Install independent watchOS app

I have created my first independent watchOS app with Xcode 11 which I can run in the simulator fine but how do I install it on my physical Apple Watch 4, running watchOS 6.01?


Connect your iPhone to your computer with the USB cable it came with. Xcode communicates with Apple Watch wirelessly via the iPhone. Xcode will download the watchOS device symbols from server and then after a few minutes your watch should be an available device in the Run Destination pop-up. (If you are using a Personal Team for signing you will need to trust it before the app will run on the device.)

I have an identical issue to the author and I can't really run still. I can see "Apple Watch via iPhone" as a destination but it doesn't run. Xcode reports:

The run destination Shibo's iPhone is not valid for Running the scheme 'lemonwatch WatchKit App'.

There was an error preparing Shibo's Apple Watch for development. Try reattaching the device to which Shibo's Apple Watch is paired. Xcode encountered an error

After I unpair my iPhone from Devices and Simulators window, reconnect it and run, Xcode sometimes would just run and reports "Running *** on Apple Watch" but soon reports:

Failed to use existing instance 0 for app with bundle identifier:

macOS Catalina 10.15(19A602) - MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Late 2013)

iOS 13.1.3(17A878) - iPhone 11 A2223

watchOS 6.0.1(17R604) - Apple Watch Series 5 44mm A2157

Xcode Version 11.1 (11A1027)

I have a similar issue where I have successfully install the app on my watch before, but there are other times when I compile it doesn't transfer the app to my watch. Xcode behaves so inconsistently. Has anyone figured out how to make sure it always gets intalled on your watch?

Xcode 11.5
iPhone SE iOS 13.4.1
Apple Watch 5 WatchOS 6.2.1
As of September 16, 2020

Launch Xcode, and open your project.
Connect your iPhone which is paired with your Apple Watch, to your Mac with a cable.
Select “Your Apple Watch via Your iPhone” in the active scheme, just like you do to build a WatchOS app paired with iPhone.
Build and run your app.
  • Xcode doesn’t show Apple Watch in the active scheme, but the same scheme as I used to build and run a WatchOS paired with iPhone did work to build and run my independent WatchOS app to my Apple Watch 5.

  • Xcode/Window/Devices and Simulators doesn’t show Apple Watch. So build and run your app on Apple Watch via WIFI doesn’t work. Connect your paired iPhone onto your Mac via cable.

One workaround I had the most luck with is to run the iOS target on the iPhone the watch is attached to, wait for it to install on the watch (check for progress in the Watch app) and then run it manually from the watch. There's no debugging this way though.

Does anybody have experience distributing a standalone watchOS app "ad hoc"?

I can create an archive from Xcode fine, but when I try to install it either through Xcode Devices or Apple Configurator, I can only see my iPhone and if I try to install to the iPhone it fails and says it's unable to install.

I can get the watchOS app to run on my watch from Xcode, but the provisioning profile expires in 1 week, and I'd like to use the app for longer than that.

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