Can I Use an Apple Watch Without an iPhone?

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Closeup of the Apple Watch Series 7 Nike edition.
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Apple sells the world’s most popular smartwatch, but it’s not a standalone product. If you don’t have an iPhone, you might be wondering what you can do with an Apple Watch or if you can use one at all.

You’ll Need an iPhone to Start Using the Apple Watch

It’s not possible to set up an Apple Watch without using an iPhone. The Watch must be paired with an iPhone to link an Apple ID. You cannot use an iPad to complete this procedure; it must be an iPhone 6s or later running at least iOS 15.

You can’t use an Android device to set up an Apple Watch. The Watch is designed to be a companion device to an iPhone for much of its functionality. This is particularly true of the Wi-Fi model, though Apple also sells an Apple Watch with cellular connectivity that operates more like a standalone device.

Once you’ve set up your Apple Watch with cellular you can do many of the things you’d normally rely on an iPhone for, like receive text messages, take phone calls, and access functions that depend on the internet. Unfortunately, this isn’t advisable due to the power drain placed on your Watch when using cellular data.

You’re unlikely to receive all-day battery life if using your cellular Apple Watch away from your iPhone for prolonged periods. Wi-Fi models depend on your iPhone so you miss out on a lot of functionality when your paired iPhone is out of range. The exception here is when you’re in the presence of a Wi-Fi network that you’ve connected to before (when your iPhone was present).

Things You Can Do Without an iPhone

Some functions don’t depend on an iPhone, particularly related to health and exercise. While wearing your Apple Watch, your steps, and active calories will be counted which means you can work on filling your Move, Exercise, and Stand rings with or without your iPhone.

Your Watch will continue to track and record your heartbeat, and you can take your heart rate with the Heart app or perform echocardiograms with the ECG app. You can use your Watch’s alarm and timer, or play music that has been stored on your Watch (with paired headphones). If you sleep in your Watch your wearable will continue to monitor sleep quality.

Person's hand checking heart rate on an Apple Watch.
DenPhotos/Shutterstock.com

You can also pay for items with Apple Pay or use cards stored in your Apple Wallet that are already available on your Watch. Apps like Voice Memos, Photos, Calendar, and Noise will continue to work as expected.

If you have a cellular model then the potentially life-saving fall detection feature will work (assuming you have cellular reception and battery life), but Wi-Fi models won’t be able to contact emergency services without an iPhone nearby.

Don’t Buy an Apple Watch Unless You Have an iPhone

If you don’t own an iPhone, the Apple Watch probably isn’t for you. Even if you use another household member’s iPhone to set the device up, this still isn’t ideal since the Watch is designed to work with your own personal Apple ID and device. You’ll want to save your own health data to your own account, for example.

Instead, take a look at the alternative smartwatches available to you. If you have an Android device, other options will provide a better experience than a solitary Apple Watch.





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