How does Apple Watch 3 lte really works?

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by ANTAWNM26, Sep 22, 2017.

  1. ANTAWNM26 macrumors 6502a

    ANTAWNM26

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2009
    #1
    Hearing different scenarios as to how this watch exactly works.
    1. Do your phone have to be on to use cellular?
    2. In order to work on WiFi calling does your phone has to be on or recently paired to that WiFi?
    3. She. Is it actually using your phones data or cellular?
     
  2. edhchoe macrumors 6502a

    edhchoe

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2011
    #2
    I have unlimited plan. so I don't know about 3.
    1. the phone can be off and even sim card taken out. it doesn't matter. watch lte works.
    2. yes if your phone can automatically join the wifi network, your watch will join that network even with your phone turned off.
     
  3. TheColtr macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2014
    Location:
    California
    #3
    1) your phone doesn’t have to be on. It has its own connection to the cellular network, it even has its own number, but your carrier automatically forwards calls and texts to your watch to make it look like you’re sharing the same phone number.

    2) WiFi calling doesn’t require your phone either. As long as you have activated WiFi calling you can make and receive calls over known and connected WiFi networks without needing your phone at all.

    3) if the watch is in proximity of your phone it will share your phone data connection (like non- Lte watches) to save battery. When the watch is away from the phone (or the phone is dead) the watch will try to connect to known WiFi networks. If there are no known WiFi networks it will connect to LTE and run completely on its own cellular connection.

    Hope this cleared things up. I tried to be as clear as I could.
     
  4. dave006 Contributor

    dave006

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    Jul 3, 2008
    Location:
    Just West of East
    #4
    You got most of it correct with one exception. The AT&T NumberSync Apple Watch (GPS & LTE) requires that your iPhone be powered on and connected to AT&T via a cellular connection or via Wi-Fi Calling to support sending / receiving of SMS/MMS Txt message to your paired LTE watch.

    Dave
     
  5. TheColtr macrumors 6502

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    Feb 1, 2014
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    California
    #5
    I’ve always been under the impression that you can make and receive SMS without needing the phone, however the few people I regularly text are all iMessage, and for that rare case I do use SMS my phone is never off. If that is true then it seems like a rather large flaw for a device that is actively connected to the cellular network. I haven’t tried it, but it may work differently with the watch since it’s actually tied to the cell network.
     
  6. ANTAWNM26 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    ANTAWNM26

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    Jun 14, 2009
    #6
    Thanks. That got me what I needed. Apple didn’t do a great job explaining
     
  7. edhchoe, Sep 22, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2017

    edhchoe macrumors 6502a

    edhchoe

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2011
    #7
    That is not so good.

    Edit: T mobile is not able to call currently either with the phone turned off.
    AW3 on LTE is able to send and receive texts and Siri works (because connection to internet is on) but I cannot make phone call if the iphone is turned off.
     
  8. ANTAWNM26 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    ANTAWNM26

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2009
    #8
    Oh boy that’s not good at all. What’s the use of having cellular if your phone has to be on. I figured if it’s stand alone lte it doesn’t need any help
     
  9. dave006 Contributor

    dave006

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    Just West of East
    #9
    The Apple Watch LTE is not actively connected to the cellular network. It only uses the LTE as a last resort if Bluetooth and or Wi-Fi are not available. LTE is still a big power drain on the watch battery.

    The SMS/MMS issue is related to being able to sync the SMS/MMS Txt messaged between the iPhone and the Watch.

    Here is the relevant AT&T text: SMS/MMS text messaging requires that your synced smartphone must be powered on so SMS/MMS messages may be forwarded to your watch. iMessage must be enabled and your smartphone must be connected to the AT&T network via either a cellular or Wi-Fi connection. If using a Wi-Fi connection, your smartphone must have Wi-Fi calling activated.

    Source: https://www.att.com/shop/wireless/features/numbersync.html#tab5 (Fine Print at bottom of page)

    Dave
     
  10. Lobwedgephil macrumors 601

    Lobwedgephil

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    Apr 7, 2012
    #10
    You can't send a text unless you phone is on, on at&t.
     
