How to connect your Apple Watch to a Wi-Fi connection and unlock all of its features

REUTERS/Mike SegarYou can connect your Apple Watch to the same Wi-Fi network as your iPhone.
  • Knowing how to connect your Apple Watch to Wi-Fi can unlock a whole host of new features.
  • You can use an Apple Watch without a Wi-Fi connection or a paired iPhone, but you won’t be able to receive messages, stream music, and more.
  • You can connect your Apple Watch to Wi-Fi using the Settings app on your watch.
  • Visit Business Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

To take full advantage of the many features of an Apple Watch, you must turn on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on your paired iPhone.

Below, we detail how to connect your Apple Watch to a Wi-Fi network, and which Apple Watch features are available with and without Wi-Fi.

Check out the products mentioned in this article:

iPhone XS (From $US999 at Apple)

Apple Watch Series 4 (From $US399 at Apple)

Apple Watch Series 3 (From $US279 at Apple)

Why you need Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on an Apple Watch

The Apple Watch communicates with its paired iPhone using Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. It can also use a cellular network to stay connected, but only the most recent models have this feature (Series 4 and Series 3). The Watch switches between these options automatically to create the most power-efficient connection.

How to turn on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on your Apple Watch’s paired iPhone

1. Open the Control Centre on your iPhone by swiping up from the bottom of any screen, or from the top-right of the screen on iPhone X models.

2. Tap the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth icons, which will be coloured blue when turned on and grey when off.

Abigail Abesamis/Business InsiderTurn on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on your paired iPhone.

If you don’t have your iPhone nearby, there are still several things you can do with your Apple Watch, such as track workouts using the Workout app, listen to podcasts stored on Apple Watch, make purchases using Apple Pay and (of course) check the time.

With a Wi-Fi or cellular connection, this list expands to include sending and receiving messages using iMessage, checking the weather, streaming music, or listening to the radio.

How to connect your Apple Watch to Wi-Fi

1. Ensure you have watchOS 5 or later, and update your Watch if necessary.

2. Open the Settings app on the Apple Watch (the grey gear icon).

Abigail Abesamis/Business InsiderOpen Settings on your Apple Watch.

3. Tap Wi-Fi. If you’re already connected to a Wi-Fi network via your iPhone or otherwise, the network name will appear here.

4. If Wi-Fi is turned off (the slider is grey), tap the slider to turn it on. The Apple Watch will automatically search for networks.

5. Choose the network you’d like to join by tapping on it. An Apple Support article notes that the Apple Watch can only connect to 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi networks. It can connect to networks your paired iPhone has joined previously while connected to the Apple Watch via Bluetooth. It won’t connect to public networks that require a login or subscription.

Abigail Abesamis/Business InsiderTurn on Wi-Fi and select the network you want to connect to.

6. If prompted, enter the password for the Wi-Fi network using Scribble, writing the letters on the Watch screen with your finger. If you need to change a scribbled character, turn the Digital Crown to see more options (including uppercase, lowercase, and alternative letters similar in shape to the one you scribbled).

Abigail Abesamis/Business InsiderDraw each letter of the password in the space provided.

7. Tap “Join.”

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