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Thieves Can Reset Your Apple Watch Without a Password

Apple Watches can easily be factory reset by thieves without the owners' passcodes, staffers at the Apple-centric iDownloadBlog have discovered.

Their method, documented in a YouTube video posted earlier today (May 14), involves bringing up the power-off screen, choosing a factory-reset option and then placing the Apple Watch on a charger, which will wipe all user data and settings without the user's passcode.

Once factory reset, the watch is essentially like new and can be paired with any iPhone. Tom's Guide was able to quickly replicate the method.

Apple Watch owners are not required to set a passcode for their devices, unless they intend to use the watch for Apple Pay. If a passcode is set, the user must enter it every time the Apple Watch is removed from the user's wrist, and when it is rebooted.

Apple devices running iOS 7 or iOS 8 are protected by Activation Lock, which makes it nearly impossible to factory-reset an iPhone or iPad without the user's Apple ID password. The feature has been credited with a drop in the rate of iPhone theft in New York, San Francisco and London.

Intricate workarounds to get past an iPhone's lock screen are often discovered. However, they're often difficult to replicate, at least on the first try.

Apple did not immediately reply to a request for comment. We will update this story if the company comments.

Paul Wagenseil is a senior editor at Tom's Guide focused on security and gaming. Follow him at @snd_wagenseilFollow Tom's Guide at @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.

  • BreezeDM
    It is the same with Android Wear.
  • ubercake
    Apple knows better than to give people all of the good stuff at once.

    This is how they sell people on Apple Watch 2.0. They incorporate enhanced security in the next edition.
  • Jake Hall
  • 3ogdy
    Hell , don't mention it here! That's a good thing. Anyone buying CrApple should pay 5 times its price, because idiocy costs.
  • virtualban
    As long as personal data is secure, I don't mind a hard reset on devices. Even phones. Especially given how cheap the technology is getting (except apple products of course).
  • zodiacfml
    right.. as though a watch is easier to lose or steal than a smartphone.
  • gorfmaster1
    You can also reset an iPad without a passcode. why is this any different?