Cellular Apple Watch Is Misleadingly Incapable

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by Dru_555, Oct 15, 2018.

  1. Dru_555 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2014
    #1
    To be able to receive SMS messages and voice calls, my phone still has to be powered on and connected to the same cellular network as my watch. Seriously?

    I got the watch so I could feel confident that, even when my phone dies, everything from family emergencies to sms authentication codes would be able to make their way to my wrist. Apparently not so. What’s more upsetting is Apple Store employees don’t seem to grasp this strange shortcoming and all Apple seems to do is let you believe the most obvious thing people will assume, without explicitly correcting you or informing their own sales staff otherwise, apparently.

    Am I crazy or is it not an implication of a cellular watch, which you add to your phone plan, that you will be able to now receive phone calls and sms messages, independently of your iPhone? If my phone dies, my cellular iPad and cellular Apple Watch are still utterly useless to exactly these two communication features of the phone plan they are on, the same two which are considered the most basic capability of a cellular device.
     
  2. Farrellcollie macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2011
    #3
    I do use the cellular function on my watch and I agree it's crap that the Sim card in the watch isn't a standalone Sim card so that you could just have a watch and not attached to a phone. I also think it's crap that, at least in the United States, you have to be on one of the four big companies and can't go to any of the smaller ones for your phone service and still be able to use the watch. But that is how it is right now
     
  3. StaceyMJ86 macrumors 68000

    StaceyMJ86

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2015
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #4
    I haven’t had any issues with my Watch not getting calls or sms when my phone dies. I even turned it off and left it at home when I went to the grocery store, and I still was able to use gps, and make a call.
     
  4. ipaddaro macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2014
    #5
    i confirm that it is not possibile to make/receive phone calls through cellular if your iphone is not on and connected to the same cellular network. i was also aware of that thanks to an italian review on youtube.

    it is quite limiting, if i forget/leave my phone at home i'd be sure it is on and connected all day long.

    it happens to me at the gym. I leave my phone in the locker room, which is under ground, and because the iphone is not able to connect the the network when in the locker, i can't use cellular network during workout. i can only use wi-fi...
     
  5. akash.nu macrumors 604

    akash.nu

    Joined:
    May 26, 2016
    #6
    You were probably getting FaceTime calls and iMessage, not cellular dependent features.
     
  6. akash.nu macrumors 604

    akash.nu

    Joined:
    May 26, 2016
    #7
    Does your gym WiFi have a login page or just a username and password shared by everyone?
     
  7. rdy0329 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2012
    #8
    I think this might be more of a security concern rather than an outright overlooked feature. AFAIK eSim on the watch has it’s own mobile number, they might be employing some type of call forwarding that might require the host phone to be ON all the time.
     
  8. ipaddaro macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2014
    #9
    the second one...
     
  9. Dru_555 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2014
    #10
    I have just confirmed that voice calls do seem to come through on the watch while my iPhone is off. I also discovered another issue while testing. When my watch disconnects from my phone, either because the phone dies or becomes too far away, my watch will default to wifi networks the phone knows. Once out of range of a network it can connect to, the watch automatically turns on cellular. So, when your phone is not connected to your watch, but your watch is still connected to familiar wifi, phone calls don’t come in. Not unless you manually toggle cellular on from control centre on the watch, or manually toggle off wifi from the same place. Weird flaw and SMS still don’t want to come to the watch when my phone is off.
     
  10. ipaddaro macrumors regular

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    Dec 6, 2014
    #11
    so, it is possible to receive calls on cellular when phone is off? what about if you are not connected to wi fi?
     
  11. Dru_555 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2014
    #12
    Your watch should be able to connect to the wifi if your phone has been connected to it before. And because it is likely automatically connecting to wifi, it’s not defaulting to cellular and thus is leaving cellular disabled, leaving you unable to receive phone calls (unless you manually turn cellular on or wifi off, from the Apple Watch Control Centre)
     
  12. ipaddaro macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2014
    #13
    the first time i tried it was not connected to wi fi because i never registered it to the iphone (since i always left it in the locker). so cellular didn't worked although the aw was NOT connected to wi fi.
     
  13. Dru_555 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2014
    #14
    It’s possible and actually should work automatically if you’re not connected to wifi. It’s when your phone is off but you’re still within the range of a familiar access point that your watch automatically saves power by leaving your cellular connection inactive, leaving you to either manually enable it or not be reachable by phone call.

