Home Smartphones Can I Use an Apple Watch Without an iPhone. Apple Watch minimum iPhone

Can I Use an Apple Watch Without an iPhone. Apple Watch minimum iPhone

Can I Use an Apple Watch Without an iPhone?

    Tim Brookes

apple, watch, iphone, minimum


  • May 9, 2022, 8:00am EDT
  • Apple sells the world’s most popular smartwatch, 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 at all.

    You’ll Need an iPhone to Start Using the Apple Watch

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

    You can’t 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 particularly true of the Wi-Fi model, though Apple also sells an Apple Watch with cellular connectivity that operates more like a standalone device.

    Once you’ve set up your Apple Watch with cellular you can do many of the things you’d normally rely on an iPhone for, like receive text messages, take phone calls, and access functions that depend on the internet. Unfortunately, this isn’t advisable due to the power drain placed on your Watch when using cellular data.

    You’re unlikely to receive all-day battery life if using your cellular Apple Watch away from your iPhone for prolonged periods. Wi-Fi models depend on your iPhone so you miss out on a lot of functionality when your paired iPhone is out of range. The exception here is when you’re in the presence of a Wi-Fi network that you’ve connected to before (when your iPhone was present).

    Things You Can Do Without an iPhone

    Some functions don’t depend on an iPhone, particularly related to health and exercise. While wearing your Apple Watch, your steps, and active calories will be counted which means you can work on filling 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 play music that has been stored on your Watch (with paired headphones). If you sleep in your Watch your wearable will continue to monitor sleep quality.

    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 then the potentially life-saving 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 an iPhone nearby.

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    Don’t Buy an Apple Watch Unless You Have an iPhone

    If you don’t own an iPhone, the Apple Watch probably isn’t for you. Even if you use another household member’s iPhone to set the device up, this still isn’t ideal since the Watch is designed to work with your own personal 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 solitary Apple Watch.

    Here are some of the best features to try on your new Apple Watch

    If you just unwrapped a new Apple Watch this holiday season, there are a variety of tips and tricks that can help you get the most out of your new wearable. Read on for some guidance on our favorite Apple Watch features for health, activity, customization, and more.

    Setting up your Apple Watch activity rings

    For many people, the Apple Watch is first and foremost a fitness-focused wearable. The key to this is a trio of rings each represented by a different color: red for move, green for exercise, and blue for stand.

    By default, the green exercise ring closes when you log 30 minutes of intense activity, the blue stand or roll ring closes when you move around for at least one minute of 12 different hours, and the red move ring closes when you meet your personal goal for active calories burned in a day.

    Apple also includes the ability to customize your exercise and stand goals. Maybe you’re recovering from an injury and 12 stand hours paired with 30 minutes of exercise is too much for your body to handle. People have also been calling on Apple to integrate rest days into the Apple Watch rings system, and this feature at least gives users more control over their goals.

    apple, watch, iphone, minimum

    Here’s how to change your Apple Watch move, exercise, and stand goals:

    • On your Apple Watch, open the Activity app.
    • Scroll down to the bottom and look for the “Change Goals” button.
    • Use the or – buttons to adjust your goals, or use the Digital Crown.
    • Tap “OK” to confirm your changes.

    The exercise ring can be lowered or raised in intervals of five, down to a minimum of 10 minutes or a maximum of 60 minutes. The stand goal can be changed in single-hour intervals, down to a minimum of six hours. You can’t increase the stand goal beyond the default 12-hour mark.

    Customizing your watch face

    apple, watch, iphone, minimum

    The centerpiece of your Apple Watch is the watch face. On your watch face, you can add bits of information known as complications, including things such as weather, activity data, heart rate information, and much more. The easiest way to build an Apple Watch face is with the Apple Watch app on iPhone.

    You can find the entire library of watch faces in the “Face Gallery” tab of the app, and as you build them, you can add faces to your personal collection. Once you create multiple watch faces, you can swipe between them from your Apple Watch, making it easy to adjust on the fly for different scenarios.

    Apple Watch App Store

    You can find apps built specifically for the Apple Watch in the watchOS App Store. Simply press the digital crown on your Apple Watch and look for the App Store icon. Here, you’ll be able to easily find and install dedicated Apple Watch applications without using your iPhone at all.

