How Far Does the Apple Watch Reach?

How close to your iPhone your Watch needs to be

What to Know

  • Bluetooth on the Apple Watch has a maximum range of 100 meters/330 feet, though the range may be shorter in practice.
  • If the paired iPhone is connected to a known Wi-Fi network, the Apple Watch and iPhone can communicate over Wi-Fi.
  • Apple Watch models with built-in LTE cellular access can connect to the internet wherever they have cellular data access.

This article explains the range for an Apple Watch, how far apart an Apple Watch and iPhone can be and still work, what you can do with an Apple Watch that isn't connected to an iPhone, and related topics.

While this article primarily refers to recent Apple Watch models—Series 6 and Series 7—the ideas and concepts discussed here generally apply to most modern Watch models.

Does Apple Watch Work When the Phone Is Far Away?

The Apple Watch is useful in many different situations, but it's best when paired or connected to an iPhone and within a specific range. In that situation, the Watch and iPhone can communicate and exchange data, such as notifications, music, health data, and more.

The critical question for that scenario is: How far apart can the Apple Watch and iPhone be?

The answer depends on how the Watch and iPhone connect. The two devices connect via Bluetooth, a short-range wireless technology. The most recent Apple Watch models use Bluetooth 4.0, which has a maximum range of 100 meters/330 feet.

The maximum connection distance supported by Bluetooth 4.0 isn't always quite that long in real-world use. In many cases, the maximum length will decrease because of environmental circumstances: primarily walls and floors and the number of wireless signals in any given area.

What Happens When an Apple Watch Is Out of Bluetooth Range?

What happens if the Apple Watch and iPhone are so far apart that they can't connect to each other? That's where Wi-Fi comes in.

If the Watch and iPhone can't connect over Bluetooth, they fall back to trying to connect via their built-in Wi-Fi chips.

In that case, if the iPhone is connected to a 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi network (the Watch isn't compatible with 5Ghz Wi-Fi networks), the Watch attempts to make contact with it over Wi-Fi. That means the supported distance between the devices, in that case, is anywhere that Wi-Fi can reach. While that's not necessarily a lot farther apart than with Bluetooth, it does mean that the Watch and iPhone can communicate with each other when they're in the same building, for example.

The Apple Watch primarily relies on Bluetooth because Bluetooth uses less power than Wi-Fi. So while the Apple Watch can use Wi-Fi to communicate with the iPhone, it falls back to Bluetooth as often as it can to preserve battery power.

Can You Use Apple Watch Without a Phone?

Even if the Apple Watch and iPhone are so far apart that they're out of range for both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, there are many ways to use an Apple Watch without an iPhone. Some of the things you can do with an Apple Watch that don't require an iPhone include:

Unlimited Range: Apple Watch With Cellular

The significant exception to everything in this article is the Apple Watch with Cellular models. These models aren't limited to connecting via Bluetooth (or, as a fallback, Wi-Fi). These models access the internet over 4G LTE cellular networks like smartphones do.

That means that these Apple Watches can perform tasks and make connections anywhere that there's a 4G LTE network (as long as they have an active monthly plan with a phone company, that is).

If you've got an Apple Watch with Cellular, the things you can do without a connection to an iPhone include:

  • How far does the Walkie Talkie reach on Apple Watch?

    There are no distance limitations when you use the Apple Watch Walkie-Talkie app. The Walkie-Talkie function uses FaceTime audio over the internet. As long as both Apple Watches have a working internet connection, Walkie-Talkie will work.

  • How do I turn on Bluetooth on an Apple Watch?

    Press the digital crown to reveal the apps screen. Tap Settings > Bluetooth > tap the Bluetooth switch.

  • How do I unpair an Apple Watch?

    To unpair an Apple Watch, open the Apple Watch app on the iPhone and tap My Watch > i > Unpair Apple Watch. Or open the apps screen and select Settings > General > Erase All Content and Settings. Enter your password and select Erase All.

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