Apple watches can serve as health monitors, schedule update reminders, and music players. In fact, some Apple watches can entirely replace other smartphones. And to do that, they need to have WiFi access.
An Apple Watch has WiFi, with models up to Series 5 connecting with the common 2.4 GHz WiFi only and Series 6 onwards connecting with 2.4 GHz and the less common 5 GHz WiFi as well. Usually, the watch connects with your iPhone via Bluetooth and uses it to access the internet.
In this article, you will learn all you need to know about the different Apple Watch models’ WiFi connectivity, including whether you need an iPhone to connect your Apple Watch to the internet. You will also learn whether there are WiFi-only watches and if you can make WiFi calls on your Apple Watch. But first, let’s go over which Apple Watches have WiFi.
Does the Apple Watch Have WiFi Connectivity?
An Apple Watch has WiFi connectivity, but only the new models (series 6 and above) of the smartwatch can connect with 5 GHz WiFi. All Apple Watches can connect with the commonly available 2.4 GHz WiFi, though.
In most public places, the WiFi available will be a 2.4 GHz band WiFi, so the only instance where you might need to connect with a 5 GHz WiFi is in your home or at a friend’s house. Even then, the chances of having a 5 GHz router are low. One has to specifically request the 5 GHz band to get it, and though it provides extra speed, its range is lower than the 2.4 GHz WiFi.
For WiFi routers dedicated to a single person or a single device, a 5 GHz WiFi is optimal. And if you have such a router set up for yourself, you should get a Series 6 or above Apple Watch. In almost all other instances, you can get any brand new Apple Watch and have regular WiFi connectivity.
Does Apple Watch SE Have WiFi?
Apple Watch SE has 2.4 GHz WiFi connectivity, which means it can connect to most public and home WiFi routers but can’t connect to a 5 GHz WiFi. Since 5 GHz WiFi is becoming popular for personal use, you might want to make sure that your home WiFi is of a 2.4 GHz band before getting an Apple Watch SE.
Complete List of Apple Watch Generations (With/Without WiFi)
Now that we have discussed how all Apple watches have WiFi, technically, it is time to go over the limitations of different Apple Watch generations so you can understand which models have the kind of WiFi you can regularly use in most cases.
|Watch Series||Apple Watch Model||WiFi Available|
|Apple Watch (1st Generation)||Apple Watch||2.4 GHz Only|
|Apple Watch (1st Generation)||Apple Watch Sport||2.4 GHz Only|
|Apple Watch (1st Generation)||Apple Watch Hermès||2.4 GHz Only|
|Apple Watch (1st Generation)||Apple Watch Edition||2.4 GHz Only|
|Series 1||Apple Watch||2.4 GHz Only|
|Series 2||Apple Watch||2.4 GHz Only|
|Series 2||Apple Watch Nike||2.4 GHz Only|
|Series 2||Apple Watch Hermès||2.4 GHz Only|
|Series 2||Apple Watch Edition||2.4 GHz Only|
|Series 3||Apple Watch||2.4 GHz Only|
|Series 3||Apple Watch Nike||2.4 GHz Only|
|Series 3||Apple Watch Hermès||2.4 GHz Only|
|Series 3||Apple Watch Edition||2.4 GHz Only|
|Series 4||Apple Watch||2.4 GHz Only|
|Series 4||Apple Watch Nike||2.4 GHz Only|
|Series 4||Apple Watch Hermès||2.4 GHz Only|
|Series 5||Apple Watch||2.4 GHz Only|
|Series 5||Apple Watch Nike||2.4 GHz Only|
|Series 5||Apple Watch Hermès||2.4 GHz Only|
|Series 5||Apple Watch Edition||2.4 GHz Only|
|SE||Apple Watch||2.4 GHz Only|
|SE||Apple Watch Nike||2.4 GHz Only|
|Series 6||Apple Watch||2.4 GHz and 5 GHz|
|Series 6||Apple Watch Nike||2.4 GHz and 5 GHz|
|Series 6||Apple Watch Hermès||2.4 GHz and 5 GHz|
|Series 6||Apple Watch Edition||2.4 GHz and 5 GHz|
|Series 7||Apple Watch||2.4 GHz and 5 GHz|
|Series 7||Apple Watch Nike||2.4 GHz and 5 GHz|
|Series 7||Apple Watch Hermès||2.4 GHz and 5 GHz|
|Series 7||Apple Watch Edition||2.4 GHz and 5 GHz|
Can Apple Watch Connect to WiFi Without a Phone?
