Apple has published a new support document discussing how the recent iOS 15.4 and watchOS 8.5 updates allow an Apple Watch to be restored with a nearby iPhone.
An Apple Watch running watchOS 8.5 or later will display an animation showing an Apple Watch and iPhone being brought close together.
Customers can follow the steps below to initiate the restore process:
1. Make sure that an iPhone is nearby. The iPhone needs to have iOS 15.4 or later, it needs to be connected to Wi-Fi with Bluetooth turned on, and it needs to be unlocked.
2. Put your Apple Watch on its charger.
3. Double-click the side button (the button below the circular Digital Crown) on your Apple Watch.
4. Follow the steps that appear on the iPhone.
* If these steps don’t work for you, check your Wi-Fi. Try using a 2.4GHz network instead of 5GHz, and make sure that you’re not on a captive or 802.1X network.
In an internal Apple Store memo shared by MacRumors Apple said this feature allows customers and technicians to restore watchOS on some Apple Watch models without being required to mail the device to an Apple Repair Center. The memo did not specify which Apple Watch models support the feature.
In some instances, your Apple Watch might show a red exclamation point. If this happens, double-click the side button, then follow the steps above. If the Apple Watch continues to display a red exclamation point, you are advised to contact Apple Support to set up a mail-in repair.