Before you go and buy an Apple Watch, you need to plan ahead for how you want to connect.
Are you going to stick with the GPS + WIFI only model? Or are you going to spend more money on the GPS + cellular version?
If so, then there are some things you will need to know and consider before you make this purchase.
One of the most important things to bear in mind is that you will need to have your Apple Watch on the same mobile service plan as your paired iPhone.
Therefore, if you have Verizon on your iPhone, you will also have to add your Apple Watch to this plan in order for cellular to be able to work.
That’s just the nature of the beast.
But will the Apple Watch work with any service provider? Unfortunately, that answer is “No.” Apple only has a select list of carriers for the Apple Watch.
Luckily, those of us living in the United States have more choices than those living in, say, Iceland, where the only option is Nova.
Also, some service providers support Family Setup while others don’t, so that is something else that you will want to bear in mind if you intend on doing the Family Setup plan on your Apple Watch.
You will have to think carefully before you make this expensive commitment.
If you are on Straight Talk, you are probably hoping to keep your account and to be able to add your Apple Watch to it.
But will you be able to do so? Is Straight Talk a compatible carrier for the Apple Watch? Let’s talk about Straight Talk.
Can You Use the Apple Watch with Straight Talk?
If Straight Talk is your mobile service provider, then you’re going to have to think about switching service providers in order to get your Apple Watch on a cellular plan. Apple Watch is not compatible with Straight Talk’s service plans, so you will not be able to use it with your Apple Watch.
And, yes, it has to be on the same plan as your paired iPhone. So you will need to make the switch in order to use cellular on your Apple Watch.
Can you use your Apple Watch GPS + cellular without the cellular activated?
Should you even consider adding the Apple Watch to your monthly cellular plan?
Which carriers allow you to add the Apple Watch to your account?
And why isn’t Straight Talk one of those carriers? Read on to learn more about which carriers let you add the Apple Watch to your plan and why Straight Talk isn’t one of them.
Why isn’t Straight Talk a carrier for the Apple Watch?
If you have Straight Talk as your carrier, you will have to pair the iPhone up and carry it with you at all times so you can use its Bluetooth connection.
You won’t be able to use cellular on it as Straight Talk isn’t a carrier.
Apple only partners with a select list of carriers within the United States, and Straight Talk isn’t one of them.
The carriers they partner with are, for the most part, considered to be major carriers, such as Verizon, Spectrum, and AT&T.
Smaller carriers and subsidiaries (Straight Talk is a subsidiary of TracFone Wireless) have not yet partnered with Apple to work as carriers for the Apple Watch.
It is hard to say why this is, but I suspect that this would be a rather pricy partnership.
It certainly feels exclusive.
Which carriers partner with Apple to support a cellular plan for the Apple Watch?
There are a few carriers within the US that allow you to add the Apple Watch to your cellular plan – many of which support the Family Setup plan.
These carriers are:
- AT&T (Supports Family Setup)
- Carolina West Wireless
- C Spire (Supports Family Setup)
- Sprint, now part of T-Mobile (Supports Family Setup)
- T-Mobile USA (Supports Family Setup)
- US Cellular (Supports Family Setup)
- Verizon Wireless (Supports Family Setup)
- Xfinity Mobile
How to Use the Apple Watch Without a Cellular Plan
Any Apple Watch you buy – whether it is the GPS + WIFI only or the GPS + cellular – lets you connect when you pair up your iPhone.
When you have your iPhone within range, Bluetooth will be the default connection type.
You can also switch over to WIFI if there is a connection available.
Bluetooth is, as I said, the default connection method since, well, it is the easiest.
It is the one that will drain your battery the slowest, and you only need to have your iPhone within the Bluetooth range (which is probably going to be somewhere around 33 feet).
You can use Bluetooth to pair all of your Bluetooth-capable devices to the Apple Watch, such as your headphones or speakers.
To pair your Bluetooth accessory:
- Put your Bluetooth accessory into pairing mode by following the instructions that came with it.
- Next, go into your Apple Watch, then tap Settings > Bluetooth. This prompts your Apple Watch to search for all nearby Bluetooth accessories.
- Select your Bluetooth accessory.
- You might be prompted to enter your passcode to finish pairing.
Whenever you want to un-pair, you can:
- Tap Settings > Bluetooth from your Apple Watch.
- Tap on the icon next to your accessory.
- Tap on Forget Device.
Easy, right? That’s why Bluetooth is the default connection mode.
That being said, WIFI is also pretty easy to use – as long as you have a solid connection open to you.
If you’re at home where your WIFI should be relatively strong, this won’t be a problem.
It’s just a little bit more difficult to use while you are out and about – again, why Bluetooth is the default.
Connecting your Apple Watch to a WIFI network is quick and efficient enough.
All you have to do is:
- On your Apple Watch, open up the Settings app.
- Tap on Wi-Fi and let the watch automatically searches for networks.
- Tap on the name of the network that you wish to join. (Of course, it should either be a public network or a private one to which you have the password.)
- You might be asked to enter the password using Scribble or the Apple Watch keyboard.
- Tap on Join.
Is it worth it to buy a cellular plan for the Apple Watch?
I’ll be brutally honest. Unless you can easily justify spending at least $120 per year just to have cellular on your Apple Watch, stick to using Bluetooth and WIFI.
Many Apple Watch owners do since it is the more frugal and practical route.
Unless you know you will be using your watch without your iPhone nearby, a monthly plan for the watch will probably not be all that useful.
And, if you’re using Straight Talk for your iPhone and don’t want to switch to a different carrier, then you should consider getting the standard GPS + WIFI only version of the Apple Watch and saving yourself a few hundred bucks.
Apple Watch owners come from all different cellular carriers.
Unfortunately, only a handful of carriers offer cellular plans for the watch.
If you’re on Straight Talk, you will either need to switch carriers or stick with just using Bluetooth and WIFI to connect.
It is easy enough and an altogether more cost-effective measure.