    Sharing your activity

    apple, watch, iphone, minimum

    One of the ways I love to stay motivated with my Apple Watch is by sharing my activity data with friends and family. When you do this, you can see when your friends complete workouts, how much progress they’ve made towards their goals, and when they earn new awards.

    To share your Apple Watch activity data with others, follow these steps:

    • Open the Fitness app on your iPhone.
    • Tap the sharing icon in the bottom-right corner.
    • Tap the “” button in the top corner.
    • Start typing a name, then tap the name you’d like to add. If the other person has an Apple Watch the name will turn red.
    • Tap the Send button, then wait for your friend to accept your Activity request. Once accepted, you’ll receive a notification on your Apple Watch.

    Set up health monitoring features

    The Apple Watch is not only useful for deliberately tracking your fitness progress, but also for passively monitoring it in the background.

    Fall Detection

    apple, watch, iphone, minimum

    One such feature is called Fall Detection, and it uses the gyroscope and accelerometer to detect if you’ve fallen, and more importantly, if you’ve fallen and cannot get back up. By default, Fall Detection is disabled for users under the age of 65, but you can manually enable it with these steps:

    • Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
    • Tap Emergency SOS.
    • .Look for the Fall Detection toggle
    • Apple warns that more physically active users may trigger Fall Detection even when you haven’t fallen. This is due to high impact activity, and may appear as a fall.
    • Tap Confirm.

    In the Apple Watch app on iPhone, you can also enable a suite of features that will allow your Apple Watch to help you look after your heart. Simply open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone and look for the Heart category. In this section, you can enable the following features:

    • Install the ECG app for taking electrocardiograms from your Apple Watch (Series 4 and later).
    • Set up Cardio Fitness Levels and notifications, which are a strong indicator of your overall health.
    • Irregular Rhythm notifications for receiving a notification when Apple Watch identifies multiple heart rhythms that may be atrial fibrillation.
    • High Heart Rate notifications for receiving a notification when Apple Watch detects a heart rate that rises to a certain level while you appear inactive.
    • Low Heart Rate notifications for receiving notification when Apple Watch detects a heart rate that falls below 50 bpm for 10 minutes.

    Blood oxygen

    apple, watch, iphone, minimum

    If you’re using an Apple Watch Series 6, you also have support for taking blood oxygen readings with your device. Apple Watch can also take measurements in the background so you have data to regularly reflect on. Simply open the Watch app on your iPhone, look for the Blood Oxygen category, enable the settings as you desire.

    Rein in your notifications

    The Apple Watch makes it incredibly easy to stay on top of your notifications. Every time an app sends a push notification, you’ll get a tap on the wrist and hear a sound. For many people, however, this can actually be overwhelming and unnecessary.

    To manage notifications on your Apple Watch, open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone and choose the Notifications category. Here, you can see a list of applications and manage notifications as necessary. My recommendation is to limit notifications as much as possible on your Apple Watch, otherwise, you might become overwhelmed.

    Check out Apple Fitness

    Apple Fitness offers access to a library of hundreds of on-demand workouts across popular categories such as running, cycling, HIIT, rowing, yoga, and more.

    Apple Fitness features deep integration with Apple Watch, showing live data from your Apple Watch on the screen during your workout. Plus, if you recently got a new Apple Watch, you likely have three months of free access to the service.

    apple, watch, iphone, minimum

    You can find Apple Fitness in the Fitness app on your iPhone or Apple TV. It’s also available on the iPad, and you can download it from the iPadOS App Store to get started.

    Apple Watch accessories

    Finally, you might be looking to complement your new Apple Watch with accessories such as charging docks and watch bands. Here are some of our favorites.

    Best Apple Watch charging docks:

    Best Apple Watch bands:

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    So you just got… an Apple Watch

    apple, watch, iphone, minimum

    The Apple Watch is the best smartwatch you can buy, so congratulations. You have the best piece of wrist-based tech going.

    If you don’t have an iPhone though then we hope you or whoever was nice enough to buy it for you kept the receipt. The Apple Watch only works with a paired iPhone – not an Android phone. Presuming you’re a lover of all things Steve Jobs then please proceed.

