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.

First, your Apple Watch may be GPS-only, not GPS + cellular. Or maybe the Apple Watch's cellular service is down, or you haven't enrolled in an eligible cellular service plan. There may even be Apple Watch software issues interfering with a cellular connection.

Whether it's a matter of having a GPS-only Apple Watch or something more complicated, there are several fixes to get your Apple Watch cellular working correctly. 

Jogger running on nature path, looking at his smartphone

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How to Fix It When Apple Watch Cellular Isn’t Working

If your Apple Watch cellular doesn't work, try these troubleshooting tips in the order presented (easiest to most involved) for your best chances of success.

  1. Identify if you have an Apple Watch GPS+Cellular. The Apple Watch comes with one of two data systems: Apple Watch GPS and Apple Watch GPS + cellular. If you don't have a cellular model, you won't have cellular service.

  2. Restart your Apple Watch. Many technology issues resolve after a restart. Try rebooting your Apple Watch and see if cellular coverage is restored.

  3. Check the Apple Watch's cellular signal strength. If you're in a signal dead zone, that may be why your Apple Watch's cellular service isn't working.

  4. Check cellular coverage in your area. You may be in an area your carrier doesn't cover. When you're in a coverage zone, see if your cellular service resumes.

  5. Ensure you've set up cellular on your Apple Watch. While you can activate cellular coverage during Apple Watch setup, you can also skip this step and set it up later. In the Watch app, check to see if you've set up cellular service. If you haven't, set it up and see if this solves the problem.

  6. Check your cellular service plan. Log in to your carrier account and see if you've arranged an appropriate cell service plan. Ensure your payments are up to date. If you have the wrong plan or haven't paid your bill, you may not have any service.

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

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

  9. 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 on your iPhone to download the update.

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

  11. 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 > tap Add a New Plan to start afresh.

  12. Reset your Apple Watch. Resetting erases the current data from your watch which may clear unknown issues. After it is erased, pair the watch to your phone, just like a brand-new one.

  13. Contact Apple Watch support. If nothing works and you still can't use cellular on your Apple Watch, reach out to Apple support. Visit the Apple website to see your support options, make an Apple Store Genius Bar appointment, or find a local Authorized Apple Service Provider.

  • 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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