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Since its release in 2015, the Apple Watch has undergone a few changes and gained new features. People love the Apple Watch because it is durable, water resistant, and can track fitness. So, without cellular service, what can an Apple Watch do?

Apple has two main variants of its Watch. The Cellular+GPS and the GPS-only model. Cellular models of the Apple Watch can connect to a cell phone network. For both models, your Apple Watch can still send and receive data over a Wi-Fi network without cellular when your iPhone is off or out of range.

If you've set up an Apple Watch for a family member, they can connect to it with their phone, via cellular or through Wi-Fi. The Wi-Fi icon shows up in Control Center when your Apple Watch is connected to a Wi-Fi network, while the cellular icon shows up when it is connected to a mobile network.

Your Apple Watch can perform the below-mentioned actions without a cellular connection:

Listen to music

If you have downloaded your favorite songs from your Apple Music playlists to your Watch, you can listen to them anywhere via Bluetooth headphones without cellular. You can stream music from Apple Music or Spotify if you are near a Wi-Fi network.

Listen to podcasts

Some models of the Apple Watch have 8GB of storage, but the SE and Series 7 have 32GB of storage. You can download hours of podcasts and listen to them on your Watch without a cellular connection. To stream podcasts that you haven't already downloaded, you'll need to be near a Wi-Fi network, just like with music.

Use Apple Pay to buy things

Apple Pay is a handy app that can be used on any Apple Watch. The app contains your Apple Wallet, which stores your credit card or debit card information and lets you pay for things digitally.

After setting up the app, you can pay for things in the real world by tapping your Watch on a payment terminal that supports Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. Make sure you've added your cards to the Watch before leaving your phone behind to go shopping.

You don't need your phone or cellular or wireless connection to use Apple Pay. But Apple Pay isn't accepted everywhere because not all stores and banks have the special terminals or credit card readers required to work with it.

Track your Fitness

Your Apple Watch can track several important fitness metrics even when it does not have a cellular connection. It uses movement sensors to track things like how far you walk, how many calories you burn, and how long you spend standing up.

It can also tell when you're doing different exercises, like riding a bike, and it knows when you're working out. Your Watch can track your activity even when it's not connected to the Internet or your phone.

Should Apple Watch be worn while sleeping?
It is safe to wear the Apple Watch to bed because it is made to be as comfortable as possible, and it measures your health and sleep parameters.

Measure your health

The Apple Watch can track your heart rate, blood oxygen level, and movement data. It can do this without any cellular connection. If the Watch notices something wrong with your vital signs, it will let you know so you can visit a doctor.

Even when you're sleeping, the Apple device works and can tell you how long you slept and the amount of breaths you took per minute. You don't need a wireless or cellular connection for these features to work, either. These functions will also work without Wi-Fi or a phone connection.

Receive notifications via Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi is another means to keep your Apple watch connected without a cellular network. Your Apple Watch can still receive messages without cellular if it is connected to a Wi-Fi network.

It may not receive regular text messages due to the absence of a cellular network, but it will get notifications for apps that use the Internet like WhatsApp, Facebook, etc.

Fall detection

You can use fall detection if you have an Apple Watch Series 4 or later. The safety feature can tell when you hit something hard. Then, it allows you to swipe to let the Watch know you're OK.

If you don't swipe, the app will call 911 without you having to do anything. For older people with health problems, the fall detection feature is a great tool. Even though your Watch can detect hard falls on its own, it still requires a cellular connection, Wi-fi connection, or an iPhone nearby to call for help.

Noise detection

Using the Noise app, your Apple Watch can figure out how loud it is around you. Noise uses the microphone built into your Apple Watch and doesn't need to be connected to the Internet through cellular or phone. The app will let you know if your space is loud enough to hurt your hearing.


With the Timers app on your Apple Watch, you can set more than one timer simultaneously. This can be helpful if you are making a meal and need to keep track of the cooking times for several dishes simultaneously. The Timers app will still work if you don't have Internet or cell service.

How long will Applecare last?
The standard Applecare from Apple lasts for one year, and you get it automatically when you purchase Apple products from Apple. It is free and covers defects or damages that are not the user’s fault.

Frequently Asked Questions on Apple Watch usage without cellular

What's the difference between an Apple Watch that has cellular service and one that doesn't?

The only difference between the two is that the cellular version can be used to call, send messages, and access the Internet without connecting through the iPhone.

The GPS model can do everything the cellular model can, but it needs to use a connected iPhone as its source of connection.

Both will use your data plan, but most cell phone companies will charge you an extra $10 per month if you want to connect your cellular Apple Watch to your data plan.

The cellular model of the Apple watch is easily distinguishable by a red ring or color on the digital crown. It is also well labeled as GPS+Cellular on the underside of the Watch.

The underside of the Apple Watch, where its model type is engraved amongst other details

How much does the Apple Watch cellular cost each month?

You need to speak to your service provider to obtain accurate information about this. Although, AT&T presently charges an additional $10 to an existing plan that you must have for your iPhone. This might change from time to time.

Can you text with the GPS-only model of an Apple Watch?

When connected to your iPhone via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, Apple Watch (GPS only) lets you send and receive text messages, answer calls, and get notifications. But without these connections, the GPS-only model cannot send messages on its own. It does not have that capability.

Can my Apple Watch be set up without an iPhone?

Yes, you have to use an iPhone to set up an Apple Watch. Though, it doesn't have to be your phone.

With the Family Setup plan from Apple, more than one Apple Watch can be controlled by a single iPhone. When you secure a Family Setup plan, the person who owns the iPhone can decide which Apple Watch functions others can use. But Apple Watch owners who don't have an iPhone and are on a family plan will need a cellular plan if they want to make calls or send texts.

Can I use Apple Pay without my iPhone on my Apple Watch?

No, You need to use your iPhone to set up Apple Pay on your Apple Watch. Choose "My Watch" and "Wallet and Apple Pay" on your iPhone. Add the information for your credit card or debit card. Depending on your bank, you may have to take a few extra steps to prove who you are. Ensure to set up a default card if you have multiple cards.

After setting up Apple Pay for your Watch, you can use it even when you don't have your phone with you. Move your Apple Watch close to the payment terminal to pay with Apple Pay. There will be a picture of the Apple pay logo there.

Put your Watch face right next to the terminal by pressing the bottom side button twice. When your payment goes through, you'll hear a beep. Your Watch will also tell you when you've bought something.

Wrap up

This article explains several actions and features you can use on your Apple Watch without needing a cellular connection. If you have any questions, you can ask them in the comments below.

For more featured articles like this, click on our apple solutions page or click on the home page.

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