Apple today published a new support document that states that iOS 15.4 and watchOS 8.5 allow you to restore your Apple Watch with a nearby iPhone.

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The support document states that if an Apple Watch running watchOS 8.5 or later displays an animation showing the proximity of an Apple Watch to an iPhone, customers can follow the steps below to begin the restore process:

1. Make sure your iPhone is nearby. The iPhone needs iOS 15.4 or later, it must be connected to a Wi-Fi network with Bluetooth turned on, and it must be unlocked.
2. Put your Apple Watch on its charger.
3. Double-click the side button (the button under the digital round crown) on your Apple Watch.
4. Follow the steps that appear on the iPhone.

If the steps fail to work, Apple advises customers to check their Wi-Fi connection. Specifically, Apple says it is trying to use the 2.4GHz network instead of 5GHz, and avoiding 802.1X networks or restricted Wi-Fi networks, such as those in hotel rooms.

In an internal memo to Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers, obtained by Mac rumorsHowever, Apple said the feature allows customers and technicians to restore watchOS on some Apple Watch models without having to mail the device to an Apple repair center. The memo did not specify which Apple Watch models support this feature.

An Apple Support document mentioned that customers may see a red exclamation mark on their Apple Watch instead. If this happens, Apple says to double-press the side button and then follow the steps above. If the Apple Watch continues to display a red exclamation mark, customers are advised to contact Apple Support to set up a mail-in repair.

iOS 15.4 and watchOS 8.5 launched today along with iPadOS 15.4, macOS 12.3, tvOS 15.4, and HomePod version 15.4.

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