How to fix Apple Watch 4 Bluetooth pairing problems, won’t pair with Bluetooth-enabled device

Pairing an Apple Watch 4 with a Bluetooth accessory is fairly easy. For as long as the Bluetooth accessory is listed among the supported Bluetooth devices, it should be able to pair with your Apple Watch as intended. Nonetheless, there are some factors that can make the simple Bluetooth pairing process a bit more complicated and thus, Bluetooth pairing problems arise. Highlighted below are generic solutions to Bluetooth pairing problems on the Apple Watch 4. Read on to find out what to do if your Apple Watch won’t pair with a Bluetooth-enabled device.

Before moving on, if you have issues with your smartwatch and are trying to find a solution for it, visit our Apple Watch 4 troubleshooting page for we have already addressed some of the most common issues with this device. Find issues that are similar to yours and feel free to use our solutions. If you need more help, fill up our questionnaire so we can help you. 

Troubleshooting Bluetooth pairing problems on Apple Watch 4

First, make sure that your devices are compatible. Not all Bluetooth accessories are designed to work with the Apple Watch 5 technology hence, they’re not supported. Verify and ensure that your Bluetooth device/accessory is turned on and in pairing mode. Just refer to the instruction manual that came with the device, if you aren’t sure how to set it to pairing mode. Also make sure that the device and your Apple Watch are close to each other. Proximity matters in Bluetooth pairing thus both devices must be positioned within the specified range. To ensure that distance isn’t the underlying cause of the problem, position your watch 4 and Bluetooth device next to each other while performing each of the following procedures.

First solution: Restart Apple Watch and Bluetooth device.

Like iPhones and iPads, the Apple Watch can also be rebooted through a soft reset or forced restart. If your watch display is responsive, then you can do the usual rebooting or soft reset to dump its caches and to refresh the memory, apps and iOS. Just follow these steps to soft reset your Apple Watch 4:

  1. Press and hold the Side button for a few seconds until the Power Off slider appears.
  2. Drag the Power Off slider to turn off the watch.
  3. After 30 seconds, press and hold the Side button on your watch and then release it when the Apple logo appears.

If your watch display seems to be stuck or unresponsive, then performing a forced restart is necessary. To force restart an Apple Watch 4, follow these steps instead:

  1. Press and hold both the Side button and Digital Crown on your watch for about 10 seconds.
  2. Then release the buttons when the Apple logo is displayed.

Performing a forced restart on the Apple Watch is also handy if any of its apps suddenly crashes or gets frozen. Both these methods are safe since they don’t affect internal data.

Second solution: Toggle your Apple Watch 4 Bluetooth off and on.

Turning the Bluetooth feature of the watch off and on is also a handy tweak when it comes to resolving minor Bluetooth pairing problems. It refreshes the Bluetooth feature and clears out any corrupt Bluetooth caches that might have caused pairing conflicts. Here’s how it works:

  1. From the Home screen, tap Settings.
  2. Tap the switch to enable Bluetooth on your Apple Watch 4.
  3. Allow your Apple Watch 4 to search for nearby Bluetooth-enabled devices.
  4. Select the accessory that you want to pair with.
  5. Enter the correct passcode or PIN when asked to proceed.

Be sure to accept pairing on your other device, if prompted. 

ALSO READ: How to pair Apple Watch 4

Third solution: Toggle Airplane Mode on and off.

Another useful trick that’s been utilized by many Apple device owners when dealing with random wireless connectivity issues including Bluetooth pairing problems is the so-called Airplane mode toggle. It works by simultaneously turning off the wireless features of the problematic device and then back on again. So it’s like giving a quick reboot and refresh to the Bluetooth system. Surprisingly, performing this trick also eliminates minor glitches affecting wireless functions. If you wish to give a try, then here’s how to carry out the Airplane Mode trick on your Apple Watch 4: 

  1. Touch and hold the bottom of the screen on your Apple Watch 4 until the Control Center launches.
  2. Then, swipe up and tap the Airplane Mode icon to enable the feature.
  3. While Airplane mode is enabled, power off your watch.
  4. After 30 seconds or so, turn your watch back on and then toggle the Airplane Mode switch to turn the feature OFF again.

You can also turn Airplane Mode on and off through your Apple Watch 4 settings. Just follow these steps:

  1. From the main screen, tap Settings.
  2. Select Airplane Mode then tap to turn it on. Wireless features including Bluetooth connections are then disabled. 
  3. After 30 seconds, toggle Airplane Mode again to turn it off.
  4. Turn Bluetooth back on again.
  5. Retry pairing your Apple Watch to the Bluetooth accessory and see if the pairing is successful already.

