Set up cellular on Apple Watch

With a cellular connection on Apple Watch, you can make calls, reply to messages, receive notifications, and more—even while you’re away from your iPhone.

Before you start

  • Make sure that you have the latest software on your iPhone and your Apple Watch.
  • Check for updates to your carrier settings.
  • Make sure that you have an eligible cellular service plan with a supported carrier. Your iPhone and Apple Watch must use the same carrier,* and you must be within your carrier's network when you set up cellular on your watch.
  • If you have an enterprise or corporate cellular service plan, check with your company or carrier to see if they support this feature. Pre-paid accounts and some older accounts aren’t currently supported. To make sure that your account is eligible, contact your carrier.

* An Apple Watch that you set up for a family member can use a different carrier than your iPhone uses.

Set up cellular on your Apple Watch

You can activate cellular when you first set up your Apple Watch. During setup, look for the option to set up cellular, then follow the onscreen steps.

You can also set up cellular later from the Apple Watch app:

  1. On your iPhone, open the Apple Watch app.
  2. Tap the My Watch tab, then tap Cellular.
  3. Tap Set Up Cellular.
  4. Follow the instructions for your carrier. You might need to contact your carrier for help.

Set up cellular on a family member's Apple Watch

You can set up a cellular Apple Watch for a family member who doesn't have their own iPhone. If your cellular carrier supports the use of a managed Apple Watch, you're given the option to add the watch to your plan during setup. If your carrier doesn't support it, you might be able to use an alternative carrier. 

To see the phone number assigned to your family member's Apple Watch after you set up cellular, go to Settings on the watch, then tap Phone. 

Setting up a managed Apple Watch for a family member is available only in certain countries or regions.

If you're in China mainland, you must verify your identity when setting up cellular on a family member’s Apple Watch, as required by local regulations. Contact your carrier for further assistance if needed.

Connect to a cellular network

Your Apple Watch with cellular automatically switches to the most power-efficient wireless available: It can connect to your iPhone when itʼs nearby, a Wi-Fi network, or cellular. When your watch connects to cellular, it uses LTE networks. If LTE isn't available, your watch will try to connect to UMTS if your carrier supports it. 

When your watch connects to a cellular network, you can check the signal strength from Control Center or the Explorer watch face. To open Control Center, touch and hold the bottom of the screen, then swipe up.

Full cellular signal in Control Center on Apple Watch.

The Cellular button turns green when you have a connection. The green dots show the signal strength. 

Control Center on Apple Watch.

The Cellular button turns white when your cellular plan is active, but your watch is connected to your iPhone using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.

Changing carriers

Your iPhone and Apple Watch must use the same carrier, unless the watch was set up for a family member who doesn't have an iPhone. If you change carriers on your iPhone,* you need to remove the previous service plan on your Apple Watch and sign up for a new plan. Here's how:

  1. On your iPhone, open the Apple Watch app. 
  2. Tap the My Watch tab, then tap Cellular. 
  3. Your Apple Watch should automatically switch to the carrier that your iPhone is using. If you need to add a new plan, tap Add a New Plan, then follow the onscreen steps. If your previous plan still appears in the Apple Watch app, you can remove it.

If you need help, contact your carrier. 

* Carrier fees may apply. Contact your carrier for details. 

Transfer your cellular plan to a new Apple Watch

When you’re ready to start using a new Apple Watch, you can transfer cellular service from your old watch to your new one. Here’s how:

  1. Remove the cellular plan from your old Apple Watch. You can do this from the Apple Watch app or by erasing your old Apple Watch. 
  2. Pair your new Apple Watch with your iPhone. During setup, tap “Set up Cellular” to add a cellular plan.
  3. Some carriers allow you to transfer your existing plan to your new Apple Watch directly from the Apple Watch app. 
  4. If you don’t see an option to transfer your cellular plan, contact your carrier for help.

Remove your cellular plan

You can remove your cellular plan at any time:

  1. On your iPhone, open the Apple Watch app. 
  2. Tap the My Watch tab, then tap Cellular. 
  3. Tap the information button  next to your cellular plan at the top of the screen. 
  4. Tap Remove [carrier] Plan. Tap again to confirm. 
  5. If you aren't going to pair again, you might need to contact your carrier to cancel your cellular subscription.*

When you erase and unpair your Apple Watch, you also get the option to remove the plan from your Apple Watch. When asked, choose Erase All to remove the plan. 

* Carrier fees may apply. Contact your carrier for details. 

About international roaming

  • Cellular roaming isn't supported outside your carrier network coverage area.
  • To cover the LTE and UMTS bands used around the world, cellular models of Apple Watch come in regional models for the Americas, China mainland, and Europe/Asia Pacific. Unlike iPhone, there isn't a worldwide Apple Watch model that supports all cellular bands used globally.
  • When your Apple Watch is connected to your iPhone or a previously joined Wi-Fi network, you can still use all the features of your Apple Watch, even if cellular isn't available. 

Find out which carriers in your country or region offer cellular service for Apple Watch.

Learn more

  • To check your cellular data usage, use the Apple Watch app. Open the app on your iPhone, tap the My Watch tab, tap Cellular, then scroll to the Cellular Data Usage section. 
  • To turn your cellular connection on or off, swipe up from the watch face to open Control Center. Tap the cellular button , then turn Cellular on or off.
  • Turning on cellular for extended periods uses more battery power. Also, some apps might not update without a connection to your iPhone. 
  • To receive SMS, MMS, or push notifications from third-party apps on your Apple Watch with cellular, your paired iPhone must be powered on and connected to Wi-Fi or cellular.
  • Learn how to use Dual SIM with cellular models of Apple Watch.
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