  11. DblHelix macrumors 6502

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    Mar 19, 2009
    #11
    When Apple finally adds syncing of messages to cloud it should push to the watch if phone is off I would assume
     
  12. ANTAWNM26 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    ANTAWNM26

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    Jun 14, 2009
    #12
    My question is: is this truly a stand alone lte watch?
     
  13. Binarymix macrumors 65816

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    Nov 1, 2007
    #13
    I made a call from my Watch with my phone powered off. It was the only way to get LTE to kick in when my phone was right there :) Otherwise it just uses the phones lte. It’s pretty seamless the way the watch switches to networks (wifi, phone LTE, stand-alone LTE) based on any given scenario.
     
  14. ANTAWNM26 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    ANTAWNM26

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    Jun 14, 2009
    #14
    Why is some people saying you can’t do that
     
  15. RMSko macrumors 6502

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    Sep 3, 2010
    #15
    Am I right that it just needs to be on, but it doesn't need to be in range, i.e., if my phone is on in California, I'll still get a text in NY as long as my phone is on?
     
  16. hlfway2anywhere macrumors 65816

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    #16
    Where are you seeing people say that?
     
  17. Binarymix macrumors 65816

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    Nov 1, 2007
    #17
    I don't know, maybe it's network differences, I'm with Bell in Canada.
     
  18. GrumpyMom macrumors G3

    GrumpyMom

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    Sep 11, 2014
    #18
    Does Verizon have this requirement too? I am on AT&T but curious if it's better on Verizon.
     
  19. RMSko macrumors 6502

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    Sep 3, 2010
    #19
    I confirmed that it works as long as the phone is on. The phone does NOT need to be near the watch for it to work. Since I never turn off my phone, this is a non-issue for me.
     
  20. dave006 Contributor

    dave006

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    #20
    Yes, Verizon calls it NumberShare. Here is the info from Verizon:

    The ability to make and receive texts is only available when the Apple Watch LTE host smartphone is powered on and has a working internet connection.

    Dave
     
  21. ANTAWNM26 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    ANTAWNM26

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    Jun 14, 2009
    #21
    In this thread
     
  22. ANTAWNM26 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    ANTAWNM26

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    Jun 14, 2009
    #22
    What carrier?
     
  23. dave006 Contributor

    dave006

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    Jul 3, 2008
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    Just West of East
    #23
    No it is designed to be paired to an iPhone. When ever possible it will use the lowest power option for activity on the watch. When your iPhone is nearby: it starts with Bluetooth, then Wi-Fi and finally LTE if that is the only connectivity that is available. Note that LTE is a big power consumer of the available LTE Watch battery.

    It can also be used while away from your iPhone but there a restrictions. The watch can't establish new Wi-Fi connections, it can only connect to a Wi-Fi network that the paired iPhone has connected to aka a know Network.

    Would you consider it a truly stand alone LTE watch??

    Dave
     
  24. MrGuder macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2012
    #24
    This thread has proven very useful. I thought the new LTE Apple Watch worked like your iPhone always using cellular data. I was not aware it first used Bluetooth then it will use wifi then if neither are available last resort it uses LTE.

    I'm on Verizon old unlimited plan so my iPhone always stays on LTE. I'm never concerned about data since its unlimited so I never connect to wifi.

    I want to buy an Apple watch but just don't think it's for me and my unlimited Verizon plan. Seems I'd have to change my usage pattern by using Bluetooth and always connecting to wifi so that the Apple Watch would perform best. Then I thought I'd opt for the wifi Apple Watch but that would be no different since my iPhone is constantly on LTE.
     
  25. mk313 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2012
    #25
    A somewhat related question, if you are in range of the phone and answer a call but walk out of Bluetooth range while still on the call, will the call kick over to use the watches internal cellular connection or will the call drop?
     

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127 September 22, 2017