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Does Apple Watch Work If the iPhone Is Dead?

As an Apple Watch owner, I’ve often found myself frustrated when my phone dies and my Apple Watch stops working. After experiencing this issue multiple times, I decided to do some research and testing to find out how I could solve this problem. Today, I’m here to share with you how I solved the issue and the other solutions I discovered for the same problem: does Apple Watch work if phone is dead?

The short answer is yes, your Apple watch will still work if your phone is dead. However, not all functions will necessarily work. It depends on the type of your watch and the reliance of these apps on network usage. 

If your apple watch is cellular, it’ll work if your phone is dead, given that they’re connected. In this case, you can receive calls, send messages, and use mobile data on your apple watch, but it has to be cellular. 

Issue / QuestionAnswer / Explanation
Does Apple Watch work if phone is dead?Yes, but not all functions will work. It depends on the type of watch (cellular or non-cellular) and the reliance of apps on network usage.
Independent ActivitiesTime telling, setting alarms, tracking workouts, Activity Icon App, music streaming from synced playlist, displaying synced photos.
Cellular vs Non-Cellular Apple WatchCellular Apple Watch supports network connection without iPhone, while non-cellular requires an iPhone connection for network features.
Activities Dependent on NetworkMaking phone calls, sending and receiving messages, using Siri, streaming music, using Apple Pay, and checking the weather.
Non-Cellular Apple Watch FunctionalityLimited functionality if the phone is dead; it will only work offline or with WiFi access (calls and messages not supported).
Receiving Messages on Apple WatchCellular Apple Watch can send messages if the phone is dead, but GPS-only watches require a connected and in-range phone.
Apple Watch Not Working Away From PhonePossible reasons: no cellular service, exceeded 33 ft distance, subscription issues, or outdated iPhone OS.
Using Apple Watch With No iPhonePossible, but not efficient. Primary applications work, but an LTE connection is needed for the best use of the watch without an iPhone.

Which Apple Watch Activities Are Independent of the Phone Connection?

Whether you have a cellular or non-cellular Apple watch, some activities will work whether you have your phone connected or not.

 These activities include:

  • Time telling
  • Setting alarms, timers, or stopwatches
  • Tracking workouts
  • Using the Activity Icon App to track health metrics
  • Music streaming from a synced playlist on the watch
  • Displaying photos from a synced photo album on the watch

What’s the Difference Between a Cellular and Non-Cellular Apple Watch?

A cellular Apple watch supports a cellular connection to the same carrier used by your iPhone. It allows you to make calls, send messages, receive notifications, and even stream music without your phone. 

The main benefit of a cellular Apple watch is that it connects to the network without your phone present. Thus, you can still use your cellular Apple watch in its all functionality if your phone is dead because it doesn’t rely on your phone’s carrier to access the network. 

However, your watch’s cellular LTE connection should be from the same carrier as your phone’s. You can’t establish a new connection exclusively for your watch. Also, beware that not all phone carriers support Apple watch services. Check your phone carrier’s compatibility with Apple watches before deciding.

If you don’t know whether your Apple watch is cellular or not, you can simply swipe up your watch’s screen to get the control center up. If there’s a mobile data icon, then your watch is cellular. If it’s only wifi, then it’s a regular GPS Apple watch that doesn’t support cellular connections. 

Read more: Can you unlock iPhone with an Apple Watch?

Which Apple Watch Activities Depend on a Network Connection?

Some activities require that your watch is hooked to a network. It can connect on its own if it’s cellular or with your phone charged, connected, and within range if it’s GPS only.

These activities include:

  • Making phone calls
  • Sending and receiving messages
  • Using Siri
  • Streaming music
  • Using Apple Pay
  • Weather checking

Will a Non-Cellular Apple Watch Work if the Phone Is Dead?

Yes, but with limited functionality.

Unless your Apple watch is connected to a wifi network, it’ll only function offline if your phone is dead. However, as far as online functionality is concerned, your non-cellular watch will work if it has wifi access. 

In all cases, you won’t be able to receive calls or messages. 

Read more: Can you listen to music offline with an Apple Watch?

Can I Still Receive Messages on My Apple Watch If My Phone Is Dead?

Your Apple Watch will still send messages even if your phone is dead if it’s cellular because it’ll be operating on its LTE connection. 

However, if your watch is GPS only, you won’t be able to receive messages unless your phone is connected and within the range of your watch. 

Why Is My Apple Watch Not Working Away From My Phone?

There are plenty of reasons why your Apple watch might not work when it’s not close to your phone. 

  • Your watch has no cellular service, and your phone is far away (more than 33 ft away)
  • Your watch is GPS only, and your phone is dead.
  • You’ve exceeded the standard 33 ft distance between your phone and watch. Thus, you lost your Bluetooth connectivity.
  • There’s an issue with your subscription, so your apps can’t use data from the network.
  • Your iPhone OS isn’t up to date, and the app you’re trying to use requires the latest iOS. 

Can I Use an Apple Watch With No iPhone?

You can, but it won’t be efficient.

As we explained, the primary applications on your Apple Watch, those that don’t require an internet connection, will work fine whether you have an iPhone or not. In this manner, your Apple Watch isn’t different from any other smartwatch. 

If you want to make the best use of your Apple Watch without owning an iPhone, it has to be cellular to support phone calls, text messages, and streaming services. Yet, you must remember that you’ll need an activated data plan from your LTE provider. It has to be compatible with Apple, too.

Wrap Up

Your Apple Watch will still work if your phone is dead, but how it works depends on multiple factors. If you’re looking for a watch that you can use without being close to your phone, a cellular Apple watch is the way to go.