How to sync multiple Apple Watches to one iPhone

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If you just bought a new Apple Watch, there’s no need to throw away your old one because Apple makes it easy to use two or more with your iPhone. Here’s how.

In the beginning, you could only sync an Apple Watch to an iPhone. Along the way, Apple added the ability to sync more than one, but it wasn’t intuitive.

And now, once you’ve got everything set up, it couldn’t be easier than Apple made it. From now on, switching between two or more Apple Watches is just a matter of taking one off and putting it on.

The watch recognizes which of your watches you are currently wearing and your iPhone works with this watch. Put the watch on your wrist, type in your passcode, and even your exercise rings keep ticking as if you only had a watch.

Note that it may take a few minutes for the second watch to catch up with the latest data from your first. But it will balance the two so that every exercise you do adds to your daily total.

Cellular plans for the Apple Watch

However, what is not easily switched is any cell contract. Each device – the Watches and your iPhone – has its own International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI), and your Watch cell contract is tied to a specific IMEI.

You can change which watch is registered to your cell service plan, but this is a time-consuming process and you’ll likely need to contact your cell service provider at some point.

So you can transfer an existing cellular plan to another Apple Watch, and Apple has a support page about that, but you won’t. It takes too long, even if you don’t have to call your carrier every time you want to do this.

For everything else, however, any number of Apple Watches will pair all data with your iPhone and do it easily and automatically.

Setting up takes a little longer.

Tap All clocks in the top left to view your multiple clocks or add another one

Initial setup of your Apple Watches

Each watch needs to be set up and paired with your iPhone, and depending on the model of your Apple Watch, this can take anywhere from a few moments to many minutes. One thing we don’t typically appreciate is how dramatically Apple has sped up the process of setting up Apple Watches over the years.

However, it’s not like you have to do much. You go through a few steps and make a few decisions, then the watch does whatever it does to pair with your iPhone.

You must pair them separately. You’re unlikely to attempt the entire process with two or more watches at the same time, but not even wear a second until the first is fully complete.

Pair the first watch, take it off and put the next one on, then pair that with your iPhone too.

It should work the same as the first, with the watch and iPhone recognizing that they need to be paired. However, Apple says in a support document that you can pair them manually.

Apple doesn’t say you might need to manually pair a watch, but if you do, here’s how:

  1. open that watch App on your iPhone
  2. Tap the My clock Bottom left icon (may already be tapped)
  3. Tap on All clocks top left
  4. Choose add clock

You will now be taken through all the steps to pair this second or subsequent Apple Watch with your iPhone.

How to switch between Apple Watches paired to the same phone

  1. Put down the first Apple Watch
  2. Put on the other watch
Your iPhone will automatically switch to the Apple Watch you put on

Your iPhone will automatically switch to the Apple Watch you put on

That’s all. You do it without thinking – and you have no reason to think about it, because the whole switching process is so easy and so quick.

When you open the All clocks section in your iPhone’s Apple Watch app, you can even see the change taking place. A tick will appear next to the first watch until you take it off.

Then there will be a few moments when you can see a spinning wheel icon next to the odd clock. But as soon as you put on the other watch, the iPhone app puts a tick next to it in its list.

It all happens so quickly and automatically, whether you have two Apple Watches or a dozen. So it’s hard to imagine your iPhone automatically detecting that you’re wearing a different watch.

However, if you have a reason, you can disable this automatic switching and always manually select the correct watch instead.

  1. open that watch App on your iPhone
  2. Tap the My clock Bottom left icon (may already be tapped)
  3. Tap on All clocks top left
  4. Turn off Automatic change

Note that this is all specific to you and your Apple Watch collection. If you want friends or a partner to use one of your watches, none of this will work.

Instead, you need to unpair the watch you want from your iPhone. And then they need to pair it with their iPhone.

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