Google WiFi - Can't unlock Watch w/iPhone or MacBook w/Watch

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by hipnetic, Mar 14, 2019 at 3:10 PM.

  1. hipnetic macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 5, 2010
    #1
    About a week ago I bought a Google WiFi 3-pack to replace my Apple Airport hub (most recent gen). The Airport was working OK, but in a couple spots of my house, the 5GHz signal strength wasn't great. Also, I liked the fact that the Google WiFI app for my iPhone would let me monitor usage, more easily allow guests access to our network, etc.

    I finally hooked up the Google WiFi hubs 2 days ago. During day 1 I hit an issue with WiFi Calling (side note: my house has poor cellular coverage for all carriers - I'm with AT&T - I get about one bar of AT&T coverage inside my house). Because WiFi Calling has never been great for me in terms of handing off the connection (my iPhones will too often want to latch onto that 1-bar of cell signal instead of using WiFi Calling), so I've started putting my iPhone into Airplane mode at home, to force it to use WiFi Calling. Well, in Airplane mode I tried making a call on day 1 and got an error message on my iPhone telling me that I needed to either disable Airplane mode or connect to WiFi, but I was connected to WiFi just fine, and confirmed it by pulling up some websites in Safari. It turns out that there's a longstanding known issue with Google WiFi and WiFi Calling.

    One supposed fix/workaround was to change the DNS settings. I tried that and it seemed to work day 1, but then day 2 I had the same issue again. The other workaround that several people claim works is to go into the Google WiFi app and tell it to give your iPhone priority (whatever the wording is). I didn't even bother trying that, because that's not an acceptable workaround, as I may have other people in the house who also need to use WiFi Calling.

    Sorry for all of that extra background, because that has nothing to do with the Apple Watch. So on day 2 I ran into another issue which I assumed was due to Google WiFi, but maybe it was just a coincidence and was caused by something else, so I figured I'd post about it here...I couldn't unlock my Apple Watch with my iPhone and I couldn't unlock my MacBook with my (manually unlocked) Apple Watch.

    If the problem isn't Google WiFi, the other theory is that I recently bought an iPhone SE as an experiment to see if I could be happy using it instead of the iPhone XS I recently upgraded to, and I just so happened to re-pair my Apple Watch with the iPhone SE on day 1, so I was introducing multiple variables into the mix. So it's possible that by switching from one iPhone to another, I caused something some confusion. But once I hit this issue and couldn't seem to resolve it, I decided to unplug all of my Google WiFi hubs and switch back to the Apple Airport. After doing that, I was able to unlock my Apple Watch with my iPhone and unlock my MacBook with my Apple Watch. So it sure seems like the culprit was Google WiFi.

    Has anyone else run into this and, if so, are you aware of a fix? I didn't see anything in the Google support forums about this issue.
     
  2. MisterSavage macrumors 6502

    MisterSavage

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2018
    #2
    I think it might be a coincidence. I unlock my iMac with my watch constantly. I'm fairly certain my phone unlocks my watch at home, but I'll try to remember to verify this weekend.

    Another reason that's not a great workaround is that you can only give a device priority for a maximum of four hours from the Google Wifi app. You'd have to keep doing it over and over again.
     
  3. hipnetic thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 5, 2010
    #3
    Yup, I was aware of that, too, and that would have been another unacceptable aspect to it.

    I'm assuming that you have a decent cell signal at your house and don't need to care about WiFi Calling?
     
  4. MisterSavage macrumors 6502

    MisterSavage

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2018
    #4
    It's not great but I guess it's sufficient. I use iMessage or Facetime for communicating with most people and don't make many cell phone calls from home.

    I did find this Reddit thread where someone suggested that port forwarding is a permanent solution for multiple iPhones in a home.

    https://www.reddit.com/r/GoogleWiFi...get_att_wifi_calling_to_work_properly/e3rq07o
     
  5. hipnetic thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 5, 2010
    #5
    Ah, thanks, maybe I'll give it another go and try that out. It's not really acceptable that I should have to do that, and it won't help guests in the house, but it might be "good enough" for me to give them a 2nd chance. I think I saw mention of this "fix" in the other thread I found that had the DNS "fix" (that only worked temporarily), but the person who posted it didn't give nearly enough detail to work off of. This thread you've linked to looks to have all of the necessary details.

    My other thought, though, is to just return it and buy one or two more Apple Airport Extremes (802.11ac), and hard-wire them via ethernet. From what I've read recently, Apple devices (maybe others) should seamlessly transition from one to another as you move around the house. The iOS app for the Airport doesn't offer some of the neat features that the modern mesh system apps offer. I personally don't need any sort of "family-friendly" features, as our only child is 20 years old. I would like to monitor traffic of devices, to see if something is behaving oddly. And it was nice with the Google WiFi app to be able to grant WiFi access to other iPhones in the house, so that we didn't have to type in the password (though the bigger hassle is with devices like TVs where you have to use a remote control and on-screen keyboard and that feature apparently doesn't work for those things).
     
  6. MisterSavage macrumors 6502

    MisterSavage

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2018
    #6
    So funny story, I went to and looked and WiFi calling was off on my iPhone. I remember now that I disabled it when I took a vacation overseas. I turned it back on, put myself in airplane mode, and was able to make a phone call just fine. I'm not sure why it's working for me.

    Personally I wouldn't do that. Apple discontinued it in early 2018. Even if they're still supporting it with security updates how long can you expect that on a discontinued product?
     
  7. hipnetic thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2010
    #7
    it works fine initially but thennstops working. Report back in a few days if it’s still working for you.
     

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