How to fix Apple iPhone XS that won’t connect to Apple Watch

Pairing an iPhone with an Apple Watch is supposed to be done simply by tapping on a few buttons and commands. But due to some factors, the simple Bluetooth pairing process could become complicated. As a result, you won’t be able to pair your iPhone with other devices. If you’re here for the same reason, then this post might be able to help you. Read on to learn what to do if your iPhone XS won’t connect to an Apple Watch.

Before we move on to our troubleshooting, if you happen to find this post while looking for a solution to a different problem, then visit our iPhone XS Help Guides page for we have already addressed some of the most common issues with this device. We may have already published articles that could help you fix your problem. Find issues that are similar with yours and feel free to use our solutions.

Troubleshooting iPhone XS that won’t connect to Apple Watch

Before troubleshooting, make sure that both devices are positioned near each other. Distance or proximity is a key requisite to a successful Bluetooth pairing. If distance is fine but your device still won’t pair, then it’s time rule out software-related factors through these subsequent solutions.

Solution #1: Restart your iPhone XS and Apple Watch.

If your iPhone XS is unable to connect to your Apple Watch device, chances are that any of the devices is encounter random system glitch and so the pairing process is halted. And the simplest way to get rid of these random glitches is by restarting the affected devices. Doing so will likewise allow your device to refresh and reload its system.

Follow these steps to soft reset your iPhone XS:

  1. Press and hold the Side/Power button and either Volume buttons simultaneously for a few seconds.
  2. When the Slide to Power Off command appears, release both buttons.
  3. Drag the power off slider to the right to turn off the device.
  4. After 30 seconds, press and hold the Side/Power button again until the Apple logo appears.

Follow these steps to restart your Apple Watch:

  1. Press and hold the Side button until the Power Off slider appears.
  2. Drag the Power Off slider to turn off the device.
  3. Wait for a few seconds, then press and hold the Side button again until the Apple logo appears.

Wait for your iPhone and Apple Watch to finish booting up and when they’re all set, retry pairing them to see if they successfully connect. If your iPhone still won’t connect to Apple Watch, then move on to the next solution.

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Solution #2: Turn your Bluetooth OFF and ON again on your iPhone XS device.

If you are still unable to connect your iPhone to your Apple Watch even if both devices are within range, then try to turn your Bluetooth Off and On again. Doing so will help get rid of minor glitches affecting the phone’s Bluetooth functions. Here is how you do it:

  1. From the Home screen, go to Settings.
  2. Select the Bluetooth menu.
  3. Then toggle the Bluetooth switch/indicator to turn it OFF and then restart your iPhone.
  4. Once it’s back on, enable the Bluetooth again by heading over to Settings and then Bluetooth menu.

Once your phone shows that Bluetooth is already enabled, retry pairing and see if your iPhone still won’t connect to your Apple Watch.

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Solution #3: Turn the Airplane mode ON and OFF on both devices.

Both devices shouldn’t be on Airplane mode because this will turn off wireless radios of your phone and hence, there is no way for it to transmit any data back and forth without a network connection. But you can use the Airplane Mode toggle to clear out minor problems affecting wireless services that might have halted your iPhone from pairing with your Apple Watch. If you wish to try your luck in this tweak, then here’s how it’s done:

  1. On your iPhone XS, navigate to Settings and then tap the Airplane Mode menu.
  2. Toggle the switch to enable the Airplane Mode.
  3. While Airplane mode is turned on, soft reset your iPhone.
  4. Once the phone is turned back on, go back to Settings and then tap the Airplane Mode menu.
  5. Tap the switch to disable the Airplane Mode again. Doing so will also re-enable all wireless functions of your iPhone including Bluetooth.

You can also apply the same tweak to clear out random wireless connection errors on your Apple Watch that might have caused problems on Bluetooth pairing. Here’s what you should do on your iOS then:

  1. Swipe your finger up to open the Control Center.
  2. Tap the Airplane Mode icon to turn it ON.
  3. While Airplane mode is enabled, restart your Apple Watch.
  4. Once the device is back on, launch the Control Center and tap the Airplane Mode icon to disable the Airplane Mode again.

Once done with the process, try pairing the devices and see if it works. However, if your iPhone XS still won’t connect to your Apple Watch, then it’s time to reset the network settings.

Solution #4: Reset network settings on your iPhone XS.

It is possible that the pairing problem is caused by random network-related issues, then this workaround will surely clear out such errors. This process will erase current network settings including Wi-Fi networks and Bluetooth connections on your device. Any errors attributed to invalid network settings will therefore be erased. To reset network settings on your iPhone XS, follow these steps:

  1. From the Home screen, go to Settings.
  2. Select General.
  3. Scroll down to and tap Reset.
  4. Select Reset Network Settings option.
  5. Enter your device code when prompted.
  6. Then tap Reset Network Settings to confirm the network reset.

Your phone will automatically reboot after the reset. Once it’s back on, re-enable cellular network, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on your device. Then, check if your iPhone is already able to connect to your Apple Watch. If it still won’t connect, try the next solution.

ALSO READ: How to fix an Apple iPhone XS that has no sound, audio not working

Solution #5: Unpair and pair your devices again.

If the devices were able to pair but Bluetooth connection still failed, the pairing must be corrupted. In this case, you will need to unpair your devices. This is when forgetting a Bluetooth device is recommended. Refer to these subsequent steps to unpair your Apple Watch from your iPhone and vice versa.

On your iPhone XS, do these:

  1. Open the Apple Watch app.
  2. Scroll through and tap My Watch tab.
  3. Select the name of your watch located at the top of your screen.
  4. Tap on the information “i” icon next to your Apple Watch to unpair.
  5. Select Unpair Apple Watch option and then tap again to confirm the action.

After unpairing your iPhone from your Apple Watch, reset your Apple Watch. Just follow these steps:

  1. Tap on Settings.
  2. Select General.
  3. Then tap on Reset option.
  4. Select Erase all content and settings.
  5. Follow the onscreen guide to complete the reset process.

Once the reset is done, restart your Apple Watch and soft reset/reboot your iPhone XS. When both devices are finished booting up, retry pairing them to see if they’re now able to connect. If your devices still won’t pair, make sure that you’re pairing them the right way. The standard pairing method is carried out this way:

Make sure that your iPhone’s Bluetooth function is enabled or turned on. Then, follow the steps below to start pairing your devices again:

  1. Keep your Apple Watch close to your iPhone XS.
  2. Once the Apple Watch shows “Use your iPhone to set up this Apple Watch”, tap Continue.
  3. Alternatively, you can open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone if this message doesn’t show up on your Apple Watch device.
  4. Then tap Start Pairing option.

Keep the devices close to each other until you’re prompted with a message on your iPhone device saying that the Apple Watch is paired successfully. You may have to tap on Accept Pairing on your Apple Watch if it’s the first pairing attempt you’ve made after the reset.

Since you have restored your Apple Watch to its factory settings, follow the onscreen prompts to set it up as new or you can also restore it from a previous backup. You may be need to enter your Apple ID and password in the later process, so better have it ready then.

If nothing else works, try pairing your iPhone to other Bluetooth-enabled Apple devices. If the pairing is successful, then your Apple Watch must be the problem and that must be fixed. Contact Apple Support for further assistance in performing more advanced solutions to major system issues with Apple Watch. Or you can also take it the nearest Apple service center so you can have it scrutinized by a technician.

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