If your watch is connected to Wi-Fi or cellular data
When your iPhone is off or out of range, your Apple Watch can use a Wi-Fi network to send and receive data. And if your watch is equipped with cellular capability, it can connect to a cellular network.
If your Apple Watch is connected to Wi-Fi, the Wi-Fi icon appears in Control Centre. If it's connected to cellular network, the cellular icon appears. Learn how to set up a cellular connection.
A Wi-Fi or cellular connection lets your Apple Watch do the following things — even if your iPhone isn't with you.1
Use Siri to get directions, send iMessages and more.
If you can't connect to Wi-Fi, a cellular network or your iPhone
When your Apple Watch is disconnected — for example, if you're hiking in an area that doesn't have Wi-Fi or cellular signal, or your iPhone is turned off — you can still do these things.
Display photos from synced photo albums.
Play music, podcasts or audiobooks that you've synced to your watch.
Make purchases with Apple Pay.
Record thoughts and ideas.
Not all features are available on all Apple Watch models.
1. To receive SMS, MMS or push notifications from third-party apps on your cellular Apple Watch, your paired iPhone must be turned on and connected to a Wi-Fi or cellular network, but it doesn't need to be nearby. You also need to be signed in to iMessage on your iPhone.
2. If you're using Wi-Fi and want to call a phone number, make sure that Wi-Fi calling is turned on for your Apple Watch. Otherwise, try making a FaceTime audio call.
3. Streaming music and podcasts is available on Apple Watch Series 3 and later.
4. For GPS accuracy when you walk, run or cycle outdoors, select the appropriate Workout and bring your iPhone. For GPS accuracy, you can also calibrate your Apple Watch. Apple Watch Series 2 and later has built-in GPS that allows you to get more accurate distance and speed information during an outdoor workout without your paired iPhone.
5. The Compass app is only available on Apple Watch Series 5.