Apple Watch GPS -- can it do these things?

Saturn007

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 18, 2010
476
164
I'm confused about the capabilities of an Apple Watch without cellular service -- and, without an iPhone in one's pocket. I keep reading that with the Apple Watch GPS (non-cellular), one needs to have their iPhone with them... For example:
Is that right?

Well, let me ask this a different way. If I've left my phone at home, can I:

1. Play podcasts stored on the watch? (That requires Bluetooth ear buds, right?)

2. Track heart rate and take an EKG?

3. Measure distance walked and steps taken?

4. Use fall detection? Will it call EMS or does that require having a watch with cellular service? If the phone is in one's pocket, will it call?

5. Use an astronomy watch app? (Or, does the iPhone need to be in my pocket?)

6. Display the last weather information taken from the phone earlier in the day?

I'm sure this is all old hat for those in the know, but Apple doesn't explain any of this very well in its watch web pages.
 

tkermit

macrumors 68040
Feb 20, 2004
3,462
2,538
Yes to 1, 2, 3 and 6.

5 depends on the app, I think, and I'm not sure about 4.
 

MacCheetah3

macrumors 6502a
Nov 14, 2003
638
152
Central MN
I'm confused about the capabilities of an Apple Watch without cellular service -- and, without an iPhone in one's pocket. I keep reading that with the Apple Watch GPS (non-cellular), one needs to have their iPhone with them... For example:
Is that right?
Those instructions, warnings, whatnot are related to connectivity. So, without your iPhone near, the GPS-only watch can't send or receive messages, load any data from servers (weather, etc), make or receive calls, and similar. Additionally, as far as I've read, the watch uses an iPhone to assist with GPS calculations when possible (the same way an iPhone uses cellular towers to assist it when possible).
1. Play podcasts stored on the watch? (That requires Bluetooth ear buds, right?)
Yes.
2. Track heart rate and take an EKG?
Yes.
3. Measure distance walked and steps taken?
Yes.
4. Use fall detection? Will it call EMS or does that require having a watch with cellular service? If the phone is in one's pocket, will it call?
From what I've read, it should function if your iPhone is within BT range e.g. in your pocket.
5. Use an astronomy watch app? (Or, does the iPhone need to be in my pocket?)
This would be app dependent. Whether the app houses a complete database and if you use features such as that in which you can point your iPhone's camera anywhere in the sky and the map will automatically align/sync. That feature would probably require a Series 5, Series 6, or SE as it typically utilizes both the gyroscope and magnetometer (a.k.a. digital compass).
6. Display the last weather information taken from the phone earlier in the day?
I'm guessing no on this one because I haven't seen a weather app that caches data for long periods.
 

chucker23n1

macrumors 601
Dec 7, 2014
4,508
5,688
I'm confused about the capabilities of an Apple Watch without cellular service -- and, without an iPhone in one's pocket. I keep reading that with the Apple Watch GPS (non-cellular), one needs to have their iPhone with them... For example:
Is that right?

Well, let me ask this a different way. If I've left my phone at home, can I:

1. Play podcasts stored on the watch? (That requires Bluetooth ear buds, right?)
Yes, and yes.

2. Track heart rate and take an EKG?
Yes. EKG only on Series 6, not on the SE or Series 3.

3. Measure distance walked and steps taken?
Yes.

4. Use fall detection?
Yes (except for Series 3).

Will it call EMS or does that require having a watch with cellular service? If the phone is in one's pocket, will it call?
If your phone is with you, it'll call. If your watch has cellular, you don't need the phone with you.

5. Use an astronomy watch app? (Or, does the iPhone need to be in my pocket?)
Well, if that app needs Internet, it needs the phone, or to have cellular.

6. Display the last weather information taken from the phone earlier in the day?
Yes.
 
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