Bluetooth is a magnificent development in the world of technology. If you wish to enjoy every feature that your shiny new Apple Watch has to offer, you will need to have Bluetooth and Wi-Fi enabled on the iPhone that you are pairing to your Apple Watch. You will need to open up the Control Center on your iPhone to make sure that both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are toggled on before you can pair your Apple Watch.
Here’s how Bluetooth and Wi-Fi work with your Apple Watch: they are able to provide connections for communication between your iPhone and the watch. You can remain connected through a cellular network if you have cellular service, and your watch will automatically – and intelligently – switch between these connection types in order to establish the most powerful connection possible.
Your Apple Watch will utilize Bluetooth when your iPhone is close by, as this conserves the most power. However, if Bluetooth is not available, your Apple Watch attempts to connect to Wi-Fi. Let’s say that a compatible Wi-Fi network is open and your iPhone isn’t within range. In this instance, your Apple Watch opts to use Wi-Fi. Of course, if Bluetooth and Wi-Fi aren’t available at all, the Apple Watch’s cellular models will try to connect using your cellular plan.
Since this can be a touch confusing for new Apple Watch owners, we will go over what happens when your iPhone is out of range and what you can do on your watch without a connection.
Do I need to keep Bluetooth on for Apple Watch?
You do not need to keep Bluetooth on for Apple Watch. However, it is strongly recommended that you leave it on so that your watch can use the most power-efficient connection available. Otherwise, it will try to connect via Wi-Fi or – if you have it – cellular.
Does Bluetooth need to be on all the time? How can you temporarily shut Bluetooth off on your Apple Watch? Will the watch still function without your iPhone close by? Read on, as I will walk you through all of these concerns that Apple Watch owners have about Bluetooth.
Does Apple Watch need Bluetooth all the time?
Apple Watch does not technically need Bluetooth to be on all of the time. But having Bluetooth enabled helps the Apple Watch find and use the most power-efficient connection available. If you want to connect your Apple Watch with a set of AirPods, then you will need to have Bluetooth enabled. Pairing them is actually quite simple. All you need to do is:
1. Open the Settings app located on your Apple Watch.
2. Tap on Bluetooth.
3. When the device appears, tap on it.
Alternatively, you can just tap on the AirPlay button, which is located on the play screens of the Music, Now Playing, Audiobooks, and Podcasts apps to open up the Bluetooth setting.
Does Bluetooth disconnect when Apple Watch is off?
Bluetooth isn’t going to automatically disconnect when you turn your Apple Watch off. As is the case with iPhones, it will still be toggled on the next time you power on your device. If you want to disconnect it, you will have to toggle Bluetooth off from the Settings app.
How do I temporarily turn off Bluetooth on my Apple Watch?
If you want Bluetooth off, you can take a few simple steps to disable it. You will be able to turn it on again whenever you feel like doing so.
Here’s what you need to do:
1. On the Apple Watch, go to Settings.
2. Tap on Bluetooth.
3. Slide the slider to turn Bluetooth Off.
Will my Apple Watch still work without my phone?
Your Apple Watch is not going to simply stop working because your iPhone is outside of the Bluetooth range. If you have cellular on your watch, you can still get notifications and messages even if your iPhone is turned off and placed far away from you.
Otherwise, you will need to be within Bluetooth range to get your messages and notifications. There are still plenty of things you will be able to do, which I will get to in a moment.
How does Wi-Fi work on an Apple Watch?
But first, let’s talk Wi-Fi. Connecting for the first time takes a few steps, but it is easy and convenient. Here’s how to do it:
1. Open up the Settings app from your Apple Watch.
2. Tap Wi-Fi and let your device take a moment to search for all available Wi-Fi connections.
3. Tap on the name of the network that you would like to join. (Note: On the Apple Watch Series 6 and 7, you can connect to either 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz [5G] Wi-Fi networks. On the Apple Watch Series 5 and earlier – as well as on the Apple Watch SE – you can only connect to 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi networks, as 5G was not compatible when these watches were made.)
5. If it prompts you to do so, enter your password using Scribble or the Apple Watch keyboard.
6. Tap Join.
If you ever want the watch to forget a Wi-Fi network, you can:
1. Open the Settings app from your Apple Watch.
2. Tap on Wi-Fi.
3. Tap on the name of the network to which you are currently connected.
3. Tap on Forget This Network.
You can always re-join the network at a later point if you wish to do so.
What can I do when my paired iPhone is out of range?
When your iPhone is out of range and Wi-Fi isn’t available, you can still do quite a few things on the Apple Watch. These things include:
– Using Apple Pay at participating retail stores to make purchases.
– Play music from a synced playlist and add music through the Apple Watch app on your iPhone and syncing Apple Watch (which you can do by putting it on the charger.)
– Use the timer, stopwatch, alarm, and clock.
– Use the Activity app to monitor your standing, moving, and exercise actions.
– Display photos from a synced album.
– Use the Workouts app to track your workouts.
If the phone is out of range but Wi-Fi is enabled, you can do a few more things. You can:
– Use iMessage to send and receive messages.
– Send and receive Digital Touch messages with other Apple Watch users.
– Access most third-party apps.
– Use Siri to do functions like check your calendar.
– Use Apple Maps to check your current location.
– Check all native apps on the Apple Watch.
The Apple Watch is truly a diverse, multi-functional little device that comes in handy (er, wrist-y) when you need to leave your iPhone someone else. They are ideal for those who like to track their exercise or those who don’t want to carry their iPhone around at work all the time.
Even without Bluetooth enabled, there is still a lot that you can do on your Apple Watch. Bluetooth just provides the most power-friendly connection.