How to activate an Apple Watch and set it up for use, with your iPhone nearby

It's easy to activate your Apple Watch as long as you have your iPhone nearby.

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It’s easy to activate your Apple Watch as long as you have your iPhone nearby.
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ChinaFotoPress/Getty

Activating an Apple Watch is very straightforward, whether it’s a Wi-Fi-only watch or a model that includes cellular connectivity.

Before you begin, you should ensure that your iPhone is nearby, Bluetooth is enabled, and that the phone is connected to a local Wi-Fi network (and has a working cellular plan).

Once that’s done, you can activate your Apple Watch.

Check out the products mentioned in this article:

Apple Watch Series 5 (From $399 at Best Buy)

iPhone 11 (From $699.99 at Best Buy)

How to activate an Apple Watch

If the Apple Watch isn’t already turned on, press and hold the side button until the Apple logo appears, and then wait for it to boot up.

1. Bring the Apple Watch close to your iPhone. You should see a screen appear on the iPhone that says “Use your iPhone to set up this Apple Watch.”

After you turn on your watch, your nearby iPhone will detect it and start setup.

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After you turn on your watch, your nearby iPhone will detect it and start setup.
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Apple

2. Tap “Continue.”

3. Tap “Start Pairing.”

4. When you see the animation appear on your watch, hold the iPhone over the watch so the camera can see the animation.

5. Follow the instructions to complete setup, including activating the cellular plan on the watch.

How to activate an Apple Watch after initial setup

If you didn’t set up your Apple Watch’s cellular plan during the initial setup, you can do it any time afterwards, as long as you have a model with cellular capabilities.

1. Start the Watch app on your iPhone.

2. On the My Watch tab, tap “Cellular.”

3. Tap “Set Up Cellular.”

Set up your Apple Watch's cellular plan from the Watch app on your iPhone.

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Set up your Apple Watch’s cellular plan from the Watch app on your iPhone.
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Dave Johnson/Business Insider

4. Sign in to your cellular provider and follow the instructions to activate the plan with your cellular provider. You will need to agree to the plan’s terms and conditions and enter your address for 911 service.

Follow the instructions to activate your cellular service, including the 911 emergency contact page.

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Follow the instructions to activate your cellular service, including the 911 emergency contact page.
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Apple

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