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How to erase and prepare an Apple Watch for gifting, recycling, or selling

Regardless of whether you're planning on selling, trading, recycling, or giving your old Apple Watch to someone else, there's a bit of work you'll have to do before you get rid of it, but don't worry — our helpful guide makes the process easy.

If you're planning on getting rid of your Apple Watch, particularly if you're selling or giving it away, you must unpair it first. Unpairing it disables Activation Lock, allowing others to pair it to their phones. It's also a smart idea to unpair and wipe your Apple Watch clean if you're planning on recycling it, especially a particularly old model like the original Apple Watch or the Apple Watch Series 1.

Please note that you will need to keep both your Apple Watch and iPhone charged and close together while they unpair. The process can take quite a long while, so have both devices on their chargers while this happens.

Apple Watch on iPhone

How to unpair your Apple Watch from your iPhone

  1. Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone
  2. Navigate to the My Watch tab and tap your watch at the top of the screen
  3. Tap the Info Icon next to the watch that you want to unpair
  4. Tap Unpair Apple Watch
  5. Tap to confirm unpairing. You may need to enter your Apple ID password to disable the Activation Lock.

If you have a GPS + Cellular model, you'll need to remove your cellular plan if you're not planning on keeping it for yourself. You may need to contact your carrier to cancel your subscription.

Now that Activation Lock has been disabled, you can erase all your content and settings from your Apple Watch.

Apple Watch

Important: You will need to keep your Apple Watch battery above 50%, and it will need to be sitting on its charger to factory reset it.

How to factory reset your Apple Watch

  1. On your Apple Watch, Tap Settings
  2. Tap General
  3. Tap Reset
  4. Tap Erase All Content and Settings
  5. Tap Erase All

Now that your smartwatch has been reset to its factory settings, you can trade it in, sell it, or give it as a great hand-me-down, perhaps to one of the kids in your life.