Cellular Apple Watch: is it worth it?


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In the current line of Apple watches, you can purchase a GPS + Cellular model for the Apple Watch Series 7 and Apple Watch SE. The launch of the Apple Watch Series 8 is only a couple of months away.

A cellular plan on your Apple Watch might be useful for those on the go, but might be overkill for others. However, should you buy it? Let’s dive into…

According to Apple:

Apple Watch Series 7 and Apple Watch SE models with active cellular data allow you to make calls, send text messages, and more—all without your iPhone. You can call emergency services while 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.

Associated Cellular Costs

To buy an Apple Watch SE with Cellular from Apple, you will pay an additional $50. To buy an Apple Watch Series 7 with cellular, you’ll pay an additional $100. Most plans will cost you around $10 per month, which is still a lot cheaper than many iPhone plans. You can get a discount on your cellular plan if you buy your watch directly from a carrier such as Verizon or AT&T.

It’s also important to remember that if you’re buying a standard Apple Watch with GPS, you cannot add a plan later. You must purchase an Apple Watch GPS + Cellular to access a data plan now or in the future.

No need to keep iPhone nearby

Since the Apple Watch was designed to keep users away from their iPhones, it makes sense to have a cellular data plan. Tailored for those who run or walk, with the cellular model, you don’t need to carry a bulky iPhone with you to access calls, texts, music, and more. Personally, I like this feature for doing quick errands. If I forget my iPhone, don’t worry, I still have a connection to the world through my wrist. Paired with AirPods, there is no need to constantly be on my iPhone.

However, if you find that your iPhone is always with you, cellular service may not be of any use to you. When making your decision, take into account your current iPhone usage to see if an Apple Watch with cellular can be justified.

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 it. Apple states:

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

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

Family setting

Family Setup is popular with parents who want to be able to communicate with their child without having their iPhone with them. With this feature, a parent can set up an Apple Watch for their child on their personal iPhone. The child can then use their Apple Watch to make calls, text messages, or use any other available feature with their own phone number and Apple ID. With Family Setup on iPhone, the parent doesn’t have to be nearby.

Some of the reasons for choosing this option include the fact that it is more economical. Not only is the device cheaper than most iPhones, it’s also cheaper to add a data plan and insure with Apple Care+. Also, since the Apple Watch is worn on the wrist, it’s a bit harder to lose it.

Finally, by choosing an Apple Watch over an iPhone, your child spends less time in front of the screen, which is what many parents strive for. There are parental controls to make Apple Watch work for you. For example, there is a Schooltime feature that disables access to apps and notifications while a child is at school.

General Thoughts

In the end, whether or not to buy an Apple Watch with cellular is up to each individual. It’s convenient and I feel like it helps me get the most out of my Apple Watch. The next time you’re looking for an Apple Watch, keep these tips in mind when making your decision.

Also note that Apple offers a list of all supported Apple Watch models and carriers with cellular connectivity.

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