If you’re one of the lucky folks that already have an Apple Watch strapped to your wrist, there’s one aspect of the device that you should be aware of.
You can set up an Apple Watch with a passcode to prevent unauthorized users from accessing your data on the watch. However, you can erase and reset the Apple Watch without needing that passcode. This is done by holding down the side button on the Watch for a few seconds until the Power Off, Power Reserve, and Lock Device buttons come up. You then Force Touch the Watch and you’ll be presented with the screen you see above, allowing you to “Erase all content and settings.”
This feature makes it easy for someone to take your Apple Watch, erase it, and then pair it with their own iPhone. It’s more difficult for thieves take an iPhone and activate it themselves thanks to a feature called Activation Lock that requires you to enter your Apple ID and password to deactivate Find My iPhone.
It’s worth noting that thieves will still need to enter your passcode to access the data on your Apple Watch. There is a setting you can enable to delete your Apple Watch data after 10 failed passcode attempts, though, which you can enable by going into the Apple Watch app for iPhone, entering the My Watch tab, then scrolling down to Privacy and enabling “Erase Data.”
The ability to erase the Apple Watch without using the passcode is something that Apple is aware of, as the company outlines the steps in a support page on its website. As I said before, though, this “feature” makes it super easy for a thief to take an Apple Watch and either pair it with their own iPhone or sell it to someone else, especially since there’s no “Find my Apple Watch” tracking feature available. Apple hasn’t made any announcements regarding stronger security for the Apple Watch, but here’s to hoping that that feature is in the works, especially with WWDC around the corner and the Watch rolling out to more consumers every day.