'Does the Apple Watch work without an iPhone?': Yes, but its available features depend on your internet connection - here's what you need to know
- The Apple Watch does work without an iPhone, although certain prominent features of the Apple Watch may be unavailable.
- Without an iPhone, the ability to use your Apple Watch will depend on your access to Wi-Fi or cellular connection.
- Even if you don't have Wi-Fi, cellular, or your iPhone nearby, there are still ways you can use your Apple Watch.
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However, you will be sacrificing many of the watch's more prominent features if doing so.
Without an iPhone, the features available to you on your Apple Watch depend on the availability of cellular and Wi-Fi connection. If you don't have either, there are still apps you can use - although you will be limited.
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How to use your Apple Watch with a cellular connection
If you've set up the cellular feature on your Apple Watch, you will have many of the capabilities available on your iPhone, as long as it is nearby. This means you are able to take telephone calls, use Siri, stream music, and more on the watch.
If your iPhone is not nearby, however, your watch will only be able to perform the features if it's also on a Wi-Fi network.
Here's what you will need to use cellular on your Apple Watch.
- An iPhone 6 or higher with the most recent iOS update
- An Apple Watch Series 4 (GPS + Cellular) or the Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular) with the latest version of watchOS
- The same carrier for both Apple Watch and iPhone
To learn how to set up cellular on your Apple Watch with an iPhone, read our article, "How to use cellular data on a cellular-enabled Apple Watch, and check your data usage."
How to use your Apple Watch with a Wi-Fi connection
Even if you don't bring your iPhone along with you for, say, a run or a quick errand, you will still be able to connect to Wi-Fi networks, should one be available and within range.
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Though, features like SMS text messages and third-party push notifications may not be available.
- Making or receiving calls (if Wi-Fi calling is enabled on your Apple Watch)
- The Walkie-Talkie app
- Streaming music, podcasts, or the radio
- Any apps that support Wi-Fi
- Controlling your home through the Home app
To learn how to set up to a Wi-Fi network on your Apple Watch, read our article, "How to connect your Apple Watch to a Wi-Fi connection and unlock all of its features."
How to use Apple Watch without Wi-Fi, cellular, or an iPhone nearby
Many health features can be used offline, as can downloaded music and podcasts.
Here's what's available without Wi-Fi, cellular, or your iPhone.
- Listening to podcasts and music downloaded to your Apple Watch
- Viewing photos already synced to your Apple Watch
- Making purchases using Apple Watch (useful for when out on a run and want to stop for coffee or lunch)
- Setting timers, alarms, checking the time, and using the stopwatch
- Monitoring your health via the Workout and Activity apps (though if you'd like your routes to be GPS accurate, be sure to bring your iPhone)
- Monitoring your heart rate