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How to set up and pair your Apple Watch with your iPhone

Once you've gotten one, taken it home and unboxed it, here's how you set it up.

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The Apple Watch is a device that's designed to live by side by side with your iPhone. It's an iPhone accessory -- it develops a very close relationship. That's why the Apple Watch setup feels, in a lot of ways, like installing a peripheral or a software package on your computer. But in this case, you're "installing an accessory" for your iPhone. Once it pairs, it also installs all the apps you need.

To walk through my setup (which was actually a restore of the Apple Watch from a backup, but it's the same process), watch the video above.

It's a pretty easy process, but it is a bit time-consuming; be prepared to spend at least 20 minutes. I recommend having a cup of coffee or your favorite drink nearby. Also, make sure your iPhone's Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are turned on, as the Apple Watch needs Bluetooth to connect with your iPhone. And finally, be certain you've got an iPhone 5 or later: the Apple Watch doesn't work with any other phone.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Step 1: Attach the charger to the watch

The Apple Watch comes with a fairly full charge in the box, but to be safe, just plug in the included charger and snap the magnetic end onto the back of the Apple Watch .

Step 2: Turn on Apple Watch

You can press the side button for a second or two, and you'll see an Apple logo. Then you'll be asked to pick your language. Click one, and proceed.

Step 3: Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone

Your watch now has a message asking you to open the Apple Watch app that's been pre-installed on your iPhone for weeks now (assuming you've already updated to iOS 8.2 or later). Do so, and you can now begin the connection process.

The Apple Watch app pairs using your camera. Richard Peterson/CNET

Step 4: Aim the iPhone's camera at your Apple Watch screen

Just do what the app asks: try it, it should work, and automatically pair. When it succeeds, an animated cloud of dots becomes a decorative graphic to show that you've succeeded. If that fails, you can pair manually: click an "i" on your Apple Watch display and you'll see it list yourApple Watch 's device name. On the iPhone app, select your Apple Watch device name once it pops up. Then the watch issues a six-digit code you can enter into the Apple Watch iPhone app. It's a little like activating a cable app on the Apple TV.

Step 5: Agree to all terms and set up a passcode

When done, you'll be asked to accept terms and conditions, Siri, diagnostics, and approve your device via iCloud. These are not options -- they're mandatory. You're also asked to create a passcode. This can be as few as four digits long, or it can be longer. This protects you if the watch is taken off your wrist.

Step 6: Decide if you want the Apple Watch to be unlocked by your iPhone

It asks this question via a pop-up on the Apple Watch . Basically, it means that while your watch is on your wrist and paired you don't need to enter a passcode. Say "yes" (you can change your mind later).

What it looks like when the Apple Watch is syncing and preparing itself. Richard Peterson/CNET

Step 7: Wait for syncing

The Apple Watch goes through all your apps and loads the ones that are Apple Watch-ready (iPhone apps "contain" Apple Watch apps if they're Watch-optimized). A slowly filling progress circle around the Apple logo counts off your progress. This can take 10 minutes or more, so leave your iPhone nearby and plugged in, along with the watch, and go get yourself a drink.

Apps load up in the background: circles slowly fill in. Richard Peterson/CNET

Step 8: Enjoy!

Step 9: Repeat if needed for unpairing and re-installing

If you ever unpair the Apple Watch, it wipes the data and starts over as if it were a clean install. You'll then have to set up the Apple Watch again. Good news, though: the iPhone saves a local backup automatically which you can restore from. It saves settings, customized watch faces and more, but deletes your Apple Pay data for safety.

For more, follow Scott Stein at @jetscott.