‘Does the Apple Watch work without an iPhone?’: Yes, but you might still need an internet connection — here’s what you need to know

It may be unusual to say, but yes, the Apple Watch does indeed work without an iPhone.

However, you’ll 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 what kind of Apple Watch you have, and whether there’s an available Wi-Fi connection.

If you don’t have either, there are still apps you can use – although you’ll be limited.

Check out the products mentioned in this article:

iPhone 11 (From $699.99 at Best Buy)

Apple Watch Series 5 (From $399 at Best Buy)

How to use your Apple Watch with a cellular connection

If you have an Apple Watch with cellular capabilities, and you’ve set up the cellular feature, you’ll have access to many of the same features available on your iPhone. This means you’ll be able to take telephone calls, use Siri, stream music, and more, on the Watch.

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), Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular), or Apple Watch Series 5 (GPS + Cellular) with the latest version of watchOS
  • The same carrier for both your Apple Watch and iPhone

If you are connected to a cellular network, you will see four green dots in the upper left-hand corner of your Apple Watch.

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If you are connected to a cellular network, you will see four green dots in the upper left-hand corner of your Apple Watch.
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Apple

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, and you don’t have a cellular connection, you’ll still be able to connect to Wi-Fi networks, should one be available and within range.

To connect to a Wi-Fi network, tap the Wi-Fi icon in the Apple Watch menu.

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To connect to a Wi-Fi network, tap the Wi-Fi icon in the Apple Watch menu.
source
Meira Gebel/Business Insider

However, features like SMS text messages and third-party push notifications may not be available.

These features are available on the Apple Watch with Wi-Fi, and without an iPhone nearby.

  • Siri
  • iMessage
  • 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 an Apple Watch without Wi-Fi, cellular, or an iPhone nearby

If you’re out on a hike without your iPhone, and without a connection to a Wi-Fi network, and without cellular data, there are still ways to use your Apple Watch.

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 Pay (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

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