December 12, 2023

Novoda Software

Software Guides and Reviews

How to Pair Apple Watch to iPhone XR

Pairing a new iPhone with your Apple Watch should be an effortless task. You just need an Apple Watch app on your iOS device, and you can automatically pair the two devices.

However, since the XR is the most recent iPhone version, there are still some issues when pairing it with other devices, the Apple Watch included.

There are two methods to pair the iPhone XR and Apple Watch – manually and automatically. This article will guide you through both and offer solutions for some potential pairing issues you may encounter.

Step 1: Prepare Your Watch and Your iPhone

Before you pair the two devices, make sure that they’re well-prepared to avoid any inconvenience. These are the things that you need to check:

  1. Check if your iOS device is working on the latest system version. If it isn’t, there’s a chance that the system won’t recognize the Apple Watch. To prevent this, update your iPhone before you proceed.
  2. Go to the Settings app on your iPhone.
  3. Tap ‘Bluetooth.’
  4. Toggle Bluetooth on.
  5. Connect to a Wi-Fi or a cellular network.
  6. Hold the power button on the Apple Watch to turn it on.
  7. Make sure that both devices have enough battery.
  8. Move the devices closer to one another to ensure pairing.

Step 2: Pair Your Apple Watch and iPhone

The pairing process should be straightforward. Follow these instructions:

  1. Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone XR.
  2. Press the ‘Start Pairing’ option. A pairing window should appear on the screen.
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions closely to pair the devices. You’ll need to move the iPhone’s camera to the Apple Watch display.
  4. Once the devices pair, you’ll get a notification.

Pairing Manually

If you fail to pair the devices automatically, you can always use the manual method. It involves a few more steps, but it will ensure that the devices are successfully paired.

  1. Select the &ls;i’ icon on your Apple Watch screen.
  2. Check or set a new device name for your watch.
  3. Select a wrist.
  4. Hit ‘Set Up as New’ (or ‘Restore from Backup’ if you’ve done this already) on your iPhone.
  5. Select right or left wrist on your iPhone.
  6. When prompted, agree to the terms and conditions.
  7. Enter your Apple ID.
  8. Allow access to all mandatory apps (Siri, diagnostics, iCloud).
  9. Set a password for your watch via your iPhone. You can pick between a regular password, long password, or no password at all. If you choose to set a password, you’ll need to do it via the Apple Watch.


Once you set everything up, a pop-up window will appear to confirm the setup. After you’ve done this, your Apple Watch will remain unlocked as long as it’s on your wrist. If it’s not, you’ll have to unlock it again when you put it back on. Also, when you unlock your phone, you’ll also unlock the watch.

Step 3: Sync your Apps

When you pair your devices, you may choose to sync all the apps. This way, your watch will download and update all the apps that you already have on your iPhone, albeit in their watch version. If you refuse, you’ll be able to install them manually whenever you like.

If you confirm, wait for the devices to sync. It can be a long process, especially if you have plenty of apps on your iPhone. Keep your devices close to each other until the syncing is done.

What If the Devices Won’t Connect?

In some instances, the devices may not recognize each other. Usually, a simple restart should help, but there are other solutions you may find useful.

Forget the Apple Watch

If your devices could pair before but suddenly not anymore, you may unpair them and then try again.

  1. Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone XR.
  2. Select the ‘My Watch’ tab.
  3. Choose your watch.
  4. Tap the information (‘i’ icon) next to that watch.
  5. Select ‘Unpair Apple Watch.’
  6. Press ‘Unpair’ again to confirm.
  7. Restart the iPhone and the pairing should start automatically. Keep both devices close and a notification to set up an Apple Watch should appear.
  8. Select ‘Continue.’

If the message doesn’t appear, you can open the Apple Watch app and manually select the ‘Start Pairing’ option.

Reset Connection Settings

Tweaked network settings can interfere with device pairing, especially automatic software updates which usually override the initial settings. You may try to reset these to default and try to pair the devices again.

  1. Tap on Settings on your iPhone XR.
  2. Choose ‘General.’
  3. Tap ‘Reset.’
  4. Find ‘Reset Network Settings.’
  5. Enter your ID and password.
  6. Confirm the network reset.

Back-Up and Restore

Once you unpair the Apple Watch from your iPhone XR, all the apps and data will be erased. You’ll have to start everything from scratch and pair the devices again following the instructions from this article.

However, your iPhone XR will keep a backup of all the Apple Watch data, so if you want to restore it after pairing, you may choose this option too. This way, you’ll remain secure if you accidentally unpair your devices.

Did you encounter any problems while pairing these two devices? How did you solve them? Share your experiences in the comments below.