How to Hard and Factory Reset Apple Watch (For All watchOS Versions)

Hard resetting an Apple Watch isn’t as scary as it sounds because you get to resolve multiple bugs at the same time. When something is not working on your Apple Watch, you tend to just restart it, right? That works, but sometimes you may see the problem again. To fix an issue for good on your Apple Watch, hard resetting may be required.

If a hard reset still doesn’t work, you should think about restoring your Apple Watch to its factory settings. In this post, I’ll walk you through all three complete stages of resetting an Apple Watch.

Soft Reset

Let’s first start with a soft reset. Like I mentioned earlier, most people usually perform this step because it’s the easiest.

To soft reset your Apple Watch:

  1. Press and hold the side button
  2. Once you see the “Power off” slider, drag it to the right
  3. Your Apple Watch will turn off. Press and hold the side button again until you see an Apple logo

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Your Apple Watch will turn back on. A quick restart usually combats minor problems on your device. Check to see if the issues you experienced earlier still there. If it is, moves on the steps below.

Hard Reset

In case your Apple Watch is unresponsive, you will not be able to use the “Power off” slider. This is when the hard reset function comes in.

To hard reset an Apple Watch:

  1. Remove the Apple Watch from your wrist. (This is optional, but I recommend it.)
  2. Press and hold the Digital Crown and side button simultaneously
  3. Hold until your screen is off and let go when you see an Apple logo

Sometimes, a soft or hard reset is all you need to troubleshoot any problems on your Apple Watch. However, that’s not necessarily true for everyone and in every case. I usually hard reset my Apple Watch when it’s stuck in a boot loop or the screen is frozen.

If an Apple Watch is still not working properly, users can perform a factory reset to put everything back to their original settings.

Factory Reset

Before we begin, it’s important for you to understand that factory resetting your Apple Watch will delete all your data including applications, settings, and other documents. If you have anything important you want to keep, please make a backup beforehand.

To Restore an Apple Watch to Factory Settings:

  1. On your watch, go to Settings > General > Reset
  2. Tap on ‘Erase All Content and Settings’
  3. Enter your passcode to proceed

Scroll down and confirm that you want to erase all data from the device.

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After awhile, your Apple Watch will turn back on. The device should now appear as brand new. This state is similar to when you turn on your Apple Watch for the first time. You will need to pair it with an iPhone and set everything up from the beginning.

What About Downgrading My watchOS?

Maybe you updated to the latest version of watchOS, and that causes everything to go wrong on your Apple Watch? Even so, you can’t downgrade it on your own.

To downgrade from watchOS 3 to 2, for example, you will need to send your watch to Apple and have them restore it for you. As of writing this, there is no way to do it manually through iTunes.

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