paired iPhone


2 Unlock Apple Watch without A Paired iPhone

In the event your Apple Watch is locked and unpaired to your iPhone, unlocking it will require performing a hard reset. If you backed up your data beforehand, this should not be a cause for concern because you’ll just restore all data once the device is reset and set up. Here’s what you can do to unlock an Apple Watch without a paired iPhone.

Step 1. Connect the Apple Watch to its charger.

Step 2. Press and hold down the Side button until the power down process initiates.

Step 3. When the "Power Off" slider comes up on the screen, hold it down. Do not slide it.

Step 4. You will be prompted with an option to erase content and settings. Select it.

erase all content and settings

Step 5. The process to reset to factory settings will begin.

Step 6. Once it’s over, pair your Apple Watch to your iPhone to restore data. Remember to set a desirable passcode that you won’t easily forget.

Part 3. FAQs About Unlocking Apple Watch

1. Why Is My Apple Watch Locked?

The Apple Watch is designed to lock when it’s not on your wrist. This helps minimize the chances of fraudulent activity or unauthorized access into the device. If the device is worn too loosely on the wrist, it may become locked because it registers as if it has been removed. Another reason an Apple Watch can become locked is if the back of the watch is dirty and preventing the sensors from working properly.

2. What Do I Do If My Apple Watch Is Locked?

If your Apple Watch is locked, it can be unlocked by using the correct passcode. If, for one reason or another, that is not possible, no need to be frustrated. Unlocking may involve performing a hard reset on the device. Revisit the methods we have covered in the previous section to understand how to reset your Apple Watch and restore all your data.

Learn more about how to unlock Apple Watch if your Apple watch is activation locked.

3. How Do I Unlock My Apple Watch After Too Many Passcode Attempts?

The only way to unlock your Apple Watch alter too many attempts is by performing a hard reset on the device. As discussed in the previous section, restoring to factory settings can be done either through a paired iPhone or manually on the device itself. If you backed up data to iCloud and iTunes, you can restore all of it during the fresh set up of the Apple Watch.

4. How Do I Unlock the Water Lock On My Apple Watch?

To turn off the water lock on your Apple Watch, simply use the Digital Crown. Turn the Digital Crown in either direction until the screen display says that it is unlocked. Pay attention to the “water-like” tones that play as you turn the Digital Crown. Once done, you can use the device normally.

5. How Can I Lock and Unlock Apple Watch?

The Apple Watch locks automatically, by default, when it is not on your wrist. The wrist detection settings can be adjusted in the settings. Navigate the following path to do this: Settings > Passcode > Wrist Detection.

To manually lock the device, tap and hold the bottom of the display. Swipe to go to the Control Center and then select the lock icon.

Unlocking is done by inputting the correct passcode or using any of the methods covered earlier.

Part 4. How to Change and Turn Off Apple Watch Password

1. Changing Apple Watch Passcode

The Apple Watch passcode can be changed to something you can remember much faster in order to avoid getting locked out. You can use these steps to do this:

Step 1. On the Apple Watch, launch the Settings app.

Step 2. Navigate the following path: Passcode > Change Passcode and then carefully follow the on-screen instructions.

Alternatively,

Step 1. On your iPhone (paired), launch the Apple Watch app.

Step 2. Navigate the following path: My Watch > Passcode > Change Passcode and then carefully follow the on-screen instructions.

how to change passcode on apple watch

2. Turning Off Apple Watch Passcode

If you wish to turn off the passcode on the Apple Watch altogether, the following procedure will help.

Step 1. On the Apple Watch, launch the settings app.

Step 2. Navigate the following path: Passcode > Turn Passcode Off and then carefully follow the on-screen instructions.

You should know that once the passcode on your Apple Watch has been disabled, you will be unable to use the Apple Pay feature on the device.

Conclusion

The methods described here to unlock an Apple Watch are completely safe and are supported by Apple Inc. It is good practice to always remember to back up your data in case unlocking the device requires a hard reset to factory settings. It helps you keep track of important information such as fitness progress, sleep data, and your playlists, among others.