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Factory reset your Apple, Samsung, Wear OS or Fitbit smartwatch

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There are many reasons why you might want to factory reset your smartwatch. Maybe an update failed during the download and didn’t help any troubleshooting. You may want to upgrade to a new model and plan to gift your current watch to a friend. Apple requires you to do this if you forget your passcode. Or it’s possible that smartwatches just aren’t your thing and you’re ready to sell.

Whatever the reason, it is important that you erase the data from your device. Wearables are personal devices and store a lot of sensitive data, especially if you mainly use your smartwatch for health and fitness tracking. As a general reminder, if you’re not completely throwing in the towel on smartwatches, it’s a good idea to back up your data before resetting.

Every smartwatch has a slightly different method for a factory reset. Here’s how to do it for some of the more popular smartwatches.

You may also need to factory reset your watch if you enter too many incorrect passcodes.
Photo by Victoria Song / The Verge

Apple Watch

If you’ve added your Apple Watch to your cellular plan, you’ll need to unpair it first. To do that:

  • Open the Watch app on your iPhone.
  • Tap mobile and then select the information icon next to your schedule.
  • Tap remove

This should be enough, but we all know how carriers can be. apples support page notes that in some cases you will need to contact your carrier to disconnect your watch. If you’re planning to give or sell gifts by a certain date, make sure to plan accordingly so you don’t have to scramble.

To reset your Apple Watch:

  • Open the Settings app on your Apple Watch.
  • Go to General and then scroll down to Reset
  • Select Clear all content and settings
  • Confirm by entering your access code.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

There are multiple ways to reset the Galaxy Watch 4, both from the watch and from your phone. As with the Apple Watch, if you have a cellular version, you’ll need to remove it from your subscription first.

reset warning of samsung watch

Usually you get such a warning.
Image: Samsung

To remove the Galaxy Watch 4 from your cellular plan:

  • Open the Galaxy Wearable app.
  • Tap Watch settings
  • Scroll down to and tap Mobile plans
  • Remove your watch from your subscription.

Again, if you run into issues you may need to contact your individual carrier so make sure you don’t leave this until the last minute. After you remove your watch – or if you only have a Bluetooth version – you can start the factory reset process.

To reset from the watch:

  • Go to Settings
  • Tap General
  • Swipe to reset.
  • If you haven’t already, you can tap Backup data
  • Tap Reset and enter your access code if you have one.

To reset from your phone:

  • Open the Galaxy Wearable app.
  • Tap Watch Settingsand then General
  • Scroll down and tap Reset
  • Unlock your Galaxy Watch 4 and confirm that you want to reset.
  • Enter your access code if you have one.

It’s the same process to reset the Fitbit Sense and Versa series of watches.
Brent Rose for The Verge

Fitbit Sense and Fitbit Versa Series

Neither the Sense nor the Versa series has cellular connectivity – so you don’t have to worry about carriers here. Another benefit is that the process is the same for all Fitbit smartwatches.

To reset the Fitbit Sense and Versa series watches:

  • Open the Settings app on the watch.
  • Navigate to the About section.
  • Select Factory settings
  • Confirm your choice to reset.

The Fossil Gen 6 is a big watch, but looks good on my wrist

Wear OS 2 watches generally use the same process, although certain options may be labeled differently.
Photo by Dieter Bohn / The Verge

Wear OS 2 smartwatches

Most Wear OS 2 smartwatches do not have cellular capabilities. An exception is the Fossil Gen 5 LTE, which is only available to Verizon customers. To disable connectivity for that watch, you’ll need to contact the carrier.

Otherwise, you can reset Wear OS 2 watches to factory settings as follows.

  • Swipe down and select the Settings gear.
  • Navigate to System
  • Scroll down and tap either Unpair and reset or Unpair with phone (The options may differ slightly depending on the watch.)
  • Confirm that you want to reset your watch.

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