Looking for an Apple Watch cellular plan but don’t know which one you should get? You’ve come to the right place.
In this guide, we will discuss all you need to know about choosing the right Apple Watch cellular plan based on your needs.
However, do you actually need a data plan for your Apple Watch in the first place?
Apple Watch Cellular VS GPS-Only
Probably it’s your first Apple Watch and you are not sure whether you’ll need a data plan to power up the Watch.
First, it’s important to note that not all available Apple Watches can use cellular connectivity. Since 2017 with the launch of the Apple Watch Series 3, Apple offers two different versions of Apple Watches: GPS-only and cellular-enabled Apple Watches.
The main difference is obvious: cellular-enabled Apple Watches can connect to the cellular network, while GPS-only Watches can only connect to the internet when paired with a nearby iPhone via Bluetooth.
However, cellular connectivity is not the only important difference between the two models, as we can see from the specifications below:
|Battery life (talk)||1.5 hours||N/A|
|Battery life (audio)||7 hours
5 hours with Apple Music streaming
|Battery life (workout)||5 hours outdoor with GPS & LTE||10 hours indoor
6 hours outdoor with GPS
|Apple Music support||Yes||No|
|Minimum requirements||iPhone 6s with iOS 14 for Series 4 and newer||iPhone 6s with iOS 14|
|Family Setup support||Yes||No|
|Storage size||32GB for SE, Series 6||32GB for SE, Series 6|
|Monthly cost||From $10 per month, depending on the Apple Watch data plan||$0|
|Apple Watch GPS+Cellular||GPS-Only Apple Watch|
|More expensive (Typically costs $100 more)||More affordable|
|Don’t need an iPhone nearby to perform most core functions||Must pair with an iPhone via Bluetooth to connect to the internet.|
|Typically offers more storage than a comparable GPS-only model||Depending on the model, typically offers less storage space|
|Worse battery life||Better battery life|
|You’ll need an Apple Watch cellular plan|
How Can We Use The Apple Watch Cellular Plan?
Having an Apple Watch cellular plan, as discussed, will allow us to connect the Apple Watch to the internet without needing to tether your iPhone.
If you can get the right Apple Watch data plan that allows number sharing, such as Truphone’s Apple Watch data plan for Family Setup, then you can use the same phone number on both your iPhone and Apple Watch, so you can leave your iPhone at home (i.e. when running) and still receive calls and texts directed to your iPhone.
Here are what you can do with an Apple Watch cellular plan:
- Voice calls
- iMessage and email
- Siri functionalities
- Audio streaming apps (Apple Music)
- Any apps that need an internet connection (i.e. Maps)
It’s important to note that even when not connected to the internet (without Apple Watch cellular plan), both GPS-only models and cellular models, can use:
- Clock features (alarm, stopwatch)
- Apple Pay functions
- Health-tracking apps (health rate tracking, activity/fitness tracking)
- View/listen to media stored on your Apple Watch’s storage
As we can see, we get more versatility with the cellular-enabled Apple Watch, allowing us to get more functions of it even without our iPhone nearby.
How To Set Up Apple Watch Cellular Plan
Once you’ve chosen an Apple Watch cellular plan, then setting up the cellular plan in your Apple Watch should be fairly easy. If you have a cellular-enabled Apple Watch, you can activate cellular when you first set up your Apple Watch by following the on-screen step.
Alternative, you can use your iPhone to set up cellular on the Apple Watch via the Watch app:
- Open the My Watch tab on the iPhone, then tap Cellular
- Tap “Set Up Cellular”
- Follow the instructions provided by your carrier.
Apple recently also enable us to set up a cellular Apple Watch for a family member who doesn’t have their own iPhone. You can use your iPhone’s Watch app for this:
- Open the My Watch tab on the iPhone
- Tap “All Watches”, select the Apple Watch you’d like to set up, then tap “Done”
- Tap “Cellular”, then tap “Set Up Cellular”
- Follow the instructions provided by your carrier.
Benefits of Apple Watch Cellular Plan
Using a cellular-enabled Apple Watch with the right cellular plan can provide the following benefits:
You don’t always need to bring your iPhone
With a cellular-enabled Apple Watch and the right data plan, you can get most of the Apple Watch’s functionalities even if you don’t have your iPhone with you. This can be very useful in various situations when you don’t want to bring your iPhone, like when you are running outdoors.
Also, another benefit is that when you lose your iPhone or forgot to bring it, you can use the Find My iPhone feature on the Watch to find your iPhone.
Receive calls and messages anywhere
With cellular connectivity on the Apple Watch, you can make/receive calls on your Apple Watch, listen to voicemails, and receive messages (SMS, emails, iMessages) even without your phone around.
You get full Maps and GPS functionalities on an Apple Watch with a cellular plan. This is a very useful feature when you are running outdoors without your iPhone or driving around.
You can technically listen to music with a GPS-only Apple Watch, but you’ll need to store the files inside the Watch’s internal storage. With an Apple Watch cellular plan, you can stream from Apple Music even when the Watch is not paired with your iPhone. The battery life isn’t bad either, you’ll get around 7 hours of streaming from a full charge with Series 6.
Do you need an Apple Watch cellular plan? A cellular-enabled Apple Watch is roughly $100 more expensive than a GPS-only Watch, but you’ll get more versatility and freedom of using your Apple Watch anywhere without your iPhone nearby.