Owners of the new iPhone 13 models are complaining that the ‘unlock with Apple Watch’ feature is not working on their mobiles. On enabling the feature, an error alert appears on the screen which read that “unable to communicate with Apple Watch”. The latest iPhone 13 models run on iOS 15 which is not experiencing a smooth rollout. [Update: Apple’s response to the issue and its fix.]
Since the iOS 15 release on September 20, several issues have been highlighted. Owners of AirPods Pro, paired with an iPhone on iOS 15, can not use Siri to control the Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency features, iPhone and iPad on the latest OS version are seeing a storage error in spite of having plenty of free space available. The company also discovered that after backing up data on iPhone 13 models, the settings of widgets were reverted to default settings. Similarly, affecting users are reporting that the issue arose after data backup to set the new iPhone.
No workaround for fixing iPhone 13’s ‘unlock with Apple Watch’ issue
On Reddit, several iPhone 13 owners have reported the same issue and expressed frustration that nothing is working to resolve it like restarting, changing passwords, resetting the Apple Watch, and others. @Monzilla88 wrote:
So I have an Apple Watch SE and just got my iPhone 13 Pro today, both of which are fully up to date with the newest iOS updates. Whenever I try to enable unlock with Apple Watch on my phone I get an error saying “Unable to communicate with Apple Watch”.
I’ve tried unpairing/repairing, hard resetting both watch and phone, turning off/on passcode and I’m at a total loss?! Anyone else experience this and know how to fix it? My last resort is unpairing and setting up as new watch instead of backing up from the cloud but I really don’t wanna have to do that :(
‘Unlock with Apple Watch‘ feature was released in 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic when iPhone users found it difficult to unlock their iPhones with FaceID while wearing a mask. As the COVID-19 threat is not over, the feature is still widely used to unlock an iPhone while wearing a mask. Maybe Apple will release iOS 15.1 update soon to resolve all the aforementioned bugs.
[Update] Apple says the issue iPhone 13 users are facing relating to the ‘Unlock with Apple Watch’ feature will be resolved in an upcoming update.
As per the company’s support document, affected users should disable the ‘Unlock with Apple Watch’ and unlock their iPhone 13 models via manually entering the passcode.
This issue will be fixed in an upcoming software update. Until the update is available, you can turn off Unlock with Apple Watch and use your passcode to unlock your iPhone 13.
To turn off Unlock with Apple Watch, go to Settings > Face ID & Passcode.