Can I pair Apple Watch to iPhone with older iOS?

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by timidhermit, Nov 8, 2017.

  1. timidhermit macrumors 6502

    Jul 6, 2011
    I got a second-hand Generation 0 SS Apple Watch. Checked with Apple to make sure it is not Activation Locked. Seller reset the watch but is not tech savvy to know what WatchOS version is running on the watch.

    I tried to pair with my older iPhone runing iOS 9.x and my newer iPhone running iOS 10.x. I have no iPhone running iOS 11. I cannot to upgrade to iOS 11 at this moment as I have essential apps needing to run on older iOS.

    When I tried to pair the Watch, it reports the message that my iPhone's iOS out of date and must first be updated. I tried to manually pair with a code. It generated and accepted the codes on both devices, but the same error message appeared afterward.

    I searched on this forum and found posts describing similar but not exact situations.

    Am I truly stuck?

    Is there anyway to check the watchOS version without finding a compatible iPhone to pair it first?

    Is it possible to downgrade to WatchOS (I read somewhere that it is not, but I am not sure)?

    Can I borrow a friend's iPhone running iOS 11 and pair it with the Apple Watch to finish the setup (at least), then un-pair the Apple Watch and simply use the watch in isolation (at least I can use it to track time, health data, etc.) until my own iPhone is updated to iOS 11? At that time, can I re-pair the watch to my phone without losing any local data stored on the phone?

    Very confused... Please help!
  2. Relentless Power macrumors Penryn

    Relentless Power

    Jul 12, 2016
    You Will have to upgrade your iOS and Apple Watch for it to be compatible and working in tandem. And you cannot downgrade your Apple Watch from a previous watchOS version.
  3. timidhermit thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 6, 2011
    What about the last option I listed above? Borrowing a phone with iOS 11 to complete the setup at a minimum and then un-pair to use the watch separately until I find a more permanent solution?

  4. Relentless Power macrumors Penryn

    Relentless Power

    Jul 12, 2016
    You technically could do that. But you need that iPhone specifically to use the main functionality for notifications and other features, otherwise you're basically using the Apple Watch as a time keeping device with minimal functionality. But then when you go to another iPhone, you're going to have to pair that Apple Watch with the current iPhone you plan on using. Remember, whatever iPhone you're pairing it too, the watchOS has to match that Version of iOS.

    For example, if you try pairing the first generation Apple Watch, it may or may not work depending which version of iOS it's currently operating.
  5. timidhermit thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 6, 2011
    Relentless Power, thanks for your help with this thread and the other thread.

    Once I used my friend's iPhone to complete the initial setup for the watch and then un-pair it, do I need to access my friend's iPhone again later on when I am ready to pair the watch to my own iPhone (as soon as I updated the firmware on it to iOS 11)? I worry that this initial pairing may create problems for me later on and that I might be stuck if my friend changes his iPhone to a different one and no longer has access to the original phone (for example, he sells his phone) with which I use to activate the watch.

  6. codyfisher macrumors member

    Oct 4, 2014
    Denver, CO USA
    I lost my jailbreak because I bought an Apple Watch not knowing that my phone would need to be updated. The only problem with pairing your watch to your friend's phone is whenever you're near him youll have access to all his messages etc. and you may receive his notifications unless you disable all of them. The watch is useless without pairing to your own iPhone; either update your phone or sell the watch.
  7. timidhermit, Nov 8, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2017

    timidhermit thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 6, 2011
    That was why I was asking if I could immediately un-pair from my friend's iPhone once I completed the initial setup of the watch. This way, I thought I could continue use the watch in this un-paired state with limited functionality until I pair it to my iPhone after it is updated to a compatible firmware.

    Is this possible?

  8. Mlrollin91 macrumors G5


    Nov 20, 2008
    Ventura County
    Unpairing a watch restores it to the pre-set up condition. Just a blank watch waiting to be paired to a phone. It must be paired with a phone to be used. If you pair it with your friends iPhone. Their text messages and notifications will go to your watch. Additionally, unless they have connected all there phone to all your known WiFi networks, you will never have connectivity on the watch. Furthermore, any health data (activity and achievements) will sync to his device.

    It really requires your phone.
  9. timidhermit thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 6, 2011
    Thanks, Mlrollin91. This is most helpful. Alas, it appears I can't use the watch as of now. Oh well...


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8 November 8, 2017