    Series 5 watches and later have an always-on display, so now it always shows the time and other information. No longer is it a dormant, expensive black pebble when not in active use. Models like the Apple Watch Series 7, released in 2021, delivers everything a smartwatch should, but now for a price of around £300. Most of getting used to the Apple Watch is in the setup process.

    In this handy guide we’ll walk you through the setup as well as the first four things you should do to make your Apple Watch more useful and more yours.

    1) Pair your Apple Watch with your iPhone

    apple, watch, iphone, minimum

    This stage is fairly long and a little daunting if you haven’t done it before. It’s also where you’ll setup several features like Apple Pay, and where you’ll choose the settings that work best for you.

    To start, turn on your Apple Watch by pressing holding the pill-shaped button the right edge. It’ll soon tell you to bring it close to your iPhone – unlock your iPhone and you’ll get a pop up prompting you to pair. Then a clever part – a swirl of glitter and dust will whirl around the Watch’s screen. Use your iPhone’s camera to scan it.

    You’ll then be asked whether or not you want to set up the Watch from a backup, or as a new Watch. Unless you’re upgrading from an older Watch and have owned one before, you’re most likely going to set up as new.

    Pick which wrist you wear your Watch on, and then agree to the terms and conditions. You can also sign into the iTunes Store to access Apple Music on your new Watch. Additionally, the setup will prompt you to sign into your Apple ID and whether you want to share data with Apple. Unlike other services, you really will get the most out of your Apple Watch if you say yes and sign into everything.

    You can also create a passcode – something you’ll have to tap in every time you put your Watch on to unlock it, but it’s compulsory if you want to use Apple Pay. It also keeps all your data secure if you lose your Watch. Go through the rest of the setup, adding Apple Pay if you have a bank that’s supported and installing all available apps. Tap this, and your iPhone will add every companion Watch app from the apps on your iPhone.

    From here, just wait until the screen says, ‘Press the Digital Crown to start’, and you’re off.

    2) Change the app layout to List View

    apple, watch, iphone, minimum

    When you press the Digital Crown on the Apple Watch you’ll see the now-famous honeycomb grid of apps. Some don’t like it, but we’ve grown to love it – but it can still be hard to find some apps.

    Even before you’ve installed any extra apps it’s so hard to see which app is which. Thankfully there is an alternative. Press the Digital Crown to bring up the apps, then press hard down on the display. The Apple Watch has Force Touch where you can sometimes access extra features with a hard press as opposed to a tap or long-press. Force Touch the display, and then tap List View to change the app page to a scrolling list with names of the apps next to them. Ah, much better.

    3) Download apps

    apple, watch, iphone, minimum
    apple, watch, iphone, minimum
    apple, watch, iphone, minimum

    You may have chosen to install your iPhone apps’ companion Watch apps during setup, in which case you’ll have a lot of apps on your Watch. But nowadays, you can download apps directly using the Watch rather than having to do it on your iPhone.

    Having an App Store directly on the Watch is great because every app you browse is obviously compatible. On the iPhone App Store, you can search by Watch app, but sometimes it’s easier just to do it on the Watch, Press the Digital Crown and open the App Store.

    From here the Watch will surface some cool apps for you, or you can use the Search function to get downloading. We recommend Casts for an excellent on-wrist podcast experience, Nike Run Club for community-based fitness tracking and ToDoist for an awesome productivity and reminders app – each are excellent on iPhone and are then improved by having access to them on Apple Watch. And if you’re hungry for more, we’ve listed all the Apple Watch apps we use, so you’ll find something you like there.

    They showcase using the Watch as a media remote control ( Casts), using it to track your workouts (Nike Run Club), and an always-with-you reminders list (ToDoist). Once you start seeing how the Apple Watch can make small improvements to your day like this, you’ll become obsessed with finding the next app that works for your interests and routine.

    4) Use Raise to Speak

    Now to make your Watch extra useful. We love that you can use a function called Raise to Speak, where the Watch will detect the motion of you bringing it to your mouth, activating Siri. You can then make a Siri request without saying ‘Hey Siri’.

    It’s on by default, but to check, on your Watch go to Settings Siri and make sure it’s toggled on. We like using the feature when cooking to set timers, but it’s also useful to ask a quick question about something or to check something like what’s next on your calendar if you need to be concentrating while driving, for instance.

