Apple Watch Cellular Not Working? How to Fix The Problem

Get reconnected with these troubleshooting steps

If your Apple Watch cellular doesn't appear to be working or your Apple Watch won't work without your phone, there are several reasons why this might be the case. Whether it's a matter of having a GPS-only Apple Watch or there's something more complicated going on, there are ways of fixing most issues. Here's how to get your Apple Watch cellular working correctly again. 

Why Doesn’t My Apple Watch Work Without My Phone?

If your Apple Watch doesn't work without your phone, this can be for many different reasons. Different issues lead to distinct solutions or fixes, with some instances requiring intervention from Apple itself or even a new device. 

Before reaching this stage, it's important to narrow things down to the specific problem you're dealing with on your device.

  • Apple Watch is GPS-only. If your Apple Watch only has GPS functionality and isn't a GPS+Cellular model, you can't use it fully without your phone nearby. 
  • Apple Watch cellular service is down. If you haven't arranged an eligible cellular service plan or your current plan doesn't support the Apple Watch, it won't work.
  • Apple Watch software issue. If your Apple Watch previously worked well with a cellular connection but doesn't anymore, it may be a software or update issue. 

Troubleshoot When an Apple Watch Cellular Isn’t Working

If your Apple Watch cellular doesn't work, try these troubleshooting tips to get it back up and running.

There are many different reasons why your Apple Watch cellular might not be working. If the step doesn't relate to your issue, move on to the next one. 

  1. Restart your Apple Watch. A lot of technology fixes itself through a reboot. Try rebooting your Apple Watch and see if cellular coverage is restored.

  2. Check you have cellular coverage. In an area with some signal dead spots? This might be why you don't have a signal on your Apple Watch. Try going elsewhere if possible.

  3. Check your cellular service plan. Check you have an appropriate cellular service plan with your carrier provider and that your payments are up to date. If you have the wrong plan or haven't paid your bill, you may not have any service.

  4. Update WatchOS. Sometimes, bugs occur in your Apple Watch's software. Check for updates for WatchOS and download them as soon as possible. 

  5. Turn off Airplane mode. Check to see if Airplane mode is activated on your Apple Watch. If it is, turn it off to reactivate cellular connectivity.

  6. Check for updates to your carrier settings. Check your cellular carrier settings are up to date. Updates should be automatically sent to your Apple Watch, but you can also manually check by tapping Settings > General > About to download the update.

  7. Check you have enough data spare. Check on your iPhone that you still have data remaining on your plan. On your iPhone, tap Watch > My Watch > Cellular > Cellular Data Usage to check your overall data usage.

  8. Remove and re-add your cellular plan. Try removing and re-adding your cellular plan. On your iPhone, tap Watch > My Watch > Cellular > i > Remove > Remove then tap Add a New Plan to start afresh.

  9. Test certain apps. If a particular app doesn't update, it might need to be near your iPhone. It's a downside to the Apple Watch, but even the cellular model sometimes needs to be near your phone for updates.

How Do I Reset My Apple Watch Cellular?

If your Apple Watch Cellular still won't work correctly after troubleshooting these fixes, it's a good idea to try resetting it. It's vital to unpair the Apple Watch and fully reset your Apple Watch to correct the issue. While it won't fix every problem, it can often fix more stubborn trouble. 

If that still doesn't fix your Apple Watch cellular issues and you've already tried the above fixes, you may need to contact Apple Support for more help or arrange a repair or replacement if the device is under warranty.

FAQ
  • How do I set up cellular on my Apple Watch?

    Check Apple's list of supported carriers for Apple Watch. If your mobile carrier is compatible, set up cellular service when you activate your Apple Watch. From the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, select My Watch > Cellular > Set Up Cellular.

  • What is the difference between GPS and cellular Apple Watches?

    The main difference between Apple Watch GPS versus Apple Watch cellular is that the cellular version works in standalone mode without your phone. You also may not be able to use certain iPhones with newer Apple Watch models. For example, Apple Watch Series 6, SE, and Series 3 models require an iPhone 6S or newer running iOS 14 and higher.

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