Should you buy a mobile Apple Watch? Here’s everything to consider

The Apple Watch series comes in a variety of options and configurations ranging from different case materials, colors, sizes and more. However, one of the most important things to consider is whether or not you should buy an Apple Watch with cellular connectivity.

An Apple Watch with LTE lets you go out into the world without your iPhone and still stay connected. It’s a useful feature, but it comes at a cost.

Which Apple Watch models offer cellular?

According to Apple:

Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch Ultra, and Apple Watch SE cellular models with an active service plan let you make calls, text messages, and more, all without your iPhone. You can make a call to emergency services when traveling abroad by simply pressing and holding the side button. And now, with Family Setup, your family members who don’t have an iPhone can use the Apple Watch.

Apple currently sells the Apple Watch SE, Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Ultra. Apple Watch SE starts at $249 with GPS connectivity and $299 with GPS and cellular. Meanwhile, the Apple Watch Series 8 starts at $399 for GPS and $499 for cellular and GPS.

One thing to consider though is this: Apple Watch Series 8 in stainless steel, Apple Watch Series 8 Hermès and Apple Watch Ultra are only available with GPS and cellular connection. This indicates that your Apple Watch will have the necessary hardware for cellular connectivity, but you’ll have to decide whether or not you want to pay the monthly price.

Mobile costs

Most plans will cost you around $10 a month, which is still a lot cheaper than many iPhone plans. You may be able to get a deal on a cell phone plan if you buy a watch directly from a carrier like Verizon or AT&T.

It’s also important to keep in mind that if you buy a standard Apple Watch with GPS, you cannot add a mobile subscription later. You must purchase an Apple Watch GPS + Cellular to access a subscription now or in the future.

You don’t need to have your iPhone handy

For those who want to get used to leaving their iPhone behind in favor of an Apple Watch, it makes sense to have a mobile subscription. Especially for those who run or walk – with a cellular model, you don’t need to carry a bulky iPhone with you to access calls, texts, music, etc. Paired with AirPods, you can answer calls, listen to music and more without your iPhone nearby.

But if you always have your iPhone with you, the phone might not be worth it. When making the decision, consider your current iPhone usage to see if a mobile Apple Watch might be eligible.

Emergency SOS on Apple Watch

If you want to call emergency services from your Apple Watch and don’t have a cellular plan, you can still do so, but only if you’re connected to a known Wi-Fi network. Apple says:

To use Emergency SOS on an Apple Watch that doesn’t have a cellular phone, your iPhone must be nearby. If your iPhone isn’t nearby, your Apple Watch must be connected to a known Wi-Fi network and you’ll need to set up Wi-Fi calling.

When you make a call with Emergency SOS, your Apple Watch automatically calls local emergency services and shares your location with them.

This is one of the most important things to consider. If you plan to do without your iPhone, a mobile Apple Watch can give you peace of mind. Apple Watch offers a variety of health features, and mobile is undoubtedly a health feature as well.

Family setup

Family Setup is popular with parents who want to be able to contact their children without owning an iPhone. Using this feature, the parent can set up a mobile Apple Watch for their child on their personal iPhone. The child can then use their Apple Watch to make calls, send texts, or use any other available feature, all with their own phone number and Apple ID. With Family Setup, the parent’s iPhone does not need to be nearby.

Some reasons to choose this option include the fact that it is more cost effective. Not only is the device cheaper than most iPhones, but it’s also cheaper to add a data plan and insure with Apple Care+. Since Apple Watches are also worn on the wrist, they tend to be a little more difficult to drop.

watchOS 9.1 enables download of Apple Music via Wi-Fi or mobile without charging

Finally, if you choose an Apple Watch instead of an iPhone, your child can stay behind a screen less, which is something many parents aim to do. There are parental controls to make Apple Watch work for you. For example, there is a school time feature that disables access to apps and notifications when the child is at school.

General thoughts

For most people, the Apple Watch with mobile is probably the right decision. Although there is a higher price associated with it, it unlocks a number of the Apple Watch’s best features and helps it to be truly independent of your iPhone.

Also remember that you can buy Apple Watch with a mobile phone and not activate it. This could be a good option if you plan to keep the Apple Watch for several years, because one day you may decide that you want or need the mobile after all.

Hopefully one day we won’t even have to have this debate and all Apple Watch models will come standard with cellular so it’s up to everyone to enable it or not. But for now, it’s a decision you have to make when buying an Apple Watch.


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