Watch has LTE but no data, any ideas why?

mikethebigo

macrumors 68000
Original poster
May 25, 2009
1,986
283
Hi everyone, just wondering if anyone else is experiencing an issue like this or has any ideas for troubleshooting?

I have a 44mm cellular series 4, on Verizon. I live in LA and my area is saturated with Verizon signal. When my watch is on its own without my phone, it never has less than 2 bars of signal.

What I've found, is if I walk out of my house with only my watch (obviously far enough away that it's neither connected to WiFi or my phone), it will show that I have cellular service and bars of signal, but data just won't work at all. Multiple apps (iMessage, Nano, etc) cannot load anything data related. However, if I make a call on my watch, it goes through.

If I turn cellular off and back on, suddenly everything works fine.

So I leave my stuff behind, have cellular service and signal, yet data refuses to work. I have tried resetting the watch. I've tried removing and re-adding the cellular plan. Nothing seems to work.

It's frustrating because I'd like to just mindlessly leave the phone and still be available by watch if my wife or kids need something. But the way it is now, I have to test my data every time I leave to make sure it's working, and reboot cellular if it isn't.

Does anyone else deal with something like this? Could it be a setting problem, like having wifi calling on? Could it be a verizon/tower problem? I'm not sure how to troubleshoot at this point.

Thank you for your help!
 

RonFromOregon

macrumors regular
Jul 16, 2008
101
67
[UPDATE TO BELOW: I stand corrected, my post below is not accurate as of watchOS 4. See this article for better info: https://www.imore.com/heres-what-apple-watch-can-do-without-iphone]

Not sure if this is part of the problem, but your phone still has to be powered up and online . Your watch's LTE service simply gets you a channel back to your phone, and all digital content goes through your phone. If your phone is offline for some reason, all you have is cellular (for phone calls) and SMS messages (but no iMessage).
 
Last edited:

mikethebigo

macrumors 68000
Original poster
May 25, 2009
1,986
283
Not sure if this is part of the problem, but your phone still has to be powered up and online. Your watch's LTE service simply gets you a channel back to your phone, and all digital content goes through your phone. If your phone is offline for some reason, all you have is cellular (for phone calls) and SMS messages (but no iMessage).
That’s not true, and just to be sure I just turned off my phone and turned off WiFi on the watch, through the cellular service on the watch alone I can load pages on Nano and stream music, it gets data independently. The only thing that I’m aware of that funnels through the phone is certain notifications.
 

Significant1

macrumors 6502a
Dec 20, 2014
809
257
Not sure if this is part of the problem, but your phone still has to be powered up and online. Your watch's LTE service simply gets you a channel back to your phone, and all digital content goes through your phone. If your phone is offline for some reason, all you have is cellular (for phone calls) and SMS messages (but no iMessage).
That’s not true, and just to be sure I just turned off my phone and turned off WiFi on the watch, through the cellular service on the watch alone I can load pages on Nano and stream music, it gets data independently. The only thing that I’m aware of that funnels through the phone is certain notifications.
From https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT205547
  1. To receive SMS from third-party apps, MMS from third-party apps, or push notifications from third-party apps on your cellular model of Apple Watch, your paired iPhone must be powered on and connected to Wi-Fi or cellular, but it doesn't need to be nearby. You also need to be signed in to iMessage on your iPhone.
I am not sure how the last sentence should be interpreted in regards to wether iMessage will work when the phone is offline.

I can't answer OP. Even though I have an LTE version, I haven't had much experience using it. But I would contact the network operator.
 

magicschoolbus

macrumors 68000
May 27, 2014
1,649
5,509
Verizon LTE Apple Watch owner here.. the service on it is very lackluster. I can only say the radios in the watch are simply not that good. I have dropped calls on my watch in places I would NEVER have dropped on my phone.. I also encounter a lot of dead spots. I have a S3..glad I got the cellular model on sale because after using the cell part of the watch.. it kinda sucks.. eats battery and the service is just terrible.
 
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