One of the questions Apple watch users are asking is whether or not the watch can be locked to a carrier or cellular provider. Many consumers were concerned about being stuck with a particular carrier if they buy an Apple Watch.
In this article, we will also explore whether or not it is possible for an Apple watch to be locked to a specific carrier, as well as discuss other issues regarding using the apple watch with cellular providers.
Can apple watches be locked to a carrier?
No, Apple Watches are not locked with any carrier after production. However, suppose you come across the term "carrier locked". In that case, it simply means that you might have obtained the Apple Watch at a discounted or incentivized deal from a carrier whereby you are locked to their network until the value of the device is paid up in one form of fees or another.
You can buy an unlocked watch directly from Apple to get around this. This will allow you to choose any carrier you want, but it will also be more expensive up-front. Ultimately, it's up to you to decide which option is best for your needs.
Also, some carriers allow only Apple Watches purchased from their stores on their network.
What type of Apple Watch connects to a cellular carrier?
Apple Watches with a red circle or red dot on their digital crown has built-in cellular features. This means you can stay connected even when you don't have your iPhone.
Apple watches are available in two different versions: GPS and GPS + Cellular. The former allows you to track your location and activity without being connected to a cellular network, while the latter adds the ability to make phone calls, send texts, and use data even when you're not near your phone.
If you're looking for the ultimate in freedom and convenience, the GPS + Cellular model is the way to go. And if you're simply interested in tracking your fitness or keeping an eye on your notifications, the GPS model will suffice as it gets its data connection from your iPhone.
When you connect to a cellular network on your Apple Watch, the cellular icon on your watch will turn green. Green dots above the icon indicates signal strength. The icon turns white when you have an active cellular plan but the phone is connected to the internet through Wi-fi or through your iPhone using Bluetooth.
Also, note that the Apple watches (GPS + Cellular) are regional devices. Check with your vendor when buying to ensure that you are purchasing an Apple watch for your region.
Must my Apple Watch be on the same carrier as my iPhone to use the cellular feature?
Unfortunately, yes. This is because the embedded SIM (eSIM) in the Apple watch obtains certain cloned information from your iPhone SIM card in order to function properly.
Also, the phone number for the Apple watch is the same phone number as the SIM card in your iPhone. So, the watch has to use the same carrier network as your iPhone even though it can function independently of it.
How to unlock an Apple watch connected to a carrier
To commence the unlocking of an Apple Watch from a cellular plan, you have to first contact your carrier to cancel any cellular subscription you have on the Apple Watch. Then, follow the steps below:
- Connect your Apple Watch to your iPhone.
- Open the Apple Watch app.
- Select my watch and tap on Cellular.
- Tap on the Information button.
- You'll see three choices: Manage Carrier Account, Remove Carrier Plan and Cancel. To cancel the plan with a carrier, select "Remove Carrier."
Are there any benefits or drawbacks to having an Apple watch tied to a carrier?
Yes, buying an Apple Watch from a carrier that automatically locks you in their network has some benefits.
One potential benefit is that it could lead to lower prices for consumers. If carriers can subsidize the cost of the watch, it is possible that consumers would see a reduction in the retail price (Although the carriers may still charge you more in-network or subscription fees). This could make the Apple Watch more affordable for many people.
Additionally, having the watch locked to a carrier could also provide some benefits in terms of customer service and support. If there are any issues with the watch, customers would be able to contact their carrier for assistance or simply take it back to the carrier. In contrast, if the watch is unlocked, customers would need to rely on Apple’s customer service. As a result, having an Apple watch locked to a carrier could provide some benefits in terms of price and customer service.
On the other hand, there are some potential drawbacks to purchasing an Apple Watch from a locked carrier. First, you may be limited in your choice of carriers. Second, if you decide to switch carriers at any point, you might have to pay an early termination fee. Lastly, using an Apple Watch with a locked carrier could lead to increased data usage and higher monthly bills.
So, what's the best option for you? Buying an unlocked Apple Watch or one that is carrier-locked? It really depends on your needs and what's important to you. If price is a concern and customer service is important, then a locked carrier might be the way to go. But if freedom and flexibility are more important, an unlocked Apple Watch is the better option.
No matter which model you choose, make sure to read the fine print and understand the terms and conditions of your purchase agreement before making a final decision.
Can you switch an apple watch to another carrier?
Yes, you can switch an apple watch to another carrier. You will need to contact your new carrier to activate your service, and then you can transfer your apple watch to the new carrier.
Remember that you may need to cancel your service with your old carrier first. You should also check with your new carrier to see if they have any special requirements for obtaining a cellular plan on an Apple watch.
As earlier stated, some carriers require you to have an active iPhone on their network to switch. Once you have everything sorted out with your new carrier, simply unpair your apple watch from your old iPhone network and then pair it with your new iPhone network. Your apple watch should then easily connect to the new carrier's network. To switch the cellular plan of your Apple watch to another carrier:
- Remove the Apple Watch from the former carrier by following the steps in paragraph 4.
- Pair your new iPhone with your Apple Watch.
- Open the Watch app and tap on the My Watch tab.
- Tap Cellular.
- Select Set up Cellular and follow the instructions on the screen to switch to a cellular plan on the new carrier network.
Is there a cost difference when purchasing an Apple Watch from a carrier?
Yes, there is usually a cost difference when purchasing an Apple Watch from a carrier. "Carrier locked" Apple Watches typically cost more than unlocked ones since carriers typically subsidize the cost of the device over the length of your contract.
However, it's important to keep in mind that you'll also be paying for your watch's cellular service through your carrier, so you'll need to factor that into the overall cost, which will eventually ramp up the cost.
Unlocked Apple Watches can be used with any carrier, but you'll need to pay the full price of the device upfront. So, if you're looking to save money in the long run, an unlocked Apple Watch may be the way to go.
Frequently Asked Questions on Apple Watches locked to a carrier
Q: What is an Apple Watch locked to a carrier?
A: An Apple Watch that is locked to a carrier is one that the terms of purchase tie you to using the network of the carrier that sells you the watch.
Q: Can I unlock my Apple Watch if it's locked to a carrier?
A: Yes, you can unlock your apple watch if it's locked to a carrier once you are free of the purchase conditions from your locked carrier. Simply change the carrier to your preferred carrier.
Q: Is there a cost difference when purchasing an Apple Watch from a carrier?
A: Yes, there is usually a cost difference when purchasing an Apple Watch from a carrier. "Carrier locked" Apple Watches typically cost more than unlocked ones since carriers typically subsidize the cost of the device over the length of your contract.
Q: What's the best option for me? Buying an unlocked Apple Watch or one that is carrier-locked?
A: It really depends on your needs and what's important to you. If initial price is a concern and customer service is important, then a locked carrier might be the way to go. But if freedom and flexibility are more important, an unlocked Apple Watch is the better option.
Some Apple Watches are now available with cellular service. This means that you can use your watch to make phone calls, send messages, and access the internet without having to be near your iPhone.
The question that a lot of people ask is, "if an Apple Watch can be locked to a specific carrier." The answer is normally no, but the carriers have a way to make it possible for them to do this, as explained in this article. Thanks for reading.