Following the release of watchOS 8.5 for Apple Watch and iOS 15.4, you can now restore an Apple Watch that has a problem using a nearby iPhone.

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Before the updates were released, some Apple Watch models needing to be restored had to be mailed to an Apple Repair Center. In many cases, however, this is no longer a requirement thanks to the latest software updates, and you can restore a problematic Apple Watch at home using your ‌iPhone‌. Here's how it works.

The following steps assume that your ‌iPhone‌ is unlocked, updated to iOS 15.4 (Settings -> General -> Software Update), connected to Wi-Fi, and has Bluetooth turned on.

  1. Make sure you ‌iPhone‌ is near to the Apple Watch you want to restore.
  2. Put the Apple Watch on its charger.
  3. Double-click the Side button below the Digital Crown on your Apple Watch.
  4. Follow the steps that appear on your ‌iPhone‌.

If the steps don't work, check your Wi-Fi connection – Apple recommends trying a 2.4GHz network instead of 5GHz. Also recommended is to avoid 802.1X or captive Wi-Fi networks, such as those in hotel rooms, if possible.

If you see a red exclamation mark on the Apple Watch, double-press the Side button and then follow the above steps. If that doesn't work and the exclamation mark remains, Apple advises to contact Apple Support and arrange an mail-in repair.

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