3 Apple Watch Safety Tips You Should Know

By | April 30, 2022

With each generation since its debut in 2015, the Apple Watch continues to get stronger. And can complete multiple tasks without the help of an iPhone.

Apple wearables can control smart homes, pay for purchases, track exercise, and more. But while many of the security measures Apple uses to protect your information on iOS devices are well known, the problem isn’t always so obvious when using the Apple Watch.

Here are some Apple Watch security tips and how to protect your important data.

What You Need to Protect

Starting with Series 3, there are currently two types of Apple Watch. The GPS + Cellular version can perform basic operations like streaming Apple Music without needing an iPhone nearby. The GPS version still requires the iPhone within range for anything that requires an internet connection.

Both versions also save important information when disconnected from iPhone.

Easily the biggest one is your credit card information for Apple Pay. Your watch can pay for purchases without needing an iPhone, which is a feature so useful that it falls into the wrong hands, of course.

Also accessible are any emails or text messages, fitness and health information, contact information, and app data. If your Apple Watch disappears, it could easily become a big problem.

That’s why we recommend configuring these three important Apple Watch security features.

How to Lock Your Apple Watch: Passcode Lock

The best way to secure your Apple Watch and its data is to lock it with a passcode. Luckily, if you’re using your watch for Apple Pay, you’ll need to set a passcode during setup.

If you didn’t choose a passcode during setup and want to add it later, just open the companion iPhone Watch app and choose My Watch > Passcode. You can enter a simple four-digit code, or a more complex version with 5-10 digits.

You can also set a passcode on your Apple Watch. Select Settings > Passcode, then select Enable Turn Passcode On and enter a custom code.

For an added layer of security, make sure to choose a different passcode than the one your iPhone uses.

Unlike Passcode Lock on your iOS device, there’s no need to enter the code every time you unlock your Apple Watch. With the Wrist Detection feature on, the sensor will automatically lock the watch when you are not wearing it. So you should enter the passcode only when you turn on the wearable device. Entering the passcode is also required when restarting the watch.

Another nifty feature you can enable in the same menu in the Watch app is Unlock with iPhone. When the setting is on, unlocking your iPhone will automatically unlock your Apple Watch, as long as you’re actually wearing the device.

Placing a Lock on Your Apple Watch

If the worst happens, and you lose your Apple Watch, Passcode Lock provides other safes.

After someone enters the wrong passcode six times, a one minute delay automatically applies before trying again. After 10 incorrect attempts, two different actions may occur depending on the selected setting.

If Clear Data is enabled in the Passcode menu of the Watch app or the watch itself, 10 incorrect passcode entries will automatically wipe the watch completely. It’s not secret agent level, but it’s definitely a great deterrent to bad guys.
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On the other hand, if you’re forgetful and don’t have a backup of your Apple Watch, this can be a real inconvenience. You should think about using a password manager to store your codes after enabling this setting.

Without that setting enabled, there’s little hope if you forget your Apple Watch passcode. You can completely erase your Apple Watch and pair it with your iPhone again. Erase the watch by going to General > Reset > Erase Apple Watch Content, Apple Watch in the Watch app, or Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings on the Watch.

Beware of Activation Lock

Another vital security feature is Apple Activation Lock. It’s a simple and effective way to render a lost or stolen watch completely useless.

With the feature on, anyone who finds or steals an Apple Watch must provide their associated Apple ID and password before they can erase and use it with a new iPhone. It also appears when someone tries to disconnect your watch from your iPhone or disable the location feature.

Anyone who does not have the correct information cannot use any device. The good news is that if you have Find My iPhone set up, Activation Lock is up and running.

You can double-check by opening the Watch app on your iPhone. Select the My Watch tab and then select your Watch name on the screen. After pressing the i icon, search for Find My Apple Watch. If you see it, the feature is active.

Luckily, Activation Lock doesn’t require any internet connection. It protects the wearable device and its data anywhere.

How to Use Find My iPhone With Apple Watch

There’s also an added layer of protection for your watch in the Find My iPhone app.

Using this app, you can view a map that will show you the last known location of your Apple Watch. GPS-only models will use the location of the last known Wi-Fi connection. On the other hand, cellular-enabled models can pinpoint a more precise location using cell towers.

Even without an iOS device, you can also use the same Find My iPhone feature on icloud.com.

Launch the online app or iOS device and enter your Apple ID and password. Click on the watch name to view it on a map, if it can connect using an iPhone, Wi-Fi network, or cell tower. If you don’t see the location on the map, the watch won’t be able to connect.

To find the nearest watch, select the Play Sound button. That will automatically make the watch play a loud sound, even if it is silent.

Lost Mode is another option that you can choose from using the Find My iPhone app or website. Along with providing a phone number, you can write a customized short message that will appear on the watch screen. Use this to leave a phone number or email address that anyone who finds your device can use to contact you.

The final step, if you’re sure you won’t find your watch again, is to Erase Watch. That will erase all the information stored on the watch remotely. Apple Watch Activation Lock still continues, so anyone who finds or tries to use the watch is out of luck.

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