The Apple Watch is a companion to the iPhone, but there are some things that the Apple Watch can do without the iPhone if you want to leave your phone at home or in your car and go mobile without carrying around an iPhone 5 to iPhone 6 Plus.
This does dramatically limit what you can do with the Apple Watch, but this is not a standalone device that can connect to a cellular signal without first connecting to the iPhone. Shortly after the first announcement interested shoppers started to ask,”Can the Apple Watch work without an iPhone?” and after the latest Apple Watch event more potential buyers asked, What can the “Apple Watch do without an iPhone?”
We’re sure to discover other new features that Apple hides away in the Apple Watch, but there are only a limited number of things the Apple Watch can do without an iPhone. This isn’t a huge issue for many users who carry their iPhone with them anywhere that they go, but it is good to know that you can leave the iPhone at home for a few activities.
The list of things the Apple Watch can do without taking your iPhone out of your pocket is much longer, but for the times you don’t want to carry the iPhone with you, here is a look what the Apple Watch can do without the iPhone.
Play Music Without the iPhone
If you want to work in the yard or go for a run and listen to music on the Apple Watch you are in luck. The Apple Watch connects to Bluetooth headphones to play locally stored music. So far there is no information about what apps can store music locally on the Apple Watch, but the odds are good that this only works with iTunes.
There is reportedly 2GB of local storage that users can place music on. The Apple Watch connects directly to Bluetooth headphones so you can work out with just the Apple Watch and a pair of Bluetooth headphones. You can control the music with your Apple Watch and likely with the buttons on most Bluetooth headphones.
Time, Alarm & Clock Functions
It should come as no surprise that the Apple Watch will continue to function as a watch without the iPhone. Of course you will need to keep it charged up for this to work, but as long as you have battery life you can see what time it is, your alarms will work and you can use the clock functions like a timer or stop watch.
Track Runs With Distance
When you start using the Apple Watch for fitness you will need to carry the iPhone with you so that the Apple Watch learns how far you run. The Apple Watch does not have GPS, but the iPhone does and it shares the location with the Apple Watch. This lets the Apple Watch learn your pace so that you can eventually run indoors or outside and still get an accurate representation of your distance and workout without taking the iPhone with you. This revelation comes from Christ Turlington-Burns, a marathoner who is using the Apple Watch, and sharing updates on an Apple Blog.
The Apple Watch display is small, but you can still use it as a tiny portable photo frame to show off photos.
The Apple Watch can hold a small number of photos that you can look at or you can share with a friend or coworker.
Just remember proper Apple Watch etiquette and keep your small vacation slideshows to a minimum.
That won’t be a major problem as you can only store 75MB of photos on the Apple Watch.
Calendar Reminders & Events
After you set up the Apple Watch and connect it to the iPhone the Apple Watch will remember your event and calendar information so that it can alert you to upcoming appointments.
This is especially handy if you forget to take your iPhone with you on a run or if you dash out of the office and leave your iPhone behind. It isn’t clear if you will be able to add a new appointment to the Apple Watch without the iPhone present because Siri requires an Internet connection to work.
Use Apple Pay on Apple Watch Without iPhone
The Apple Watch supports Apple Pay, which lets you make mobile payments with a credit or debit card connected to your Passbook account. You need to set this up on the iPhone and you need a compatible Apple Pay bank and to be at a store that takes Apple Pay or NFC payments for this to work.
After this is set up, the Apple Watch should store a tokenized version of your Apple Pay credit or debit card so that you can move your hand near the credit card reader to make a payment. One important thing to remember about this is that if you take the Apple Watch off you will need to enter a passcode on the iPhone to unlock the Apple Watch.
Use Passbook Passes
You can also use Passbook passes on the Apple Watch without an iPhone connected. Assuming you already have your boarding pass or movie ticket on your Apple Watch you could go to the movies or board a plane without your iPhone. The latter sounds like a handy feature if you lose your iPhone, but not something we’ll practice on purpose.
The Passbook can also hold a gift card to use in some stores, to hold your loyalty cards and other passes. You’ll need to load them up on the iPhone first.
What Does the Apple Watch Do?
There are a good number of things the Apple Watch can do without the iPhone, but the list of things it can do when connected to your iPhone is much longer. You need an iPhone 5 or newer to use the Apple Watch and if you don’t own an Apple Watch there aren’t many things you can count on using it for.
Check out the slides below to see what the Apple Watch can do with an iPhone.