When your iPhone is off or out of range, your Apple Watch can use a Wi-Fi network to send and receive data. Your watch can also connect to a cellular network if it's a cellular model. And if you've set up an Apple Watch for a family member, they can use a cellular or Wi-Fi connection with their watch.
When your Apple Watch is connected to Wi-Fi, the Wi-Fi icon appears in Control Center. When it's connected to cellular, the cellular icon appears.
If your Apple Watch is in Low Power Mode
When your Apple Watch is in Low Power Mode, several features are turned off or modified, which can affect some of the apps listed here.
- Wi-Fi and cellular data are turned off when your iPhone isn't nearby, until you open and use an app that requires a network connection.
- Incoming phone calls are sent to voicemail when your iPhone isn't nearby, and outgoing calls might take longer to make.
- Background heart rate measurements, background blood oxygen measurements, and heart rate alerts are turned off.
If your Apple Watch is connected to Wi-Fi or cellular
With a Wi-Fi or cellular connection, your Apple Watch can do the following things, even if your iPhone isn't with you.
Use Siri to get directions, send iMessages, and more.
If your Apple Watch can't connect to Wi-Fi, cellular, or your iPhone
When your Apple Watch is disconnected — for example, if you're hiking in an area without Wi-Fi or cellular signal, or your iPhone is 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.
Record thoughts and ideas.
Not all features are available on all Apple Watch models. Also, not all features are available in all countries or regions.
1. If you're on 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.
2. To receive SMS, MMS, or push notifications from third-party apps on your cellular Apple Watch, your paired iPhone must be powered on and connected to Wi-Fi or cellular, but it doesn't need to be nearby. You also need to be signed in to iMessage on your iPhone to use Messages on your watch.
3. For better GPS accuracy during an outdoor workout without your paired iPhone, you can calibrate your Apple Watch.