Is It Worth Getting Cellular on Apple Watch?

In the ever-evolving landscape of technology, the Apple Watch has emerged as a game-changing device that blends fashion with functionality. It is a powerful, personal piece of technology that can be customized to suit various needs, from tracking fitness activities to managing notifications. Among the myriad of features offered by this device, one aspect often debated is the utility and value of having cellular connectivity on an Apple Watch.

With a cellular-enabled Apple Watch, users can enjoy most of its functionalities independent of an iPhone. They can make calls, send texts, stream music, and use various apps directly from their wrists, even if their iPhone isn’t nearby. This characteristic presents a level of convenience and flexibility that has the potential to redefine the user’s interaction with technology.

Deciding whether to invest in a cellular Apple Watch can be a complex decision that balances personal needs, cost, and the benefits derived. This comprehensive article offers an in-depth analysis, examining the pros and cons of cellular connectivity on an Apple Watch, its alternatives, and its real-world implications.

What is Cellular Functionality on Apple Watch?

Cellular functionality on an Apple Watch allows the device to connect directly to a mobile data network, just like an iPhone. This feature facilitates the watch’s ability to function independently of an iPhone, leveraging the power of a cellular network to send messages, make calls, stream music, and more. A key highlight is that it can connect to the internet and use apps that require data without relying on a Wi-Fi network or an iPhone.

The Pros of Cellular on Apple Watch

The cellular capability of an Apple Watch brings a multitude of benefits to the user.

Independence from iPhone

One of the most significant advantages is the liberty from constantly carrying around an iPhone. Users can leave their phones at home and still stay connected, which can be particularly useful during physical activities like running, swimming, or cycling.

Streaming Music and Podcasts Without Phone

Music enthusiasts can stream their favorite songs and podcasts directly from their Apple Watch. This is especially beneficial during workouts, eliminating the need to carry a separate device or pre-load the content.

Making Calls and Sending Texts From the Wrist

The convenience of answering calls and replying to messages right from your wrist cannot be understated. It ensures users are always connected, even in scenarios where carrying an iPhone is impractical or impossible.

Use of GPS and Other Apps Without iPhone Nearby

With cellular on your Apple Watch, you can navigate using GPS, book a ride, or order food using apps even when your iPhone isn’t within range.

The Cons of Cellular on Apple Watch

While the advantages are appealing, it’s crucial to consider the potential downsides of cellular on an Apple Watch.

Higher Initial Cost

Cellular models of the Apple Watch cost more upfront compared to their non-cellular counterparts. This price difference can be a deciding factor for budget-conscious consumers.

Additional Monthly Carrier Fees

To activate and use the cellular functionality, users have to subscribe to a plan with a carrier, which incurs an additional monthly fee. These costs can add up over time, making it a significant investment.

Impact on Battery Life

Cellular connectivity tends to drain the battery faster, reducing the time between charges. For those who prioritize longer battery life, this could be a concern.

Coverage Issues Depending on Service Provider

Lastly, the efficacy of the cellular feature on your Apple Watch is subject to the quality of service provided by your carrier. Users may face coverage issues in areas with weak cellular signals.

Who Should Consider Getting Cellular on Their Apple Watch?

Individuals leading active lifestyles and often partake in outdoor activities can benefit greatly from having cellular on their Apple Watch. Athletes, hikers, and adventurers who rely on GPS tracking and emergency communication can stay connected even in remote areas without relying on their iPhones. Additionally, individuals who frequently leave their iPhones behind, either due to work requirements or personal preference, can enjoy the freedom and convenience of a cellular Apple Watch.

Is It Necessary to Have Cellular on Your Apple Watch?

Determining the necessity of cellular on an Apple Watch depends on individual needs and preferences. While cellular connectivity provides a range of conveniences, it may not be essential for everyone. Users who always have their iPhones nearby and rarely engage in activities where carrying a phone is impractical may find the non-cellular version of the Apple Watch sufficient for their needs. It’s crucial to assess how frequently the independence and additional features provided by cellular connectivity would be utilized to justify the added cost.