If your Apple Watch 4 and iPhone are synced, you can set the watch to mirror the Airplane Mode setting of your iPhone. To do this, head on to the Apple Watch app on your phone then tap on the General menu. Next, go to the Airplane Mode menu and select the option to Mirror iPhone.

Your iPhone settings will then be mirrored on your Apple Watch 4. This means that turning Airplane Mode on and off your iPhone also does the same to your Apple Watch 4. In this case, ensure that Bluetooth is disabled on your iPhone so as to allow your watch to pair with a Bluetooth-enabled accessory nearby.

Fourth solution: Forget the Bluetooth device from your Apple Watch 4.

If you’ve managed to pair your Bluetooth device and watch before and suddenly it failed, it is possible that the previous connection was corrupted and so it no longer works. In that case, you will need to remove the erratic Bluetooth connection and then set it up again as new. Here’s how:

  1. Tap Settings from your Apple Watch main screen.
  2. Select Bluetooth
  3. Tap the information “i” icon next to your preferred Bluetooth accessory.
  4. Tap Forget Device. The selected device will then be removed from the Bluetooth directory of your watch.

Follow the same steps to delete any other saved Bluetooth devices on your Apple Watch 4 to prevent any of them from causing conflicts when pairing new devices.

Fifth solution: Reset network settings to fix Bluetooth pairing problem on your Apple Watch 4.

Bluetooth pairing problems are also tagged among other network-related issues that can be remedied by a network reset. This is usually what’s needed if the problem is attributed to some invalid network configurations and customization on your Watch 4 settings. If you wish to try your luck in this tweak, then you may do so by referring to these steps:

  1. Tap Settings from your Apple Watch main screen.
  2. Tap General
  3. Scroll down to the bottom then tap Reset from the given options.
  4. Tap Reset then select the option to Reset Network Settings.

All saved connections from your Apple Watch will then be deleted. Reboot/soft reset your watch after the reset and then enable its Bluetooth feature again to reattempt pairing with your Bluetooth accessory.

Last resort: Reset your Apple Watch 4 to default settings.

You may consider opting for a full reset on your Apple Watch 4 if none of the given solutions worked. This is often the key to resolving Bluetooth pairing problems that are inflicted by complex iOS errors and malwares. But the only downside you should note is that doing so will also result in data loss. If you wish to proceed though, back up your Apple Watch data and proceed to these steps whenever you’re ready to erase your Apple Watch 4 and restore its factory defaults:

  1. On your Apple Watch, tap Settings.
  2. Select General.
  3. Tap Reset.
  4. Tap the option to Erase All Content and Settings.
  5. If prompted, choose to keep or remove your cellular plan.
  6. Then tap Erase All to confirm that you want to erase the watch.
  7. The reset process will then instigate. After the reset, your Apple Watch is restored to its factory default settings.

If your Apple Watch 4 is synced with your iPhone, the watch contents back up automatically to your phone. For example, if you back up your iPhone to iTunes or iCloud, data from your Apple Watch 4 are also backed up. Thus, you can restore your Apple Watch 4 from a backup after the reset. Bluetooth pairings however aren’t included in the Apple Watch backup so you’ll need to set up your Bluetooth connections as new after the reset.

You may also opt to set up everything as new on your Apple Watch after a full system reset to ensure that everything runs fresh.

ALSO READ: How to unlock Mac with Apple Watch

Still facing Bluetooth pairing problem and unable to pair your Apple Watch 4 with your Bluetooth device?

If the underlying cause of the problem is from within your Apple Watch 4 system, performing the above solutions usually takes care of it. But if you’ve already exhausted all the given solutions and application workarounds yet the Bluetooth pairing problem persists, then you need to troubleshoot the Bluetooth device next. It might be experiencing some issues that hindered the pairing process. You can ask further technical assistance from the device manufacturer to troubleshoot and eliminate all possible causes. A simple way to determine whether or not the problem is with the Bluetooth accessory/device you’re trying to pair with your Apple Watch, try pairing the watch to any other compatible Bluetooth-enabled accessory. If your watch is able to pair with other devices, then that clearly denotes the problem is with the previous Bluetooth device you’re trying to pair with your watch. If your Apple Watch 4 won’t or can’t pair with any Bluetooth-enabled devices, then your watch is apparently the culprit and therefore needs to be fixed. Since you’ve already done the basic troubleshooting, you can try applying more advanced solutions. You can report the issue to the Apple Support team so they can walk you through more advanced troubleshooting procedure to configure or modify the Apple Watch 4’s system functions.

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