As an Apple Watch owner, I’ve been frustrated by the lack of clarity surrounding the cellular version of the device. Should I upgrade and buy the cellular version or not? I decided to do some research and testing to find out. In this blog post, I’ll share how I solved this dilemma and what other solutions I discovered along the way. Let’s dive into the debate of whether it’s worth buying an Apple Watch without cellular.
|Apple Watch versions||Available in both cellular and non-cellular versions|
|Cellular models||LTE Apple Watches that provide faster internet speeds than 3G technology|
|Non-cellular models||GPS-only, do not support cellular plans|
|Accessing internet with non-cellular watch||Must pair with iPhone via Bluetooth or connect to secure Wi-Fi network|
|Worth buying a non-cellular Apple Watch||Recommended if you want to use the device’s features without additional frills of the internet|
|Accessing internet with non-cellular watch||Can still access the internet via iPhone or Wi-Fi network, while saving money|
Cellular vs. Non-Cellular Apple Watch
Each Apple Watch is sold in two versions: a cellular and a non-cellular. The cellular models are dubbed ‘LTE’ Apple Watches, which stands for Long Term Evolution, also called 4G LTE.
It refers to the standard wireless transmission of information via the World Wide Web. In short, the LTE is what allows you to watch videos, listen to music, and access websites at much faster speeds than you ever could with the previous technology, or 3G.
As for the non-cellular versions, these are referred to as GPS-only smartwatches that come with an integrated GPS receiver, among other features that don’t need Internet access. Just make sure you calibrate your watch to ensure the accuracy of your pace, distance, and calorie measurements.
With a non-cellular watch, you can’t add a cellular plan. You can, however, access the Internet in other ways.
Take a look at each version and its capabilities.
Read more: What is mixed cardio on Apple Watch?
Apple Watch with Cellular
LTE cellular Apple Watches, also called GPS+Cellular watches, are great if you’re usually away from your iPhone for some time or don’t want to tow it around everywhere you go.
Another reason for wanting cellular watches is for health or safety concerns. Even when you can’t get to your phone, having on-demand Internet access can be a real lifesaver.
These watches are designed to work independently from your iPhone. To do that, they need cellular connectivity with a compatible network provider.
You can use the same plan as the one on your iPhone and just add your watch to it. Another option is to add a separate LTE cellular data plan to your Apple Watch. Just make sure to use the same mobile carrier for both devices to get great features and save money.
Read more: should you turn off Apple Watch at night?
Apple Watch without Cellular
Say you don’t want to add a cellular plan to your watch. At the same time, you still want to use apps that require Internet access. What do you do then?
Well, in this case, you’ll start off buying a GPS-only Apple Watch. Then, you have two possible ways of connecting to the Internet.
The first is to pair your iPhone with your Apple Watch via Bluetooth. Make sure they maintain the standard Bluetooth range, which is between 30–33 feet.
The other option is to connect your Apple Watch to a secure Wi-Fi connection. This happens when your watch can’t find the Bluetooth connection linking it to your iPhone. Then, by default, its go-to option is to find a reliable Wi-Fi network, which is typically a compatible 802.11 b/g/b 2.4GHz network.
Is It Worth Buying an Apple Watch without Cellular?
Yes, it’s worth it. In fact, many Apple users who started out with cellular plans on their phones soon changed their minds once they discovered that it wasn’t worth the extra monthly fees.
The next best option is to get a non-cellular GPS-only Apple Watch. You get all the nifty features in the LTE watch, but without paying extra.
Then, anytime you want to watch videos, listen to music, or browse websites, simply connect the watch to your iPhone or a Wi-Fi network.
Or, you can just use the watch without an Internet connection. Using your watch offline may sound strange to many iOS users, but for some, it’s convenient and less of a hassle. Not to mention that dozens of features on your Apple Watch don’t even need Internet access.
Some features that don’t require any cellular data at all and are available with a few simple presses on your wrist include:
- Track your exercise stats as you work out
- Listen to downloaded files, such as audiobooks, podcasts, or music
- Watch video files that have already been downloaded on the watch
- Use the Walkie-Talkie via a Bluetooth connection
- Make and receive phone calls
- Send and receive messages
- Track your sleep metrics
- Measure your blood oxygen levels and heart rate
Pros of Buying an Apple Watch without Cellular
- No need to pay extra for a cellular plan
- Can still access the internet via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi
- Dozens of features available without needing internet access
Cons of Buying an Apple Watch without Cellular
- Slower internet speeds than with a cellular model
- Unable to access the internet without an iPhone or secure Wi-Fi connection
- Internet access is not always available
A Final Note
Now, you have a pretty clear understanding of the difference between LTE and GPS-only Apple Watches. So, are you still wondering, “Is it worth buying an Apple Watch without cellular?”
Well, it depends on how you’ll be using your watch. For example, do you usually spend time away from your iPhone but still want the perks of having Internet access on your wrist? Then, no, it wouldn’t be worth it.
On the flip side, if you like making the most of the features on your smartwatch without any additional frills of the Internet, then go with the watch that doesn’t have cellular. You’ll still be able to gain Internet access via your iPhone or a Wi-Fi network and save some money in the process.