Finally it happened. On a sunny weekend, I sent my 7-year-old to the playground a block ahead while I helped her little brother sort out his new pedal bike. It must have taken us a long time because I received a series of calls from an unknown number. When we finally caught up, my daughter was standing next to a stranger and crying. He was holding his phone. “You weren’t here,” he said reproachfully.
“I was 500 feet away!” I protested. It was no use. It was time for an Apple Watch.
The Apple Watch is one of the company’s most versatile (and popular) products. Some people use it for texting or as a style accessory. I mainly use mine as a fitness tracker. In 2020, Apple released Family Setup with WatchOS 7, which specifically marketed the cheaper and older versions of the Apple Watch to children and older relatives. I don’t want to give my kid an expensive phone to watch YouTube Kids and then immediately lose or break. I do wants her to find me and vice versa while exercising her growing independence.
If you have an iPhone, chances are you have an old Apple Watch that you can reuse for your older or younger family members. The Series 7 was a game changer for my kid. Did you want to buy a watch? Check out our guides to the best Apple Watch or top features in WatchOS 9 for more information.
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What do you need?
Apple introduced Family Setup in 2020 with WatchOS 7. To use Family Setup, you need one Apple Watch Series 4 or newer with cellular capabilities that you add to your cellular plan. you need one too iPhone with iOS 14 or later.
Both you and your child will also need one AppleID. If you both already have one, you can go too settings on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac and click family. Then click Add member. If your child doesn’t have an Apple ID, you can do so Create child account. From there, follow the prompts to add the child’s name, date of birth, and email address. If they don’t have an email address yet, you can use the suggested iCloud option.
A blank slate
First, unpair and erase your old Apple Watch. open that Apple watch app on your phone and click All clocks. Tap and click the info button next to your old watch Unpair the Apple Watch. You can choose to keep your cellular plan (you need it for your child).
Unpairing is supposed to erase all content and settings on your watch, but in my case it didn’t. If it doesn’t work for you either, tap settings then on the clock General > Reset to default > Erase all content and settings.
Since my child is 7 years old, I found it easier to set up the clock myself. But at this point you can let your child put it on (if it’s charged). The clock will tell Bring the iPhone close to the Apple Watch. When you open the Watch app, you can select this facility for a family member. Point the phone’s viewfinder at the slow-moving animation to pair or select Pair manually.