How to Upgrade to a New iPhone and AppleWATCH at the Same Time

It doesn’t happen often, but this year I just happened to receive both my new WATCH Series 6 and my new iPhone 12 Pro Max yesterday afternoon — on the same day at the same time.

So, the question becomes which should I upgrade first? Do I pair my new WATCH to my old iPhone and then upgrade the iPhone, or do I upgrade to my new iPhone and then upgrade to my new WATCH?

The answer is, well, kinda both. The only way to backup your WATCH is to unpair it from your iPhone, so what you’ll need to do — in broad strokes — is unpair your WATCH, then backup your iPhone and restore to the new iPhone, then pair your new WATCH to the new iPhone and select “restore” from the pairing options.

There are plenty of great articles online about how to move your WATCH to a new iPhone and what to backup before moving to your new iPhone (see links below, for a few of the artciles I followed), so I won’t repeat that information here, but just a general outline would look like something like this:

  1. Unpair your old WATCH from your old iPhone. This will create a backup of your WATCH on your iPhone.

  2. Backup your old iPhone. Personally, I like to do this step manually using Finder, but there are other options. Make sure you read about how to ensure you don’t lose your photos, messages and other data!

  3. Manually backup any other things from your old iPhone that are critical. This list will vary depending on the apps you’re using, but one thing I’ll specifically point out is 2FA apps. If you are using a 2FA app that does not backup to the cloud, then let me suggest Microsoft Authenticator or Authy.

  4. Setup your new iPhone and transfer the data from your old iPhone to the new iPhone.

  5. Ensure that your new iPhone has all the restored apps and data that it’s supposed to have. Personally, I usually wait 3-5 days before I wipe my old iPhone, just to be on the safe side.

  6. Pair your new WATCH to your new iPhone and restore your backed up WATCH data.

Last but not least, a word of advice: read through all the how-to articles before you start. Please, please, please, make sure you understand all the steps and the order in which to perform them before you start the process.

Good luck!

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