Can You Use an Apple Watch Without an iPhone

When it comes to smartwatches, Apple pretty much dominates the market. Okay, there are other options, and Android-based smartwatches have made big headway over the past two years. But the Apple Watch is still the sleekest, most powerful and wearable model out there.

This begs the question – can you use the Apple Watch if your preferences lie outside Apple’s ecosystem? The quick answer is yes, Apple Watches are self-sufficient. However, you may encounter certain limitations. Here are the things you need to know.

Take Advantage of the Internet Connection

All Apple Watches are Wi-Fi-enabled. As long as you remain connected, there won’t be any problem. And if you have a model with a cellular connection, the watch will allow you to stream music, utilize Siri, and receive calls on the go.

Tip: Refrain for using the cellular connection on a daily basis as it might drain the watch’s battery pretty fast.

With a Wi-Fi connection, you can use any Wi-Fi-supported app, receive and make calls, stream audio, and take advantage of the Walkie-Talkie app. Plus, you get to tap into your smart home using the proprietary Home app.


Connecting the Watch to Wi-Fi

First, you need to make sure your watch is running watchOS 5 or later. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to update it. Then, hit the gear icon on the watch to access Settings and select Wi-Fi. The list of available connections should populate as soon as you tap on the option.

Tap on the network you’d like to use and provide the password if prompted. There’s no keyboard on the Apple Watch and the device utilizes Scribble for typing. You basically write letters with your finger and the software translates them to fonts. Hit “Join” once you’re done and that’s it.

Important Notes

Apple Watch only works with 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi networks and won’t join public hotspots that require subscription or log-in. Make sure the Wi-Fi button on the watch is toggled on – it’s green when Wi-Fi is enabled.

What If There’s No Internet?

Being a smartwatch, the Apple Watch retains a lot of its basic functions when the unit goes offline. You have access to all downloaded music and podcasts and you can preview synced photos.

apple watch

Of course, you get accurate time, stopwatch, alarms, as well as other timers. Activity and Workout apps should continue to monitor your vitals, but for accurate routes, you might need the iPhone.

On the other hand, Apple Pay doesn’t require an internet connection and you can make purchases while your watch is offline.

Things to Consider

From the Series 2 onwards, Apple Watches come with an integrated GPS for more accurate speed and distance readings. From the Series 3 onwards, the watches have a barometric altimeter and support for cellular networks. So there’s no need for an iPhone to get accurate activity/workout information if you own one of the newer models.

Does Apple Watch Work with Android Smartphones?

Right off the bat, the answer is no – nor is Apple Watch likely to provide support for Android devices. You might think that this is one of the ways the company tries to urge you to get an iPhone, and that’s true. However, there’s more to it than meets the eye.

Apple’s ecosystem has been closely woven together for a reason. First, the Bluetooth protocols are Apple-specific. This is one of the reasons it’s hard, nigh impossible for Apple devices to communicate pair with gadgets outside the ecosystem.

Nevertheless, communication within the family, so to speak, is seamless and all changes sync across the board. Then there’s the question of user experience and Apple sets some limits within the family as well.

Apple Watch + iPad = Not Possible

There are tutorials that tell you it’s possible to connect an iPad to Apple Watch, but most of them miss the point. If you’re using the same network, app, and log-in credentials the changes sync on all devices.

This may seem like the devices are connected, but the reality is they’re just using the same Wi-Fi and backend Cloud services that pick up on in-app changes. The reason why Apple hasn’t released support for iPad is user experience.

If this doesn’t seem logical, think of it like this – how much screen real-estate do you get with an iPad, compared to the iPhone? In addition, your iPad might not always be with you, whereas your iPhone is usually close by.

That being said, there are no technical reasons why there’s no Apple Watch support for iPads. And one of the future iterations of the OS might offer support, which would make the watch more independent.

Note: The conclusions in this section are based on years of experience using Apple devices and assumptions about Apple’s approach to product design and strategy.

can you use apple watch without an iphone

Who’s Dick Tracey?

To reiterate, yes you can use Apple Watch without an iPhone. But the real question is can you make the most out of it? In this case, the answer is negative, because the two devices are a match made in heaven by design.

What Apple Watch Series do you own? Would you consider buying an iPhone on the account of Apple Watch? Let us know in the comments section below.

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