About Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and cellular on your Apple Watch

Learn about Bluetooth and Wi-Fi for your Apple Watch and how your watch uses both. And how cellular on Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular) fits in.

Control Center on iPhone

To enjoy every feature on your Apple Watch, you need to turn on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on your paired iPhone. Swipe up on your iPhone to open Control Center. Then make sure Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are on.

Your Apple Watch uses Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to communicate with your paired iPhone, switching between connections as needed:

  • Your Apple Watch uses Bluetooth when your iPhone is near, which conserves power.  
  • If Bluetooth isn’t available, your Apple Watch will try to use Wi-Fi. For example, if compatible Wi-Fi is available and your iPhone isn't in Bluetooth range, your Apple Watch uses Wi-Fi.

Compatible Wi-Fi for Apple Watch

Your Apple Watch can connect to a Wi-Fi network: 

  • If your iPhone, while connected to your watch with Bluetooth, has connected to the network before.
  • If the Wi-Fi network is 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz.

For example, your Apple Watch won't connect to 5GHz Wi-Fi or public networks that require logins, subscriptions, or profiles. When your Apple Watch connects to a compatible Wi-Fi network instead of your iPhone connection, Wi-Fi icon appears in the Control Center.

Check the connection between your devices

There are two ways to check the connection between your Apple Watch and iPhone:

  • If you see red Disconnected icon or X icon on the watch face, you don't have a connection.
  • Swipe up on the watch face to open Control Center, which shows if your devices are connected. You can also tap  iPhone icon. If connected, your iPhone should make a "ping" sound.

 

 

Use a cellular network

With Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular) and a cellular connection, you can make calls and use data or apps when you don’t have your iPhone or Wi-Fi. Learn how to add your Apple Watch to your cellular plan.

To check your signal strength, swipe up to open Control Center. 

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

 

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

To turn cellular on or off, swipe up to open Control Center, tap Green cellular button, then turn off Cellular.

Some apps might not update without a connection to your iPhone.

Disconnect from Wi-Fi on Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular)

On Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular) only, you can disconnect from Wi-Fi networks.

Swipe up to open Control Center and tap Wi-Fi icon. The icon will dim and your device will disconnect from any network that you're connected to. After you disconnect, your Apple Watch won't automatically re-join the Wi-Fi network that you disconnected from until you do one of these things:

  • You turn on Wi-Fi in Control Center.
  • You walk or drive to a new location. 
  • It's 5:00 a.m. local time.
  • You restart your device.

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