How to set the time on an Apple Watch manually, and even make it different from the time on your iPhone

  • Your Apple Watch sets the time automatically based on your iPhone’s time settings.
  • If you want to set the time on your Apple Watch manually, you can use the Watch’s Settings app to make it run up to 59 minutes ahead of the correct time.
  • You can also change the time zone settings on your iPhone to make your Watch display any time that you want.
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Ordinarily, setting the time on your Apple Watch is something you never need to worry about. 

Your Watch automatically takes the time from your iPhone, and thus never needs to be adjusted — it’s based on your current time zone, never runs fast or slow, and automatically adjusts for Daylight Saving Time. 

Even so, it’s possible to set the time on your Apple Watch manually if you need to. There are two ways to do so. 

First, if you want to change the time on both your iPhone and Watch at the same time, you can manually set the time zone settings on your iPhone. To do that, follow the instructions in the article, “How to manually change the time and date on your iPhone, or set it to update automatically based on your location.” 

Second, if you only want to change the time on your Apple Watch, you can adjust it from the Settings app on your watch.

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Check out the products mentioned in this article:

Apple Watch Series 5 (From $399 at Best Buy)

iPhone 11 (From $699.99 at Best Buy)

How to set the time on an Apple Watch manually

1. Start the Settings app on your Apple Watch. To do that, press the Digital Crown and tap the app icon that’s shaped like a gear. 

Start the Settings app on your Apple Watch to adjust the time.
Dave Johnson/Business Insider

2. Scroll down and tap “Clock.”

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The time adjustment option is in the Clock settings.
Dave Johnson/Business Insider

3. On the Clock page, tap “+0 min.” 

The watch displays how many minutes it’s manually set to run ahead of the correct time.
Dave Johnson/Business Insider

4. Spin the Digital Crown to choose how many minutes ahead you want the clock to display the time, and then tap “Set.” You can set the watch to display a time that’s up to 59 minutes ahead of your iPhone’s correct local time. You can’t change the hour like this, however.

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Use the Digital Crown to adjust the time and then tap “Set.”
Dave Johnson/Business Insider

5. Once you’ve set the time how you like, just exit the Settings app.

Related coverage from How To Do Everything: Tech: 

  • How to change the language on an Apple Watch, and make it differ from the language on your paired iPhone

  • How to watch videos on your Apple Watch, as long as the video is sent through the Messages app

  • ‘Why does my Apple Watch die so fast?’: How to improve the battery life on your Apple Watch in 7 ways

  • How to add music and other audio to your Apple Watch and listen to it from the watch

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