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What can your Apple Watch do without your iPhone?

Dan Moren | May 4, 2015
Strapped to your wrist, the Apple Watch goes everywhere that you go. Between it and the iPhone, it's almost possible to leave your wallet at home. But what happens to the Watch when you leave your iPhone at home?

Strapped to your wrist, the Apple Watch goes everywhere that you go. Between it and the iPhone, it's almost possible to leave your wallet at home. But what happens to the Watch when you leave your iPhone at home?

Smart as the Apple Watch is, it's still dependent on your smartphone for a number of its most common features, most notably anything that requires access to the Internet or pulls data from apps on your phone. But even should your iPhone be elsewhere — or off — your Apple Watch is still a pretty competent device. 

Time is of the essence

First and foremost, the Apple Watch is a watch, so it's probably a good thing that it'll keep telling time even when your phone isn't around — otherwise, it's a very expensive wrist weight. But the good news is that all the time-related features of the Apple Watch — the world clock, alarms, timer, and stopwatch — continue to work as well. So at worst, you're still left with a very capable timepiece. 

Move around

Fitness and exercise is obviously a big part of what the Apple Watch can do, so it's a good thing that most of those features continue to work even when your phone isn't nearby. You can continue to track your move, exercise, and stand progress in the Activity app or glance, so don't worry if you take a walk without your iPhone — you'll still get credit for those calories burned and time spent exercising and standing, so you can be sure to hit all your Activity goals. You can also continue to use the Heart Rate glance to check in on that as well.

Work it good 

If you want to go for a run without having to tote a bulky phone, the Apple Watch's exercise capabilities are pretty much self-sufficient. All of the watch's onboard sensors, such as the accelerometer and the heart rate monitor, keep on trucking even when your phone's not around. Just fire up the Workout app, pick your exercise type and goal, and leave the iPhone at home. 

Listen up 

But what's a workout without some music? While the Apple Watch can be used to control music on your iPhone, it can also store tunes locally. Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone and select Music. Tap Synced Playlist and you'll see a list of your existing iTunes playlists (synced via iCloud); the songs on that playlist will be available even when your phone isn't around.

Of course, the Apple Watch has far less storage onboard than even the stingiest of iPhones. You can use the Playlist Limit option to adjust how much space is devoted to music, either in terms of raw capacity (100MB, 500MB, 1GB, or 2GB) or number of songs (15, 50, 125, or 250). Think of it more or less like an iPod shuffle that you wear on your wrist.

 

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