Home How-To-Guides How to Troubleshoot an Unpaired Apple Watch and iPhone

How to Troubleshoot an Unpaired Apple Watch and iPhone

Posted: November 15, 2023

rose gold iPhone 6s on book near Apple watch

Ensure the Apple Watch is Paired With iPhone

One of the critical steps in resolving the issue of your Apple Watch not answering calls is to ensure that your Apple Watch is correctly paired with your iPhone. The Apple Watch and iPhone must be in sync for effective functionality. Firstly, verify the pairing process. You can do this by launching the Watch app on your iPhone and checking if your Apple Watch shows up. If not, there may be a pairing issue, and it would be in your best interest to unpair and then pair the devices again.

Keep Devices in the Bluetooth Range

Often, a simple solution such as keeping the Apple Watch and iPhone within Bluetooth range of each other can alleviate the issue. Ensure that both devices are near enough for seamless communication. If the problem is due to distance, bringing the devices closer usually resolves it.

Remove Obstacles Affecting Cellular or Wi-Fi Signals

Networking issues could potentially interfere with the ability to attend calls on your Apple Watch. Ensure that there are no obstructions between your iPhone and Apple Watch, as physical barriers can interfere with Bluetooth signals. Things like walls, other electronic devices, and even Wi-Fi hotspots can potentially diminish the signal strength, leading to poor performance, often misconstrued as a technical malfunction. Also, avoid overcrowded Wi-Fi networks that could significantly interfere with device communication.

Check the Settings on both Devices

Ensure your iPhone and Apple Watch have the right settings configured to facilitate connection and communication. Check that Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are enabled, and Airplane Mode is disabled on both devices. You can quickly verify this on your iPhone by swiping down from the top-right corner of your screen to access the Control Center. A similar process can be used on your Apple Watch, where you swipe up from the bottom of the screen to open the Control Center. Look for the respective icons—Wi-Fi and Bluetooth should show blue, signifying they are turned on, and the Airplane mode icon should be grey, indicating that it's turned off.

Check Call Settings on iPhone

One crucial step in fixing the issue of being unable to answer calls on your Apple Watch is to check and update your call settings on your iPhone. Several settings on your iPhone directly affect call functionality on your Apple Watch. Incorrect settings can lead to calls not being received or answered on your Apple Watch.

Enable 'Allow Calls on Other Devices' in iPhone Settings

The feature 'Calls on Other Devices' can be handy if you often miss calls on your iPhone but have your Apple Watch at hand. To enable this feature:

  1. Open the 'Settings' app on your iPhone.
  2. Navigate to 'Phone' and then to 'Calls on Other Devices.'
  3. Ensure that the 'Allow Calls on Other Devices' toggle is switched on.

This feature exists to allow your iPhone calls to be forwarded to other Apple devices connected via the same iCloud account.

Ensure Active Cellular Plan With Voice and Data Coverage

Another fundamental requirement for your Apple Watch to receive calls is an active cellular plan with voice and data coverage. The 'Calls on Other Devices' feature relies heavily on this. Regular checks to ensure that your service plan meets these standards can reduce instances of missed calls on your Apple watch. If you identify issues in this area, contacting your service provider for solutions is the next best step.

Check App Settings

Issues with call answering can also relate to specific app settings on your iPhone, such as WhatsApp and FaceTime. Incorrect settings on these apps can hinder calls from getting through to your Apple Watch.

Turn On WhatsApp Notifications & Permissions

If WhatsApp notifications are turned off or disabled on your iPhone, calls or alerts might not ring on your Apple Watch. Therefore, it is necessary to check and enable WhatsApp notifications & permissions. Navigate to 'Settings' on your iPhone, scroll down, and tap 'WhatsApp.' Click on 'Notifications' and toggle 'Allow Notifications' to the 'On' position. Additionally, 'Microphone' and 'Camera' should be toggled to 'On' to fully enable the app's functionalities on your Apple Watch.

Ensure Active FaceTime Settings on iPhone

If you use FaceTime frequently, it's essential to ensure its settings are correctly configured on your iPhone. If you have FaceTime issues on your iPhone, it can also affect your Apple Watch. Therefore, go to the 'Settings' app, click on 'FaceTime,' and ensure that it's enabled. Also, under 'Caller ID,' make sure that your correct phone number or email address is selected. Updating these settings can contribute largely to resolving FaceTime complications on your Apple Watch.

