Does the Apple Watch Work Without an iPhone?

Do you need an iPhone to get your Apple Watch to perform all of its basic functions? Well, you will definitely want an iPhone to pair with your Apple Watch. 

But you might not necessarily be able to carry your iPhone around on you all the time. 

When you are at work, it might be hard to carry your iPhone around with you between locations.

There will undoubtedly come a time when you need to use your Apple Watch without your iPhone present. 

But is that something you can actually do? Just how limited are the Apple Watch’s functions when you do not have a Bluetooth connection, WIFI, or data plan to use?

Does Apple Watch Work Without iPhone?

You cannot set your Apple Watch up without your iPhone. However, once your watch is set up, you can use it offline without your iPhone handy. Your functions will, of course, be limited.

The Apple Watch can do some things when you do not have your iPhone nearby. 

Since this watch was introduced onto the market in 2015, it has proven to be a versatile piece of technology that performs a lot of functions… when paired up with your iPhone and within Bluetooth range.

Features like GPS and LTE have been added since its inception, so there are plenty of connectivity options available to you.

Now, you do have to have an iPhone in order to set up your Apple Watch

This is a non-negotiable, a real must-have. 

Otherwise, there is absolutely no point in you buying an Apple Watch to begin with. 

Assuming that you have an iPhone and have already set your Apple Watch up with it, there are enough features available for use offline to make the watch-wearing experience enjoyable enough. 

Allow me to explain.

Why do I need my iPhone to set up my Apple Watch?

Your iPhone is necessary for setting up the Apple Watch. 

Your iPhone essentially does all of the heavy lifting while the Apple Watch functions like a non-dominant arm.

You have it available, and it is functional, but it isn’t your primary source. 

Without an iPhone available, you are not going to get very far with this device. 

The Apple Watch is a companion piece to the iPhone, and that is basically how Apple sells it.

Which features work when the Apple Watch is offline?

So, you need an iPhone to set up your Apple Watch, but you don’t need it to operate the Apple Watch after that. 

Even without the iPhone around, your Apple Watch can still track your biometrics and activity levels, making it ideal for taking out on a jog.

It is also possible to listen to music that you have downloaded onto your device, although you will not be able to stream music without a connection. 

You can store a fair number of tracks on the watch itself, and you will need to invest in a good set of Bluetooth headphones since there is no headphone jack.

If you have an LTE – which can come on the Apple Watch Series 3 and after – model, then you can make and receive phone calls when you do not have your iPhone nearby. 

Of course, this means you will need to have a cellular data plan active.

You can use Maps without your iPhone nearby, but again, you will need to have the LTE model with a data plan

With Apple Pay, though, you do not need to have a connection to use this feature. 

All you have to do to get a payment to automatically process is double-press the side button and hold the Watch over the contactless sensor.

Does the Apple Watch Work Without an iPhone 1 Does the Apple Watch Work Without an iPhone?

Which features won’t work when the Apple Watch is offline?

Without a connection, you cannot make or receive phone calls or texts.

You also will not be able to stream music from apps like Apple Music or Spotify. 

You won’t be able to stream podcasts either. 

All of those features require that you have some sort of connection.

How far is the Bluetooth connection range from an iPhone to the Apple Watch?

The average Bluetooth range is 33 feet. 

Of course, this can be limited by interferences such as wireless networks. 

However, most people find that they can put their iPhone in the next room and walk about 20-30 feet with a Bluetooth connection still holding strong between their devices. 

You can invest in a Bluetooth range extender for your home or office if you need to cover more than 30 feet of space.

Is it worth it to get a cellular data plan?

If you plan on leaving your iPhone at home a lot while you go out with your Apple Watch strapped to your wrist, then it might not hurt to sink an extra $5-15 per month into a data plan through your mobile service provider.

Providers have different rates, but most cap their cost off at $10, which a lot of Apple Watch owners find they can justify.

Can I use my Apple Watch with an Android phone?

Thinking about using an Apple Watch with your Android phone? Don’t. 

It won’t work. You can’t even use the Apple Watch with your iPad or Mac, so Apple definitely does not want you using it with a non-Apple device. 

You will definitely have to own an iPhone, as that is how you will need to set up the Apple Watch. 

As I already said, the watch is basically an extension of your iPhone. 

It needs to be treated as such and not as a solo device that you can use with other devices not made by Apple.

Closing Thoughts

The Apple Watch is a fantastic piece of technology that, when paired with your iPhone, works as basically a mini-iPhone that you can strap onto your wrist. 

You will lose Bluetooth connectivity if you stray over 33 feet from your iPhone, but that is a fairly broad range (that can be improved by a Bluetooth range extender, of course). 

You can get the watch to perform quite a few native functions offline, but for the most part, you maximize your watch’s utility when you have it paired with your iPhone and are within range of that phone.

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