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

Learn about Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, for your Apple Watch, and why you should use 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.

Control Center showing Wi-Fi icon

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.

Control Center showing disconnected icon and text


Control center showing connected icon


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. 

Control center showing signal strength

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


Control center showing iPhone connection

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.

Learn more

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