Alternatives to Cellular on Apple Watch

For those hesitant to invest in a cellular Apple Watch, it’s important to note that there are alternatives available. The non-cellular version of the Apple Watch, also known as the GPS-only model, provides extensive functionality without cellular connectivity. This version relies on a paired iPhone for internet access and communication. While it doesn’t offer the same level of independence, it can still perform numerous tasks, such as tracking workouts, receiving notifications, and running apps that don’t require a data connection.

Case Study: Experiences with Cellular on Apple Watch

To provide a well-rounded view, let’s explore the experiences of users who have embraced cellular on their Apple Watches. It’s important to note that individual experiences may vary based on factors such as carrier, location, and personal usage patterns.

User Testimonials: Positive Experiences

  1. Mark, an avid cyclist, finds cellular on his Apple Watch invaluable during long rides. He can make emergency calls, stream music, and receive real-time directions without carrying his iPhone. It enhances his safety and convenience while exploring new routes.
  2. Sarah, a healthcare professional, appreciates the cellular feature when she’s on call. She can receive urgent messages and even make quick calls to colleagues without needing her iPhone nearby. It streamlines her workflow and ensures timely communication.

User Testimonials: Negative Experiences

  1. Alex, a frequent traveler, encountered coverage issues with his cellular Apple Watch during a trip to a remote mountainous area. Despite having a renowned carrier, he faced unreliable connectivity, which limited his ability to use certain features. He now questions the necessity of cellular on his watch.
  2. Emma, a budget-conscious user, regrets opting for a cellular Apple Watch due to the additional monthly fees. She realized that she rarely used cellular capabilities and could have saved money by choosing the GPS-only model instead.

Frequently Asked Questions about Cellular on Apple Watch

To address common queries, here are answers to some frequently asked questions related to cellular on an Apple Watch:

How much does it cost to add cellular to your Apple Watch?

The cost of adding cellular to an Apple Watch varies depending on the carrier and region. It typically involves an initial activation fee and an additional monthly charge.

Can you use an Apple Watch without an iPhone?

Yes, you can use an Apple Watch without an iPhone, but certain features and functionalities may be limited. The watch can perform basic functions like tracking fitness activities, displaying notifications, and playing music stored on the device. However, for more advanced features like making calls and using data-intensive apps, an iPhone or cellular connectivity is necessary.

How does cellular work on an Apple Watch?

Cellular connectivity on an Apple Watch relies on a built-in eSIM (electronic SIM) that connects to a mobile network. When you activate cellular on your Apple Watch, it establishes a direct connection to the carrier’s network, allowing you to make calls, send messages, stream music, and use data-intensive apps without relying on your iPhone or Wi-Fi.

Is cellular on Apple Watch worth the extra cost?

The worthiness of cellular on an Apple Watch depends on your personal needs and usage patterns. If you prioritize independence from your iPhone, engage in activities where carrying a phone is inconvenient, or require constant connectivity on the go, cellular can greatly enhance your Apple Watch experience. However, if you typically have your iPhone nearby and rarely find yourself in situations where cellular connectivity is crucial, you may find the non-cellular version of the Apple Watch more cost-effective.


Deciding whether it’s worth getting cellular on an Apple Watch requires careful consideration of your lifestyle, priorities, and budget. The convenience, independence, and additional features provided by cellular connectivity can be invaluable for active individuals, outdoor enthusiasts, and those who frequently leave their iPhones behind. However, it’s important to weigh the higher upfront cost, additional monthly fees, potential impact on battery life, and coverage issues that may arise with different carriers.

Ultimately, the decision should be based on your individual needs and preferences. By thoroughly evaluating the pros and cons, considering alternatives, and exploring real-world experiences, you can make an informed choice that aligns with your requirements.

We hope this comprehensive guide has provided valuable insights to help you navigate the decision-making process regarding cellular connectivity on your Apple Watch. Remember, technology is ever-evolving, and it’s essential to assess your needs and priorities as you embrace the future of wearable devices.

Sherry's editorial journey seamlessly merges with her passion for horology at WatchReflect. As a seasoned editor and watch enthusiast, she curates insightful guides that cater to novices and connoisseurs alike. With a penchant for research and a flair for storytelling, Sherry transforms horological complexities into engaging narratives. Her mission is to illuminate the path for those navigating the multifaceted realm of timekeeping.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x