Apple today released a new accompanying document indicating that iOS 15.4 and watchOS 8.5 allow restoring an Apple Watch with an iPhone nearby.

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

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

If the steps do not work, Apple advises customers to check their Wi-Fi connection. Specifically, Apple advises to try using a 2.4 GHz network instead of 5 GHz and to avoid Wi-Fi networks 802.1X or captives, such as those in hotel rooms.

In an internal memo to Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers, obtained by MacRumors, Apple said this feature allows customers and technicians to restore watchOS to certain Apple Watch models without the device having to be mailed to an Apple repair center. The memo does not specify which Apple Watch models support the feature.

Apple’s support document says customers might see a red exclamation mark on their Apple Watch instead. If this happens, Apple says to press the side button twice, then follow the steps outlined above. If the Apple Watch continues to display a red exclamation point, customers are advised to Contact Apple Support to set up a repair by mail.

iOS 15.4 and watchOS 8.5 were released today alongside iPadOS 15.4, macOS 12.3, tvOS 15.4, and HomePod software version 15.4.

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