Set up Apple Watch for a family member

Apple Watch For Your Kids, formerly known as Family Setup, lets family members who don't have their own iPhone enjoy the features and benefits of an Apple Watch.

How it works

With Apple Watch For Your Kids, your family member who doesn't have their own iPhone can use their Apple Watch to do things like make phone calls, send messages, and share their location with you.

After you set up a watch for a family member, you can use your iPhone to manage some of the watch's capabilities.

Note that some Apple Watch features depend on having a companion iPhone, and aren't available on an Apple Watch that you pair using Apple Watch For Your Kids.

Apple Watch For Your Kids is not available in Italy, Korea, and more. Learn what's available in your country or region.

What you need

* A cellular plan isn't required to set up an Apple Watch for a family member, but is necessary for some features.

Put on the watch and turn it on

If the Apple Watch isn't new, erase it first.

Then put on the watch, or have your family member put it on. Press and hold the side button until you see the Apple logo.

Apple Watch turning on, showing location of the side button

Hold the watch near your iPhone

Hold the Apple Watch close to your iPhone. Wait until "Use your iPhone to set up this Apple Watch" appears on your iPhone, then tap Continue. If you don't see this message, open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, tap All Watches, then tap Add Watch.

Tap Set Up for a Family Member, then tap Continue on the next screen.

Apple Watch and iPhone showing the pairing screens on each device

Pair the watch with your iPhone

Hold your iPhone over the animation that appears on the watch. Center the watch face in the viewfinder on your iPhone, then wait for a message to say that your Apple Watch is paired. If you can't use the camera, tap Pair Apple Watch Manually, then follow the steps that appear.

Then tap Set Up Apple Watch.

Apple Watch and iPhone showing the pairing animation on each device

Set up a passcode

Tap Agree on the Terms and Conditions screen, then choose a text size for the Apple Watch.

Next, set a passcode to keep the watch secure.

iPhone showing the Apple Watch passcode setup screen

Pick a family member

Choose the family member who will use the Apple Watch. If they don't appear, tap Add Family Member.

Enter the family member's Apple ID password, then tap Next.

iPhone showing the screen on which a user chooses a family member who will use the watch

Turn on Ask to Buy

Turn on Ask to Buy if you want to give approval for any downloads or purchases made on the Apple Watch.

iPhone showing the screen on which a user turns on the Ask to Buy feature

Set up cellular and Wi-Fi

If your iPhone cellular provider supports Apple Watch For Your Kids, you can add the watch to your plan during this step.

If your carrier doesn't support Apple Watch For Your Kids, or you'd like to use a different carrier, select Not Now.* You can choose an alternative carrier from this list of supported carriers and contact them directly to set up your cellular plan.

Next, choose whether to share your current Wi-Fi network with the Apple Watch.

* Some corporate cellular plans don't support Apple Watch For Your Kids.

iPhone showing the Apple Watch cellular setup screen

Turn on other features

In the screens that follow, choose whether to turn on and set up additional Apple Watch features. These include Location Services for the Find My app, Siri, Apple Cash Family, Messages in iCloud, Health Data, Emergency Contacts, Medical ID, Activity, Time in Daylight, Workout Route Tracking, and Photos.

iPhone showing the Apple Watch daily move goal setup screen

Set up shared contacts and Schooltime

Now you're asked to set up the contacts that will be available on the Apple Watch. To allow this, you need to have Contacts in iCloud enabled. Go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud on your iPhone and make sure that Contacts is turned on.*

Then you can choose trusted people from your own Contacts app to share on the Apple Watch. You can manage these shared contacts later, and set up restrictions, in Screen Time on your iPhone.

Finally, set a Screen Time passcode for the watch, and turn on Schooltime. When you're finished, tap OK to begin using the Apple Watch.

* If you're in China mainland, you also need to make sure that the Contacts app on your iPhone can use wireless data. Open Contacts, then tap one of the options to allow data use.

iPhone showing the Apple Watch Schooltime setup screen

Manage a family member's Apple Watch after you set it up

You can use your iPhone to adjust settings and customize features.

  1. Open the Apple Watch app on the iPhone that you used to set up the watch.

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

  3. Choose a setting to adjust.

    iPhone showing the Settings screen for a managed Apple Watch

Availability of features and apps

Health and fitness features:

  • High and low heart rate notifications are available for users 13 and older.

  • Heart Rate Variability (HRV) is available for users 18 and older.

  • Fall Detection is available for users 18 and older.

  • Users under the age of 13 can use move minutes, rather than active calories, for their Move goal in the Activity app.

  • Users can also measure time in daylight. Parents can view the amount of time their children spend in daylight using the Health Sharing feature in the Health app.

Apple Pay features:

  • Apple Cash Family is available to users under the age of 18, allowing them to make purchases and send and receive money in Messages with Apple Pay (United States only).

  • Apple Pay using a credit or debit card in the Wallet app is not available with Apple Watch For Your Kids.

The following features and apps are not available: Medications, respiratory rate, irregular heart rhythm notifications, ECG, AFib History, Cycle Tracking, Sleep, Wrist Temperature, Blood Oxygen, Walking Steadiness, Audiobooks, Remote, News, Shortcuts, and the double tap gesture.

Next steps

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