We love Android, but if we’re being honest with ourselves, Apple really has them beat at the smartwatch game. Though early Apple Watches were mixed, the third and fourth generation of Apple’s wearable have really come into their own, with a refined user interface and an edge-to-edge display that looks great on your wrist. Wear OS has some great features—and some watches we really love—but generally speaking, Apple’s watch has better battery life and more advanced features than what we’ve seen on Google’s side of things.
Despite not being advertised, you can pair an Apple Watch with an Android phone, but as you might expect, there are a ton of limitations. Apple states on their website that you can only sync with an Apple Watch with the iPhone, and that’s mostly true, since the pairing app only exists on iOS. Here’s the thing, though: if you have an LTE Apple Watch, you can fudge things a bit on your phone and your watch to make it work with Android. This isn’t something you should go out and buy an Apple Watch for, but if you’ve made the move to Android and you’re still looking to get your Apple Watch to work, you might want to give this a shot. Let’s dive in.
Pairing an Apple Watch with an Android Device
Essentially what we do in this scenario is pair the Apple Watch with your iPhone, set everything up so it’s working, turn the iPhone into airplane mode, remove the SIM, put the SIM into an Android phone and then find a strong LTE signal. While certainly not guaranteed to work, we go ours working in the office, after a fashion.
You require unlocked phones because you’re swapping SIM cards around. Unless you have two SIM cards for the same carrier, this will only work on unlocked phones.
Here’s what we did:
- Set your Apple Watch up with the iPhone.
- Make a test call or two to ensure everything is fine.
- Put the iPhone into airplane mode so it cannot reach out. Or turn it off.
- Turn off the Apple Watch.
- Swap the SIM from the iPhone to your Android phone and boot it.
- Turn on the Apple Watch.
- Wait for the Disconnected notification to disappear from the Apple Watch.
I tried this in the office with a new Apple Watch, an iPhone and my Samsung Galaxy S7. The Apple Watch initially took quite a while to connect and the signal was a little fuzzy. However, a quick walk outside to a stronger signal had the watch connecting faster and had a much better call quality.
I could ask Siri to call contacts on my phone as long as I used the name saved on the SIM, not on the phone. Call quality was good with a strong signal. I couldn’t get Siri to do much else aside from send a message and check the weather. Neither could I get Siri to send a message.
Limitations and Setbacks
Once connected, you should be able to make and receive calls and use Siri to perform some basic functions. The two devices are not directly communicating as far as I can tell. They are instead using the network to communicate which is why only the very basic functions are possible with this method.
You will not be able to use any of the more advanced functions of the Apple Watch. You will obviously have no access to the Smart Watch app on your Android phone and will only really be able to make and receive calls and ask Siri some basic questions. Voice commands can be used to make calls as long as you use the name the contacts are saved as on your SIM and not your Android phone. The other limitation will be on battery life. The Apple Watch doesn’t have an amazing battery to begin with but by using LTE constantly, that battery isn’t going to last very long at all.
I am guessing that aside from trying it because you can, the only time you would ever want to use this hack is if something happened to your iPhone and you really wanted to continue using your Apple Watch. Otherwise, it is largely pointless. You cannot use most of the smart functions on the watch and Android has a lot of smart watches that work within its own ecosystem. Many are smarter and much cheaper than the Apple Watch.
However, we have proved that you can pair an Apple Watch with an Android phone and get it working after a fashion. Do you see any use for this? Want to try it? Tried it and got it working? Tell us about your experiences below!