Apple Watch Ultra Won’t Pair or Connect to iPhone? Try These Fixes

Here’s what to do if your Apple Watch Ultra or Apple Watch Ultra 2 won’t pair with your iPhone

By Stacey Butler - Senior Staff Writer
4 Min Read
  • If your Apple Watch Ultra or Apple Watch Ultra 2 isn’t pairing, you’ll see a red iPhone icon or red X on your watch face.
  • Fix pairing issues by ensuring both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are enabled.
  • Moving your devices closer together or restarting them can resolve your issue.
  • If all else fails, reset your Apple Watch Ultra and try re-pairing it to your iPhone.

Three Apple Watch Ultra devices, each with a different band, are shown in profile and overhead.  

When your Apple Watch Ultra isn’t paired to your iPhone, the number of features it has decreases dramatically.

Sure, you can still record a workout and check the time, but you won’t get any notifications, messages, or calls on your watch.

Luckily — in most cases — Apple Watch Ultra pairing issues can be fixed in a matter of minutes. Just try these fixes if you can’t pair or connect your Apple Watch Ultra or Apple Watch Ultra 2 to an iPhone.

How to Pair Your Apple Watch Ultra With an iPhone Properly

Before pairing your Apple Watch Ultra to your iPhone, first, make sure your Bluetooth is on, and that your iPhone is connected to WiFi or a cellular network.

Make sure you have the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, and if not, download it from the Apple Store.

Now follow these steps:

  1. Put your Apple Watch Ultra on your wrist. Adjust the band or choose a band size so your Apple Watch Ultra fits closely but comfortably.
  2. Turn your Apple Watch Ultra on. Press and hold the button on the right side of your Apple Watch Ultra until you see the white Apple logo on a black background. See this article if your Apple Watch Ultra won’t turn on.
  3. Select your language and region.
  4. Hold your iPhone near your Apple Watch Ultra, wait for the Apple Watch pairing screen to appear on your iPhone, then tap Continue. You can also open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, then tap Pair New Watch.
  5. Tap Set Up for Myself.
  6. When prompted, position your iPhone so that your Apple Watch Ultra appears in the viewfinder in the Apple Watch app. This pairs the two devices.

Once you pair your Apple Watch with your iPhone, you can go through the rest of the initial setup, like customizing watchOS settings, signing in with an Apple ID, creating a passcode, selecting apps, and more.

7 Fixes if Your Apple Watch Ultra Is Not Connecting to an iPhone

1. Confirm Your Apple Watch Isn’t Connected to an iPhone

To confirm that your Apple Watch Ultra isn’t connecting to an iPhone, press the Side button to bring up the Control Center.

If you see a red X icon at the top of your Apple Watch’s screen, it means it isn’t connected to your iPhone.

2. Move your iPhone closer to your Apple Watch

There’s a chance your phone is simply too far away from your Apple Watch, or that it’s in a bag or drawer that is blocking a clear signal.

Because the watch and phone pair via Bluetooth, proximity is key. So, get them closer together and see if that alleviates the issue.

3. Check the settings on both devices

If your phone has Wi-Fi or Bluetooth turned off — or if either of your devices are in Airplane Mode — they won’t be able to pair. Make sure all settings are set properly to facilitate the connection.

On the iPhone, you can quickly check this in the Control Center. Swipe down from the top-right corner of your screen and ensure Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are on (the icons will be blue) and Airplane Mode is off (the icon will be gray). On the Apple Watch, press the Side button to open the Control Center.

4. Restart Your Apple Watch Ultra and iPhone

The next step you can take is to restart both the Apple Watch Ultra and the iPhone.

You can shut down your Apple Watch Ultra by holding down the side button until the sliders appears. Tap the power button and then swipe the power off slider to the right. Press and hold the side button to turn the watch back on.

Then, it’s time to move on to your iPhone. On any modern iPhone model with a notch or Dynamic Island, press the Side button and one of the volume buttons simultaneously and drag the power off slider to the right. Then, press the Side button again until you see the Apple logo.

5. Check for Software Updates

If your Apple Watch Ultra is still not connecting to an iPhone, make sure that both your Apple Watch and iPhone are running the most recent software.

To check for a software update on the Apple Watch, open the Settings app, then go to General > Software Update.
Likewise, you can update your iPhone software by going to Settings > General > Software Update.

6. Reset Your iPhone’s Network Settings

Another fix you can try when your Apple Watch Ultra doesn’t pair or connect is to reset the Network settings on your iPhone. Doing this won’t wipe the data on your iPhone, but it will restore all network-related settings, like Wi-Fi passwords and saved Bluetooth connections, to factory default values.

On your iPhone, go to Settings > General > Transfer or Reset iPhone> Reset > Reset Network Settings. Enter your iPhone passcode when prompted.

7. Reset Your Apple Watch

If you’ve followed all of the previous steps and you’re still having issues, it’s time to reset your watch. This fix should resolve the pairing issue, but it will wipe saved data off the watch. To start the process, go to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings.

To complete the process, you’ll need to remove your Apple Watch’s Activation Lock.

Once you’ve wiped your Apple Watch, you can hopefully re-pair it with your iPhone. If that’s successful, you can set it up as a completely new device or restore it using a previous backup during the initial setup process.

As you can see, even when your Apple Watch Ultra won’t pair with your iPhone, it just takes a few steps to fix the problem.

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By Stacey Butler Senior Staff Writer
Stacey is a senior staff writer at GeeksChalk and has been writing about Apple for nearly a decade. She covers all things Apple for GeeksChalk, including iPhones, iPads and Mac. Based in Honolulu, Hawaii, Stacey is often found hiking precarious landscapes or tinkering with a camera.
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