    5) Strap up

    apple, watch, iphone, minimum

    There are simple rubber straps to metal ones. You can spend a little or a lot. Some straps a great for sports and soaking up sweat, while others, like the Hermès Leather Strap, caters to a more up market client. Most options we’ve featured before will fit the standard Apple Watch Series 7 onwards (with the 41mm and 45mm sizes), and the pricier Apple Watch Ultra.

    watchOS 10 new features, release date supported devices and more

    Apple’s watchOS 10 software is coming with new features to keep you connected, active, healthy and safe through Apple Watch.

    The software that’s expected to ship on the Apple Watch Series 9, watchOS 10 looks to change the way you use the Apple Watch with a redesigned home screen experience driven by widgets and Smart Stacks.

    watchOS 10 also introduces new watch faces, added workout types, refreshed apps and other improvements that could make one of the best smartwatches even better.

    Whether you want to know about all the new features, of if you’re wondering if your older Apple Watch will be compatible with the new software, below is everything we know about watchOS 10.

    watchOS 10 announcement and release date

    watchOS 10 was announced at WWDC 2023 today, alongside iOS 17 and other software refreshes. The June 5 keynote also saw the launch of the long-awaited Apple AR/VR headset.

    Following WWDC, a developer beta version of watchOS 10 will be released. Then, based on the timing from previous years, the public beta should launch sometime in July. watchOS 10 should become fully available in September, probably within the same few weeks as the Apple Watch Series 9 announcement.

    watchOS 10 supported devices

    For watchOS 9, Apple made a major change to compatibility, finally ending support for the Apple Watch Series 3. Now, for watchOS 10, the Apple Watch Series 4 through the Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch SE (2022) and Apple Watch Ultra are all compatible.

    Of course, there will be some watchOS 10 features that are exclusive to Apple Watch models with always-on displays, newer health sensors and more spacious displays.

    Read our full guide to watchOS 10 compatibility to learn more.

    watchOS 10 home screen and Smart Stacks

    There’s a new way to view information on your Apple Watch while still enjoying your watch faces. Turn the digital crown to view widgets organized in a Smart stack. The Apple Watch uses machine learning to show you information that’s relevant to you based on the time of day, so you get info when you need it.

    The widget-based redesign seems to make apps more accessible. With a curated series of tiles featuring selected apps, users will be able to swipe through a Smart stack to view the latest information they’d want to see quickly. This means you could use a watch face that has less complications, theoretically.

    watchOS 10 cycling and hiking workouts

    Competitive cycling gets a dedicated workout format in watchOS 10, leveraging a new compatibility with Bluetooth cadence sensors that you might attach to your bike. The Apple Watch can use the sensor data to measure FTP (functional threshold power) and provide Power Zones. What’s more, cycling workouts show up as a live activity on your iPhone, so you can use a bike mount for a large-screen display for tracking your metrics.

    Hiking workouts are improved with new compass and map features. The compass app will auto generate two new Waypoints, one that indicates the last place you had reception with your carrier and another that shows where you can make an emergency call using any carrier network.

    There’s also a new topographic map viewing option that shows contour lines, shading and trail head locations. You’ll be prompted to review additional information on a trail before starting hike, too.

    watchOS 10 mental health and vision health features

    As the Apple Watch is an ever-improving health device, watchOS 10 introduced some important new health-specific features.

    Apple’s Mindfulness app now offers mood-tracking, with prompts encouraging you to identify how you’re feeling. In the Health app, you’ll get deeper insights on how your other areas of health might be impacting your state of mind. You’ll be able to take standardized assessments to see how you’re feeling and see if you should speak to someone and seek help, too.

    How much time you spend in sunlight will now be used as metric as your health as well. Using the ambient light sensor, your Apple Watch can now measure time spent in daylight. Spending time out in the sun (with SPF, of course) can reduce the risk of myopia.

    watchOS 10 outlook

    With a major navigation redesign, watchOS 10 is more than another iterative update. How people use the Apple Watch could be more intuitive than ever.

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    Kate Kozuch is an editor at Tom’s Guide covering smartwatches, TVs and everything Smart-home related. Kate also appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom’s Guide TikTok account, which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her on an exercise bike, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.



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