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Unlock iPhone with Apple Watch Not Working? Here Are 9 Ways

Apple makes it easier for iPhone users to unlock their iPhone with an Apple watch, even when wearing a face mask. This is a great feature for this current pandemic situation. However, some users reported that the unlock with the Apple watch is not working for them.

If the unlock with Apple watch is not working for you, keep reading the article. Below, we will introduce you to the requirements you need to fulfill to be able to use this feature. We will also discuss the possible solutions to make the feature work.

unlock with apple watch not working

Part 1. Requirements for Unlocking iPhone with Apple Watch

There are some prerequisites that you must fulfill to use the Unlock with Apple Watch feature. These include:

  • Your iPhone needs to arrive with a Face ID sensor.
  • The iPhone must run on iOS 14.5 or above.
  • You need to have Apple Watch 3 or above. (WatchOS 7.4 or up).
  • The Apple Watch needs to be passcode protected and unlocked.
  • You will need to be wearing a face mask that covers at least 50% of your face.
  • Both the iPhone and Apple watch should be close enough.

Part 2. How to Fix Unlock iPhone with Apple Watch Not Working

If you still cannot unlock with Apple watch even after fulfilling the above requirement, check out the below fixes.

#1. Make Sure the Settings are Correct in iPhone Settings

If the unlock with Apple Watch is not working on your device, you should first check all the relevant Settings on the iPhone. These include:

  • Make sure that the Apple Watch has a passcode set. You can easily set the passcode on Apple Watch by opening Settings > Passcode > Unlock with iPhone.
  • Another thing that you must turn on is the Wrist Detection feature on the Apple Watch. Go to Settings on Apple Watch and then browse Passcode > Wrist Detection to unlock it.
  • Make sure that the “Unlock iPhone with Apple Watch” is enabled on your iPhone. Go to the Settings > Face ID & Passcode. Switch the toggle on beside Unlock with Apple ID.

#2. Ensure that Apple Watch Is Connecting to iPhone

Sometimes you can face the Apple Watch not connecting to your iPhone without even knowing about it. You simply can't unlock the iPhone with the watch when it happens. Here is how to double-check and ensure the Apple watch is connecting to the device:

  1. Swipe up on your Apple Watch screen to go to Control Center.
  2. If your iPhone is connected, you will see a green phone icon at the top of the screen.
  3. If you don't see the icon, this means the phone is not connecting. It can happen because of many reasons, including the distance between the phone and watch, turned off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, etc.

connect iphone with apple watch

#3. Disable and Enable Bluetooth & Wi-Fi on Both Devices

You will need to have the iPhone's Bluetooth and Wi-Fi turned on to use the unlock with the Apple Watch feature. Otherwise, the feature will not work.

Open the Settings and then go to Wi-Fi to turn it on. Similarly, toggle on the Bluetooth option under Settings on your iPhone.

bluetooth iphone

#4. Turn On/Off Airplane Mode

Switching the Airplane mode on and off your iPhone will refresh all the connectivity options like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. This might help fix minor glitches preventing the iPhone from connecting to the watch.

Here is how to turn on/off Airplane mode on your iPhone:

  1. Open the Control Center of your iPhone by swiping from top to bottom.
  2. Find and click on the airplane icon. It should turn yellow.
  3. After a few seconds, press on the icon to switch off the Airplane mode.

airplane mode iphone

Follow the below steps to turn off/on Airplane mode on Apple Watch:

  1. Swipe up the Watch face from the bottom to go to Control Panel.
  2. Find and click on the airplane icon. It should turn yellow.
  3. After a few seconds, press on the icon to switch off the Airplane mode.

apple watch airplane mode

#5. Restart Apple Watch & iPhone

Restarting your iPhone and Apple watch may solve minor issues in the systems of the device. Let's see how to restart your iPhone and Apple Watch.

  1. Press and hold the side button with one of the volume buttons until the "Slide to Power off" occurs.
  2. Then, release the button and slide the power icon to the right from the left of the display. After a while, start the device by long-pressing the Side button again.

restart iphone

To restart your Apple Watch, tap and hold the Digital Crown and side button for around 10 seconds. Let the button go after seeing the Apple logo. After a few seconds, turn on the watch by long-pressing the side button.

turn off apple watch

#6. Reset Face ID on Your iPhone

Sometimes the unlock iPhone with Apple Watch not working issue can be caused by a glitch with the iPhone's Face ID. Resetting the Face ID might help in this case.

First, go to Settings > Face ID & Passcode on your iPhone. Then press "Reset Face ID". Next, enter the required information to proceed.

reset face id

#7. Unpair Apple Watch with iPhone, then Re-pair Again

Unpairing the Apple watch and re-pairing can be a quick way to get rid of the issue if you are wearing a mask. Here is how to unpair the watch and re-connect:

  1. Go to the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Go to My Watch > All Watches.
  3. Now press the “i" icon beside the connected Apple Watch.
  4. Click "Unpair Apple Watch" to proceed forward on the new page.

unpair apple watch

#8. Reset Network Settings on iPhone

Resetting the network settings of your iPhone sometimes helps to get rid of Unlock with Apple watch not working issue.

To do this, go to Settings of your iPhone and then open General > Reset > Reset Network Settings. You will need the iPhone's passcode to confirm the operation. Once resetting is complete, you will need to re-connect to the Wi-Fi network by entering the credentials.

reset network settings

Part 3. Unlock Disabled iPhone with FoneGeek iPhone Passcode Unlocker

Forget your iPhone's passcode and also can't unlock iPhone with Apple watch? Well, the FoneGeek iPhone Passcode Unlocker can help you. It's an excellent tool that can help you unlock your passcode, Apple ID, iCloud account, and a variety of things. You can utilize it with just a few clicks.


Let’s see how to make use of the FoneGeek iPhone Passcode Unlocker to unlock your disabled iPhone:

  1. Get the FoneGeek iPhone Passcode Unlocker for your Windows/Mac computer from their official website. Launch the program after that and press “Unlock Screen Passcode".
  2. Attach the iPhone to the PC using a USB cable and then press 'Start". If your iPhone is not detected, make use of the onscreen guide to go to recovery mode.
  3. Now, you need to download a firmware package for the procedure. Pick the preferred download path and press "Download".
  4. After firmware download is proceeded, press "Start Unlock". That's it; the rest of the work will be done by the FoneGeek app. Within a while, your iPhone will restart, and you can access it without the passcode.

unlock apple id


The unlock with the Apple Watch is definitely a great feature, and it's very handy for many situations. If unlocking iPhone with Apple Watch not working, we hope the above article will help you to fix the issue. And, if you end up disabling your iPhone while trying to unlock it, you can use the FoneGeek iPhone Passcode Unlocker to easily get rid of the situation.

Fay J. Melton

Fay J. Melton has explored the area of technology and software for more than 5 years and he is enthusiastic about helping users solve various technology issues.

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