‘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

apple watch iphone

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

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.  

Check out the products mentioned in this article:

iPhone Xs (From $999.99 at Best Buy)

Apple Watch Series 4 (From $399.99 at Best Buy)

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. 

apple watch iphone

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

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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. 

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

If you’re out on a hike or running long distance without your iPhone or connection to a Wi-Fi network, 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 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

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