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

Apple Store Watches

  • 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 homepage 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 $999 at Apple)

Apple Watch Series 4 (From $399 at Apple)

Apple Watch Series 3 (From $279 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 Center 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 colored blue when turned on and gray when off.

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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 gray gear icon).

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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 gray), 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.

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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).

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7. Tap “Join.”

Related coverage from How To Do Everything: Tech:

  • A beginner’s guide to the Apple Watch: How to use its buttons and gestures, start workouts, and more

  • How to add music and other audio to your Apple Watch and listen to it from the watch

  • How to add app complications to your Apple Watch, and customize them for optimal use

  • How to use Apple Pay on an Apple Watch

SEE ALSO: 10 Apple Watch bands that look great and cost under $25

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