Set up a family member’s Apple Watch

Set up a family member’s Apple Watch

You can set up and manage Apple Watch for someone who doesn’t have their own iPhone—your school-aged child or parent, for example. To do so, you must be the family organizer or parent/guardian in your Family Sharing group.

The iPhone you use to initially pair and set up the Apple Watch must be within normal Bluetooth range (about 33 feet or 10 meters) of the Apple Watch to manage settings and update the software. The person you set up Apple Watch for must be part of your Family Sharing group and have a cellular-capable Apple Watch SE or Apple Watch Series 4 or later. (Your family member’s watch doesn’t have to use the same cellular carrier as the iPhone you manage it with.) See the iPhone User Guide for information about setting up Family Sharing.

Using the Apple Watch app and Screen Time on your iPhone, you can manage the following:

  • Communications limits

  • A schedule for time away from the screen

  • Schooltime—a feature that limits certain Apple Watch features during school hours

  • Restriction settings for explicit content, purchases, and privacy

In addition, you can view Activity, Health, and Location information for the managed Apple Watch based on how it’s set up.

Note: An Apple Watch set up for a family member is limited in some of its interactions with the iPhone used to set it up. For example, you can’t unlock a paired iPhone from an Apple Watch you set up for a family member, nor can you hand off tasks from the managed Apple Watch to the iPhone. If you delete an app from an Apple Watch set up for a family member, it’s not also removed from the iPhone used to set it up.

Set up your family member’s Apple Watch

Setting up an Apple Watch for a family member is similar to setting up a watch for yourself. Before you pair and set up a watch for your family member, erase the watch to ensure that it doesn’t have any content.

  1. Have your family member put on their Apple Watch. Adjust the band or choose a band size so the Apple Watch fits closely but comfortably on their wrist.

    For information about changing the band on your Apple Watch, see Remove, change, and fasten Apple Watch bands.

  2. To turn on Apple Watch, press and hold the side button until the Apple logo appears.

  3. Bring your iPhone near the Apple Watch, wait for the Apple Watch pairing screen to appear on your iPhone, then tap Continue.

    Or open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, tap All Watches, then tap Pair New Watch.

    the Apple Watch app icon
  4. Tap Set Up for a Family Member, then tap Continue on the next screen.

  5. When prompted, position your iPhone so that the Apple Watch appears in the viewfinder in the Apple Watch app. This pairs the two devices.

  6. Tap Set Up Apple Watch. Follow the instructions on your iPhone and Apple Watch to finish setup.

For more information about setting up and pairing Apple Watch, see Set up and pair your Apple Watch with iPhone.

Manage a family member’s Apple Watch

  1. Open the Apple Watch app on the iPhone used to manage the watch.

  2. Tap All Watches, tap a watch under Family Watches, then tap Done.

When you tap My Watch for a managed watch, you see a variety of settings, including the following:

Setting

Options

General

Check for updates, change language and region, and reset Apple Watch.

Cellular

Set up cellular if you haven’t. See Add Apple Watch to your cellular plan.

Accessibility

Configure accessibility settings.

Emergency SOS

Turn on or off the option to hold the side button to call emergency services, and add and change emergency contacts.

Schooltime

Set up a Schooltime schedule. See Get started with Schooltime.

Screen Time

Manage parental controls, get insights about your family member’s screen time, and set limits.

Activity

Manage a fitness experience made for younger users.

App Store

Allow automatic downloads and updates.

Contacts

Choose trusted contacts.

Handwashing

Manage restrictions, and turn the handwashing timer on or off.

Health

Add or edit health details and Medical ID, view the health data (with the proper permissions and settings) of the person who uses the managed Apple Watch, request to share health data, and choose to stop receiving health data.

Heart

View the heart data (with the proper permissions and settings) of the person who uses the managed Apple Watch, including heart rate, heart rate variability, resting heart rate, and walking heart rate average.

Messages

Choose dictation options, and edit smart replies.

Noise

Turn Environmental Sound Measurements on or off, and set the noise threshold.

Photos

Select a photo album from the iPhone used to manage the watch, and choose the number of photos Apple Watch can display.

Wallet & Apple Pay

Set up Apple Cash.

Workout

Choose a workout view.

Set up Screen Time

Use Screen Time to configure controls for a family member’s Apple Watch. With Screen Time you can schedule time away from the screen, and limit both contacts and the apps your family member can use to communicate with those contacts. You can also impose limits on iTunes Store and app purchases, explicit content, and location information.

To set up Screen Time, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Apple Watch app on the iPhone used to manage the watch.

  2. Tap All Watches, then tap the watch under Family Watches.

  3. Tap Done, tap Screen Time, tap Screen Time Settings, then tap Turn On Screen Time.

  4. Select settings for Downtime, App Limits, and Content & Privacy Restrictions.

iPhone showing the Downtime setup screen. Choose start and end time in the center of the screen. The Set Downtime and Not Now buttons are at the bottom of the screen.

On this screen you can also see a Screen Time activity report for your family member’s watch.

Alternatively, you can open the Settings app on your iPhone, tap Screen Time, tap your family member’s name under the Family heading, then choose a setting.

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