Can I use an Apple Watch without an iPhone?

Can I use an Apple Watch without an iPhone?

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Apple sells the most popular smartwatch in the world, 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.

You’ll need an iPhone to start using the Apple Watch

It is 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 perform this procedure; it must be an iPhone 6s or later running at least iOS 15.

You cannot 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 especially true of the Wi-Fi model, although Apple also sells an Apple Watch with cellular connectivity that works more like a standalone device.

Once you’ve set up your Apple Watch with cellular, you can do many things you’d normally rely on an iPhone to do, like receive text messages, take phone calls, and access functions that rely on the Internet. Unfortunately, this is not advised due to your watch’s power consumption when using cellular data.

You’re unlikely to get all-day battery life if you use your cellular Apple Watch away from your iPhone for extended periods of time. Wi-Fi models depend on your iPhone, so you miss many features when your paired iPhone is out of range. The exception here is when you are in the presence of a Wi-Fi network that you have connected to before (when your iPhone was present).

Things you can do without an iPhone

Some features don’t depend on an iPhone, including health and exercise. When you wear your Apple Watch, your steps and active calories will be counted, meaning you can work on filling up 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 listen to music that’s been stored on your watch (with paired headphones). If you sleep in your watch, your wearable device will continue to monitor sleep quality.

A person's hand checking heart rate on an Apple Watch.
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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, the life-threatening 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 a iPhone nearby.

Don’t buy Apple Watch if you don’t have an iPhone

If you don’t have an iPhone, the Apple Watch probably isn’t for you. Even if you use another household member’s iPhone to set up the device, it’s still not ideal because the watch is designed to work with your own 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 standalone Apple Watch.

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