Apple’s latest watchOS 6 now comes with a built-in App Store that lets users install standalone apps on your Apple Watch. Previously, users were required to install the app on their iPhone in order to get the app functionality on the Watch. Recently there has been quite a confusion in the Apple community if the backups are going to be independent too for Apple Watch.
The answer is no. Apple Watch data still automatically backs up to your companion iPhone so that you can restore your Apple Watch from a backup. This means backing up your iPhone to iTunes or iCloud will also include your Apple Watch data.
Now, there isn’t any information from Apple on how frequent the Apple Watch data is backed up. However, there are multiple instances where it is proven to sync up in almost real-time in the iPhone companion app while changing watch faces on the Watch.
In case you really want to do a forced backup of Apple Watch data for your satisfaction, you can try out a simple trick which we are going to show you in this guide.
Forcing an Apple Watch Backup
As of now, Apple doesn’t give users the option to do a forced backup from either the Apple Watch app or watchOS 6. But there’s a workaround for it, and it requires you to unpair your Apple Watch on your iOS device. Note that it takes a long time to finish the process and purges all the data on your Watch. If you still want to do it, then follow the steps below.
- Make sure your iPhone and Apple Watch are connected.
- Launch the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
- Head over to the My Watch tab, then select your Watch at the top of the screen.
- Tap the “🛈” button next to your Watch.
- Tap Unpair Apple Watch on the next page. You will be asked again to confirm.
- Enter your Apple ID password to disable the activation lock.
Your iPhone will automatically create a new backup of your Apple Watch data before deleting all data and settings on it. Once you successfully unpair your Apple Watch, you will soon see the Start Pairing option on your iPhone. Now set up your Apple Watch and choose your existing backup in the process to restore your data.
List of Backed Up Apple Watch Data
Here are the things that Apple backs up from your Apple Watch:
- App data and settings for both built-in and third-party apps.
- System settings, including brightness, haptic, notification, sound, and Siri settings.
- Watch face customizations.
- App layout and dock settings.
- Apple Music synced albums and playlists.
- Auto and user-calibrated values related to Health and Fitness data (Requires encrypted iTunes or iCloud backup).
Apple doesn’t sync your Apple Pay banking credentials, paired Bluetooth devices, and passcode for keeping user data secure.
Apple’s decision to not include a separate backup option for Apple Watch is baffling. Unpairing the Watch just to do a forced backup is inefficient and a tedious process. If you have more than an hour or so, you can follow the in-depth instructions for the backup procedure in this guide. Hopefully, Apple will implement the backup feature in the near future.
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