Yes, they can. But their functionality without a phone is reduced. Depending on the model (with or without e-SIM card), the capabilities of the watch will vary. For example, you can still use the functions of a smart bracelet, such as tracking your activity (running, swimming, pulse). Tickets for flights or to the cinema (Wallet application), contactless payment (NFC), listening to previously downloaded music or podcasts (iWatch have their own internal storage), managing smart home functions (with the appropriate apps), using as a remote control for Apple TV – all these functions are available for use without an iPhone nearby.
Much also depends on the applications themselves. Some programs do not require any synchronization and are able to work autonomously on the clock (like the basic Workout, Activity, Apple Wallet applications), others require an Internet connection such as Wi-fi or Cellular (here the list expands and you can safely use Siri, social networks, Walkie-Talkie, and any other applications).
LTE or Non-LTE?
Not all countries have operators with eSIM support, but if your provider supports it, then with LTE versions in some cases you are not dependent on Wi-Fi availability. It all depends on your tasks. If your needs include the constant use of AW (for example, to track stocks, or you like to listen to music from the clock) and the phone is not always near you, the version with the cellular module is for you. However, if you don’t wear your watch separately from an iPhone, or there is always a Wi-Fi nearby, then it’s most likely that there’s no point in overpaying.
Separately, please note that long-term use of Apple Watch with LTE ON will drain your battery faster. When using LTE, the corresponding icon will be displayed in the Control Center.
What can you do by default with Wi-Fi or LTE enabled:
- Send and receive messages (the watch must be paired with the phone or eSIM must be available, but the presence of a phone nearby is not necessary).
- Make calls and receive calls (similar to the previous item. When using Wi-Fi, make sure that you have the option enabled for making calls on Wi-Fi. If it is not available, an attempt will be made to connect via FaceTime).
- Check the weather
- Set reminders
- Use Walkie-Talkie
- Listen to music, podcasts, audiobooks, radio.
- Use Siri
- Check stocks
- Use any other apps that require an active internet connection.
Let’s describe in more detail the available offline functions.
Tracking sports activity
Starting with Series 2, using the Workout app you can track your sports activities (running, swimming). To do this, you absolutely do not need a phone nearby, and you can listen to music in advance by downloading it to your device or using LTE. For this, Bluetooth headphones like Earbuds or similar are well suited.
Please note that only from Series 2 the design of watches has changed with the addition of tightness and protection against water, thanks to which it became possible to use them during swimming.
To account for calories, heart rate, activity time and other indicators, the standard application from Apple is perfect, but you can use any other third-party applications from other various developers.
Before starting any sport for devices below Series 2, it is recommended to calibrate the GPS sensor. In the older version of iWatches, there is a built-in sensor that improves the accuracy of the data. For lovers of even greater control of their body, you can separately purchase an external pulse monitor or a fitness tracker.
Playing synchronized music
Apple Watch is equipped with up to 16 GB of memory, in which you can safely load your tracks and listen to them in any convenient place (both during cycling, running, and during normal working days). The device supports Bluetooth protocol, through which you can connect headphones and enjoy your favorite playlist.
Time display, setting the alarm
It would be quite strange if the iWatch required the presence of an iPhone nearby to perform its direct function – the display of time. Do not be afraid to forget the phone in case you need to set an alarm to remind you of an important meeting or event. A timer is also available.
Starting with Series 4, the screen has become larger, which allows you to better see or understand the essence of the photo sent to you. This does not replace the large display of the phone, but in order to understand what is shown in the picture is enough.
Apple Watch has a built-in NFC module that allows you to pay for goods at payment terminals that also support this feature. To do this, you first need to add your card to Apple Pay by entering its data and activating. Some bank applications allow you to add a card immediately from their application. Next, you need to double-click on the lock button and bring the clock to the payment terminal.
The watch will be a great acquisition for owners of old iPhones like 5, 5С 5S in which the contactless payment module was not provided (it was added from version 6).
Read messages and Mail
All previously synchronized and cached messages are available on your watch regardless of the presence or absence of an Internet connection.
What is the difference between the Series of Apple Watch
With different versions of watches, Apple has added and improved its product. From release to release, features like waterproof, increased memory capacity, and the ability to register an EKG were added. But all these improvements relate specifically to the hardware component, in the software, the operating system on all watches is the same, and the available applications run on all versions of the clock (unlike the iPhone models, where some of the applications may fail to update the iOS).
Changes in the main versions of Apple Watch:
- Series 0 or Original – had IPX7 protection, which does not support full water resistance, the only protection against splashes. There was no GPS sensor, worked on the S1 processor and had 8 GB of internal memory. Currently not available for sale.
- Series 1 – minor changes, improved processor.
- Series 2 – processor S2, watchOS 2 and added protection against water at a depth of 50 meters. Also added a GPS sensor for better tracking.
- Series 3 – added support for cellular networks, magnetometer and light sensor – the clock began to respond to the elevation. Added improved support for Siri, updated operating system.
- Series 4 – update aimed at monitoring health indicators. One of the main functions is the ECG, which was approved by the FDA in the United States (as of this writing, it has become available in European countries). An electrocardiogram can basically only detect arrhythmias. Fall Detection is also introduced (relevant for strokes, cerebral circulation disorders, and other life-threatening conditions). When registering a fall, the clock waits for a response from the user, in the absence of which an emergency SOS message is sent.