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Can You Call on Apple Watch Without Cellular? (Or Receive Calls)

As an Apple Watch owner, I know that feeling of frustration when you want to make or receive a call, only to realize you can’t because you don’t have a cellular connection. I was curious about this and decided to do some research and testing to find out if it is possible to call on an Apple Watch without a cellular connection.

In this blog post, I’m going to share what I found, as well as some other solutions I discovered that might help you in similar situations. Let’s dive in and find out if you can call on Apple Watch without cellular!

Is There Another Way You Can Call on Apple Watch Without Cellular?

Yes, there’s another situation where you should be able to make calls on your smartwatch without cellular and without having an iPhone nearby.

See, your Apple Watch can place and receive calls via a Wi-Fi connection that your iPhone has connected to before. This only works if your cellular carrier supports Wi-Fi calling.

How Does the Apple Watch Use the iPhone’s Cellular Connection to Place and Receive Calls?

The Apple Watch uses your iPhone’s data connection to place calls. So, as long as your iPhone is within range, you’ll be able to make and receive calls without any issue.

Whether at home or out and about, you can always stay connected with your Apple Watch if you keep your iPhone nearby.

The Apple Watch will automatically select the best Wi-Fi or your iPhone’s cellular connection based on availability and signal strength.

This smartwatch from Apple will end up using the iPhone’s cellular connection if it isn’t connected to a cellular network.

When using the Apple Watch to make a call, you’re actually using the iPhone’s speakerphone by default. However, you can also use the Watch’s built-in speaker or headphones. To answer a call on the Watch, simply tap the “Answer” button. 

You’re probably searching for this to decide if you should purchase the Apple Watch (GPS) or splurge a bit extra for the Apple Watch (GPS + Cellular). So, let’s compare both products since one has no cellular connection while the other does!

Read more: Can I unlock iPad with Apple Watch?

What’s the Difference Between Calling on an Apple Watch With Cellular vs. Without Cellular? 

Purchasing an Apple Watch isn’t that simple. Not only do you have to pick a model, but also whether or not you want cellular connectivity.

But what’s the difference between using an Apple Watch (GPS + Cellular) and an Apple Watch (GPS)? And which one is right for you?

You can use an Apple Watch (GPS) to make calls and send messages using a compatible iPhone. Because seeing is believing, check out this demo!

On the other hand, an Apple Watch (GPS + Cellular) has its own cellular connection and can be used without an iPhone nearby.

If you’re always near your iPhone, then an Apple Watch (GPS) might be all you need. But if you want the freedom to leave your iPhone at home, then an Apple Watch (GPS + Cellular) is the way to go.

Another difference between these two models is that an Apple Watch (GPS + Cellular) can be used to make emergency calls in over 150 countries. In this case, you don’t need to have your iPhone with you.

Read more: does the Apple Watch band get dirty?

Emergency SOS Feature

If you’re in an emergency, the Emergency SOS function will call 911 and get you help wherever you are, even if you’ve lost your iPhone somewhere. To activate the Emergency SOS function, simply press and hold the Digital Crown for a few seconds.

You’ll then see a screen with several options, one of which is the Emergency SOS function.

Unfortunately, this feature only exists in Apple Watches with cellular.

What Features Can I Still Use With Apple Watch (GPS-only) Model Without an iPhone Connection?

If you have an Apple Watch (GPS only) model, you can still use many features of the Watch without being connected to your phone.

With WatchOS 5 and later, apps such as Mail, Maps, Phone, Messages, Stocks, Weather, Voice Memos, and Walkie-Talkie are available without an iPhone nearby. You’ll just have to be connected to Wi-Fi, and everything should be okay.

When your Watch is not connected to your phone or Wi-Fi network (for example, if you’re in an area with limited cellular coverage), some features might not work.

For instance, you won’t be able to:

  • Send or receive messages using iMessage or Siri
  • Make or take phone calls
  • Check the weather
  • Use SiriKit-enabled apps such as Mail, Maps, Phone, and Messages
  • Use Walkie-Talkie


  • Can make and receive calls with an iPhone nearby
  • Can use the Emergency SOS function in over 150 countries
  • Many apps still work without an iPhone connection


  • Can’t make or receive calls without an iPhone nearby
  • Emergency SOS feature only available on Apple Watch with cellular
  • Some features may not work when not connected to a cellular network

Wrap Up

You should now have the answer to your question: Can you call on Apple Watch without cellular? 

Thankfully, the Apple Watch can make and receive phone calls without cellular service.

However, you will need to have an iPhone nearby connected to a cellular network to make or receive calls on your smartwatch. That’s because the Apple Watch uses the iPhone’s cellular connection to place and receive calls.