Battery and Mode Settings

Pay attention to your device's battery levels and enabled modes to make sure your Apple Watch can answer calls efficiently. If the device is in Low Power Mode or the battery level is low, it might not handle calls correctly.

Disable Low Power Mode

Low Power Mode can limit some functionalities and processes while increasing the battery life. If your Apple Watch is in Low Power Mode, you may be unable to answer calls. Therefore, make sure it is disabled by opening the Control Center, accessible by pressing the side button on your Apple Watch. Tap the battery percentage button and turn off Low Power Mode if it's on.

Check Battery Levels

Both iPhone and Apple Watch should have enough battery to operate calls. It is important to maintain appropriate battery levels on both devices. Low power levels could hinder the functionality of processes like call operation. Regular checks to ensure sufficient charging can avoid interruptions during calls.

Disable Theater and Do Not Disturb Mode

Other settings, such as 'Theater Mode' and 'Do Not Disturb Mode,' when enabled, might prevent your Apple Watch from alerting you to incoming calls. These modes can restrict notifications from passing through. Disable these by swiping up from the bottom of the screen to open the Control Center, then tap on the respective icons to disable each mode.

Close Unnecessary Background Applications on both Devices

Multiple running applications can consume more power and slow down the performance of both the iPhone and Apple Watch. It's advisable to close unnecessary background applications, ensure optimal device functionality, and minimize interference with call operations.

Update Sound, Haptic and WatchOS Settings

Ensuring your Apple Watch is set up to receive audible and tactile notifications, along with maintaining up-to-date software, can significantly improve call reception and interaction.

Enable Sound and Haptic Settings on Apple Watch and iPhone

Navigate to 'Settings' on your Apple Watch, then to 'Sound & Haptics.' If enabled, toggle 'Silent Mode' off. Ensure the 'Alert Volume' is set to max. Under the 'Haptics' menu, toggle 'Haptic Alerts' on and select between 'Default' or 'Prominent' alert mode based on your preference. Repeat this process on your iPhone, in the 'Watch App' under 'Sound & Haptics,' ensuring 'Silent Mode' is disabled.

Update watchOS on Both Devices

The devices' software versions can profoundly impact their ability to communicate with each other. Therefore, ensure that both devices have the latest software updates. For updates on your iPhone, navigate to 'Settings' → 'General' → 'Software Update.' If an update is available, select 'Download and Install.' Similarly, ensure your Apple Watch is up-to-date by launching the 'Watch' app on your iPhone. Select 'General'→'Software Update' and tap 'Install' if an update is available. Regular software updates guarantee compatibility and performance consistency across devices.

Reset the Network and Watch Settings

If the above fixes do not work, you might choose to reset network settings on your iPhone or even factory reset your Apple Watch to bring back the normal functioning of answering calls. Remember, these solutions should be your last resort due to their significant implications on your devices.

Reset Network Settings on iPhone

Resetting the network settings on your iPhone may resolve any strangulating connectivity issues that obstruct call handling. However, remember that resetting network settings will delete all saved Wi-Fi passwords and other customized network settings. Therefore, recording or backing vital network settings is important before proceeding with this method.

To reset the network settings, go to 'Settings,' then 'General.' Locate 'Transfer or Reset iPhone' and tap on it. From the subsequent menu, choose 'Reset' then 'Reset Network Settings.' After resetting, reboot your devices and test whether the issue has been rectified by trying to answer a call on your Apple Watch.

Factory Reset Apple Watch

If all other fixes have failed, performing a factory reset on your Apple Watch may be necessary. It is the standard Apple Support procedure for persistent bugs. The process involves erasing all content and settings on your Apple Watch, which is why it is dubbed the ultimate fix.

To execute the factory reset, launch the 'Apple Watch' app on your iPhone and tap 'My Watch.' Navigate to 'General', then scroll down and tap 'Reset.' Choose 'Erase all Content and Settings' and confirm. Remember, this process eradicates all your data and settings. Therefore, backing up essential information is mandatory before undertaking this procedure.

Call Apple Support if the Issue Persists

Should the problem persist after trying all these troubleshooting steps, it is advisable to seek help from professionals. Contact Apple Support or visit an Apple Service Center. Their technicians have the knowledge and tools to diagnose and deal with recurrent or complex issues.