Apple Watch

Learn how to set up, use, and connect your Apple Watch to the T-Mobile network.

Looking to purchase a new Apple Watch?

To get started:

  • To set up a new Apple Watch, you need an iPhone 8 or later with iOS 16 or later. Learn how to identify your iPhone model and update your iPhone to the latest version of iOS.
  • Turn on Bluetooth and check that it's connected to Wi-Fi or a cellular network.
  • Download apps you want to use on your Apple Watch. Apps must be downloaded on both the phone and the watch to sync data.
  • Download the Watch app on your phone.
Three Apple Watches

Set up your Apple Watch

1. Turn on and wear your Apple Watch.

To turn on your Apple Watch, press and hold the side button until the Apple logo appears.

An Apple Watch with a circle around the power button

2. Hold your Apple Watch next to your phone. 

Keep your watch close to your phone while completing setup. Wait for the "Use your iPhone to set up this Apple Watch" message to appear on your iPhone, then select Continue. If this message doesn't appear, open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, choose All Watches, then select Add Watch.

Select Set Up for Myself or Set Up for a Family Member.

  • When you Set Up for family member, you can turn on features like Ask to Buy, Schooltime, and shared contacts. 
  • When activating a new Apple Watch standalone plan on an existing T-Mobile account for a family member, you will be prompted to send a one-time PIN to the primary account holder when you set up your cellular network.


To learn more about setting up for a family member, visit our Tutorials, select your watch, and choose Watch Settings.

An Apple Watch with the screen displaying the message "Bring iPhone near Apple Watch" in front of an iPhone with the message "Apple Watch. Use your iPhone to set up this Apple Watch. Continue"

3. Hold your phone over the animation.

Center the watch face in the viewfinder on your iPhone. Wait for a message to say that your Apple Watch is paired.

If you can't use the camera or the pairing animation doesn't appear or your iPhone can't read it, select Pair Manually and follow the prompts.

An iPhone with the message "Position Apple Watch in the Frame". The iPhone is in front of an Apple Watch.

4. Set up as a new Apple Watch or restore from backup.

  1. If this is your first Apple Watch, select Set Up as New Apple Watch. If asked, update your Apple Watch to the latest version of watchOS.
  2. If you've set up another Apple Watch with your current iPhone, a "Make This Your New Apple Watch" screen appears. Select Apps & Data and Settings to see how Express Setup will configure your new watch, then select Continue.
  3. If you want to choose how your new watch is set up, select Customize Settings and choose a backup from a previous Apple Watch to restore. 
  4. If your iPhone requires a software update, select Update Now and wait for the update to finish.
  5. Choose which wrist you wear your Apple Watch on and select Continue.
  6. Read to the Terms and Conditions and select Agree.

5. Sign in with your Apple ID.

Certain features that require a cellular phone number won’t work on cellular models of Apple Watch unless you sign into iCloud (if you aren’t asked during setup, you can sign in later from the Apple Watch app by selecting General Apple ID). 

  • If Find My isn't set up on your iPhone, you'll be asked to turn on Activation Lock. Enter your Apple ID email address and password to continue set up. 
  • If an Activation Lock screen appears, your Apple Watch is already linked to an Apple ID. 
  • If your Apple Watch was previously owned, you may need to contact the previous owner to remove Activation Lock. 

6. Customize your settings.

Create a passcode

You'll be asked to create a passcode, which is required for features like Apple Pay. If you choose Don't Add Passcode, you can enable it later in the Settings app on your Apple Watch and selecting Passcode.

On your phone, select Create a passcode or Add a Long Passcode, then enter your new code on your Apple Watch.

Personalize your experience

Choose a text size and style and add/update personal details so your Fitness and Health data are accurate. You can also enable health notifications like noise levels, Emergency SOS and Fall Detection.

If you didn't use Express Setup, your Apple Watch shows you which settings it shares with your iPhone and automatically syncs those features on your watch (such as Find My, Wi-Fi Calling, and Diagnostics).

An iPhone displaying the message "Apple Watch Passcode - When you set up a passcode, Apple Watch locks when you take it off and requires the passcode to unlock. This helps protect your data". At the bottom of the screen are the options for "Create a Passcode", "Add a Long Passcode", and "Don't Add Passcode"

7. Select your plan and activate cellular service.

Connect to your T-Mobile network to make calls, reply to messages, and more - even while you're away from your iPhone!

  1. Select Set Up Cellular (if you choose Not Now, you can set up cellular later in the Apple Watch app by selecting Cellular > Set up Cellular).
  2. Verify your T-Mobile account.
    • If you're setting up for yourself, you'll be asked to verify the last 4 digits of the primary account holder's SSN. 
    • If you are activating for a family member on a new Apple watch standalone plan on an existing T-Mobile account, you will be prompted to send a one-time verification code to the primary account holder. Select Send code, enter the code provided by the primary account holder, then select Verify.     
  3. Choose your plan and select Continue
  4. If you're activating on a standalone plan, enter your zip code, choose your Apple Watch number, and provide an E911 address.
  5. Choose your Apple Watch number and select Continue.
  6. Scroll through the service agreement to accept, then select Add plan > Continue with setup.

You may be asked to verify a One-Time PIN when activating setting up the watch for a family member. To learn more about setting up your watch plan or verifying a One-Time PIN, visit our Tutorials, select your watch, and choose Watch Settings.

8. Add features and finish syncing.

You'll be asked if you want to set up Apple Pay by adding a card, then your phone will walk you through features like the Always On display and your preferred app view.

Keep your Apple Watch close to your phone as they sync. Your Apple Watch shows the watch face it's paired and ready to use. 

Check out the Tutorials below to learn more about using your Apple Watch.

Apple Watch Tutorials

Apple Watch Ultra

Apple Watch Ultra

Apple Watch SE 2

Apple Watch SE 2nd generation

Apple Watch 8

Apple Watch 8

Apple Watch 7

Apple Watch 7

Apple Watch SE

Apple Watch SE

Looking for a different smartwatch?

Visit our tutorials for additional smartwatch support topics.

Need help?

Our troubleshooting guides can help fix the most common device issues, right from the comfort of your home! If you still have questions, ask our community.

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