    This all still does nothing to address the lack of ability to get SMS verification or two factor authentication codes on the watch without the phone on and connected to the network, sadly.
     
  14. Dru_555 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2014
    #15
    OHHHH ok of course in this case it won’t activate cellular, even without a familiar wifi or Bluetooth connection to your phone, because the cellular toggle in the Apple Watch Control Centre is like many of the other toggles in the iPhone’s control centre in the way that they don’t really universally toggle anything, but rather toggle within context. If I turn on cellular, I see that it’s already on for the watch but just suppressed by Watch OS’s belief that I won’t need the connection while I’m connected to my phone or to wifi (kinda like how turning wifi off from the control centre on your iPhone will not disable wifi on your device but just terminate that one wifi connection you had at the time of toggling it, and only for a certain period of time)

    If you haven’t added your watch to your cell phone plan, it absolutely will not automatically connect to the network, in any circumstance. (Maybe not even if you try to use Emergency SOS, although I hope that could at least go through like calling 911 with a phone with no SIM card in it)
     
  15. StaceyMJ86 macrumors 68000

    StaceyMJ86

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2015
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #16
    I don’t FaceTime very often and I think I would know the different from a regular call and a FaceTime call. Also not all of my contacts have iPhones so I know it’s not FaceTime and iMessage when I get a call or message.
     
  16. ipaddaro macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2014
    #17
    i have a cell phone plan that includes also apple watch.

    tonight at the gym i'll try to check if cell on AW is on in any case
    --- Post Merged, Oct 16, 2018 ---
    UPDATE:

    just tried in the office: cellular works perfectly also with iphone offline. you just have to turn off wi fi.
    can't figure out why it didn't work while in the gym.. i'll try again asap because i'm still missing something
     
  17. BillGates1969 macrumors 6502

    BillGates1969

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2008
    Location:
    Bournemouth
    #18
    I have had Cellular on my AW3 for about a year now in the UK on EE.

    If I go out without my phone (it is on) - I can make/receive calls/iMessage/text/mail
    If I go out without my phone (it is off) - I can receive make/calls/iMessage/mail (SMS doesn't work)
    if I go out without phone (it is off) and my AW picks up a known WiFi - I can make/receive calls/iMessage/mail (SMS doesn't work)

    Not sure where all the issues are here, but the above work for me.
     
  18. Broken Hope macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2015
    #19
    The only thing your phone is required for is forwarding SMS and notifications from apps that don’t have a watch app e.g WhatsApp.

    I just switched on airplane mode on my phone and my watch had no issues receiving a cellular call.
     
  19. akash.nu macrumors 604

    akash.nu

    Joined:
    May 26, 2016
    #20
    Ah that’s why you can at least use the WiFi functionality. My gym has a interstitial login page which means my watch can’t connect to any network.
     
  20. akash.nu macrumors 604

    akash.nu

    Joined:
    May 26, 2016
    #21
    Ok as far as I understood cellular features don’t work when the phone is turned off. If it does then that’s awesome.

    Loads of discussions in my other thread.

    Do you really use the cellular functionality on your  Watch?
    https://r.tapatalk.com/shareLink?sh...nality-on-your--Watch?.2146149/&share_type=t
     
  21. tromboneaholic Suspended

    tromboneaholic

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2004
    Location:
    Clearwater, FL
    #22
    I believe the option to turn wifi off was added to WatchOS in part to force the watch to make an LTE cellular connection instead of trying to connect to a weak wifi network that would prevent calls from going through. Are you sure the phone has to be on even if you have a strong wifi signal for the Watch (for calls)?
     
  22. musicpenguy macrumors 65832

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2006
    #23
    Phone calls absolutely work if your iPhone is dead - SMS is the only thing that requires it to be turned on because it relays it in a similar fashion to how it handles notifications.

    In actual use this is never a problem for me because I’m leaving my phone at home connected to a charger when I leave the house.
     
  23. techno-Zen, Oct 16, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2018

    techno-Zen macrumors 6502a

    techno-Zen

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2015
    Location:
    Gilbert, AZ
    #24
    I turn my iPhone off before going into the gym.. my Apple Watch works for Phone calls, SMS, Apple Music, Email, Podcasts and literally everything.

    This is with Wifi turned off

    I'm on T-Mobile btw
     
  24. tl01 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2010
    #25
    I am so confused. Are we saying the watch can't receive calls when we don't have our phone with us? I have received calls when I left my phone at home and drove to the grocery store. How was I doing that?
     

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92 October 15, 2018