An Apple Watch can connect to WiFi without a phone and has similar functionality to an iPod touch, albeit with different processing speed and storage capacity. Multiple apps, your cloud-synced notifications, and cellular-independent activities remain functional without a phone.
Interestingly, certain Apple Watch models come with a cellular option that allows you to use your smart watch to call or send SMS and function like an iPhone even when you don’t have your phone nearby! Having the Apple Watch Cellular version allows you to also use a data plan even when the WiFi is not available.
That said, having an Apple Watch without an iPhone is sub-optimal at best because:
- You need an iPhone to set up your Apple Watch – No other Apple devices support the setup process.
- You will exhaust the battery quicker without a phone – When you use an Apple Watch without the iPhone, you use direct WiFi or Cellular network instead of relying on your phone’s access.
- Mixed social status signals – There are tech products with better specs than Apple available at lower price points. But Apple products represent affluence and prioritizing finer experience. If you have an Apple Watch but not an iPhone, you do not get to benefit from a coherent brand association.
How to Connect Apple Watch to WiFi?
To connect an Apple Watch to WiFi, you must follow these steps:
- Open your Apple Watch settings by tapping the gear icon.
- Tap WiFi and let the device search for the available networks.
- Tap your WiFi network’s name.
- If your network is password-protected, you’ll be asked for a password. Use the Apple watch keyboard or scribble to enter your password.
- Tap join.
A few of the steps above can be a little confusing. The video below explains how you can open settings and find different networks:
Does Apple Watch Have WiFi Calling Feature?
Apple Watch has the WiFi Calling feature, but its availability is contingent on your cellular provider. If your carrier offers WiFi calling, you can make phone calls directly over WiFi that your iPhone has previously connected to.
In other words, your Apple Watch has the capacity to make calls over WiFi, but since Apple does not own the infrastructure to make those calls, you do not have guaranteed access to WiFi calling.
At least in the United States, though, you will find the free WiFi calling feature on all major network providers, including Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile. In certain countries, in the Middle East, all internet calling is regulated and available on strict, conditional terms.
That brings us to the following conclusions:
- Your Apple Watch can make WiFi phone calls when paired with an iPhone.
- Your Apple Watch can make WiFi phone calls when connected to a WiFi previously associated with your iPhone.
- Your Apple Watch might not have access to WiFi calling when traveling outside the USA.
Can Apple Watch Without Cellular Connect to WiFi?
An Apple Watch without cellular can connect to WiFi. You do not need a cellular connection to have a functioning Apple Watch or to connect with WiFi. Once the device is set up, you don’t even need an iPhone to use your Apple Watch for a bulk of its features.
Connecting your sans-cellular Apple Watch to WiFi is the same as connecting your cellular Apple Watch to WiFi. You have to open settings and tap the WiFi icon to find the network of your choice. And as long as you enter the right password, you will have WiFi connectivity.
The only exception here is that of the bandwidth. Your watch must be series 6 or over to connect to all possible WiFi networks (5 GHz and 2.4 GHz). Most WiFi networks (2.4 GHz) are available for any cellular and non-cellular Apple Watch, regardless of its generation.
Is There a WiFi Only Apple Watch?
There are WiFi-only Apple Watches, given that all Apple Watches have WiFi while ones prior to Series 3 do not have cellular capabilities. This leaves at least 9 Apple Watch models as WiFi-only and Bluetooth-only devices.
All-new Apple watches have both WiFi and cellular, though.
The Apple watches that do not have cellular (or are WiFi only) are as follows:
- The first-generation Apple Watch (all four models)
- Apple Watch Series 1 (the sole model)
- Apple Watch Series 2 (all four models)
- Apple Watch Series 3 (All GPS models)