How to upgrade to Apple Watch Series 6 without losing data


Ready to switch from your Series 6 or earlier Apple Watch to the new Series 7? Or maybe you’re upgrading to the SE from an older model? Follow along for how to upgrade to your new Apple Watch Series 7 without losing data, including how to force Apple Watch backups.

Apple Watch backups are a bit trickier than iPhone backups. That’s because they happen automatically and are saved on the iPhone your Apple Watch is paired with but there’s no place in Settings to manually back up your Apple Watch or see when the last automatic backup was.

Read on for how to make sure your Apple Watch is backed up and you’re all set to upgrade to your new one.

Keep in mind if you’re upgrading to a new iPhone 13 as well, you’ll want to take care of that first.

Apple notes that these items are not included with Apple Watch backups: Bluetooth pairings, credit or debit cards used for Apple Pay, Apple Watch passcode, and Messages.

How to upgrade to Apple Watch Series 7 without losing data

Option 1 – Use an existing Apple Watch backup

  1. If you’re also upgrading to a new iPhone, make sure to set that up first (restore from fresh backup)
  2. Open the Watch app on iPhone to start the pairing process (you can choose to add your new Apple Watch before removing your existing one too: All Watches > Add Watch if the auto pair screen doesn’t pop up)
  3. Power on your new Apple Watch and look for the pairing sphere code, follow the prompts
  4. When asked, choose to restore your new Apple Watch from a backup and choose the most recent one
  5. If you’re not seeing a backup available from your most recent iPhone backup, follow along with option 2 below

If you’re upgrading your Apple Watch but not your iPhone, you can choose to unpair your current watch from your iPhone and pair the new one or pair your new watch as a second Apple Watch with your iPhone (read more below on how to unpair / pair a second Apple Watch).

Option 2 – Force an Apple Watch backup

Because an Apple Watch backup doesn’t happen with every iCloud or Mac/PC backup with your iPhone, you may want to force an Apple Watch backup (per Apple):

  1. Keep your paired Apple Watch and current iPhone close together
  2. Open the Watch app on your iPhone
  3. Tap your watch at the top, then tap the “i” on the right side
  4. Tap Unpair Apple Watch (during the unpairing process your Apple Watch will do a fresh backup to your iPhone)
  5. Follow the prompts to unpair your current Watch
  6. Open the Watch app on iPhone to start the pairing process of your new Watch
  7. Power on your new Apple Watch and look for the pairing sphere code, follow the prompts
  8. When asked, choose to restore your new Apple Watch from a backup and choose the most recent one

Here’s how the unpairing process looks to force an Apple Watch backup:

Upgrade to Apple Watch Series 7 without losing data walkthrough

As shown above, you can also hit the “Pair New Watch” button if you want to add your new Apple Watch as a second one as opposed to only having one paired watch.

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