Apple Watch Can Use Known Wi-Fi Networks for Limited Functions Even When iPhone Is Off

Apple Watch Sport BlueA collection of major tech blogs yesterday published their in-depth reviews for the Apple Watch, one of which was Yahoo! Tech's David Pogue, whose opinion fell in line with most other sites, describing the Apple Watch as "light-years better" than any other smartwatch, but "you don't need one."

When discussing the Watch's tethering to an iPhone, Pogue reveals a few pieces of information about the Watch that Apple has yet to comment on in any promotional material for the wrist-worn device, mostly regarding some cellular-related functionality sans iPhone.

And here’s a surprising feature that Apple hasn’t said anything about previously: When the watch is in a known Wi-Fi hotspot, the watch can perform the most essential online functions even when your phone is completely dead, turned off, or absent. It can query Siri, for example, send and receive texts, and send/receive drawings and tap patterns to other watch owners. That’s impressive.

According to Pogue's week-long experience with the Apple Watch, even with the iPhone dead or turned off, his Watch could still perform these basic iPhone-reliant functions like sending and receiving texts and drawings. He never mentions actual phone calls, which are undoubtedly still reliant on full use of an iPhone.

Pogue also mentions the Watch's ability to communicate with an iPhone over both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, meaning the two devices can communicate indefinitely as long as they stay under the same Wi-Fi connection even when they're out of Bluetooth range, a previously known but still notable aspect of the Watch.

The Wall Street Journal's Apple Watch review makes a passing reference to Pogue's claim, though providing fewer details than Yahoo! Tech's piece. "The watch does work (a little) away from the phone," The Wall Street Journal's Geoffrey A. Fowler said. "When you’re around a known Wi-Fi network, the watch can tap directly into it."

Stay up to date on the latest Apple Watch news, from estimated shipping and delivery dates to the newest reviews, before Apple's first wearable device goes up for pre-order tonight at 12:01 AM Pacific Time.

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Series 7
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Buy Now)
Related Forum: Apple Watch

Top Rated Comments

Itsedstech Avatar
89 months ago
How can it send/receive SMS if the phone is dead?

probably imessage.

To all the people saying the apple watch doesn't connect to wifi, just wifi direct to iphone, suck it!
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dannyyankou Avatar
89 months ago
To everyone who argued it only uses the phone's wifi: I told you so!
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Gav2k Avatar
89 months ago
Soooo many forum members are going to bed red faced now.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BlueMoon63 Avatar
89 months ago
"It can query Siri, for example, send and receive texts, and send/receive drawings and tap patterns to other watch owners. That’s impressive."

That is awesome. Don't need my phone at all to send texts and respond to people. The #1 thing I do with my iPhone is texting. I am very impressed since I have about 100 known wi-fi networks on my IPhone.

I wonder if you will eventually be able to make phone calls with just the watch since you can make calls with Wi-Fi/VoIP? Maybe already works with Sprint and now T-Mobile which allow Phone calls over Wi-Fi?

Shouldn't take long though before people start bashing this nice additional information.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Daalseth Avatar
89 months ago
This is the kind of stuff they should have been talking about months ago. For a lot of the doubters, myself included, one of the biggest weaknesses was that it only could do most functions tethered to the phone. Only NOW are we finding out, and not from Apple, that it has independent abilities. The Apple Watch has a lot of capabilities without the phone and that is huge. Marketing was so fixated on style and appearance, and getting on the cover of Vogue and what it could do through the iPhone, that they have been not mentioning huge features like this. This is a huge screw up by marketing.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
unlinked Avatar
89 months ago
How can it send/receive SMS if the phone is dead?

Probably by people who don't understand technology writing technology articles.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

Upcoming Products 2022 Feature

Gurman: Apple Preparing 'Widest Array of New Hardware Products in Its History' for Fall

Sunday January 23, 2022 10:32 am PST by
Apple is working on a number of new products that are set to launch this fall, and Bloomberg's Mark Gurman says that it will be "the widest array" of new devices that Apple has introduced in its history. In his latest "Power On" newsletter, Gurman explains that Apple is working on four new flagship iPhones (iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Max, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max), an updated low-end Ma...
Questionable Design Decisions

Apple's Most Questionable Design Decisions in Recent Memory

Sunday January 23, 2022 2:59 am PST by
Apple has always emphasized the depth of thought that goes into the design of its products. In the foreword to Designed by Apple in California, a photo book released by the company in 2016, Jony Ive explains how Apple strives "to define objects that appear effortless" and "so simple, coherent and inevitable that there could be no rational alternative." But every once in a while even Apple...
macbook pro 14 16 2021

Three Months After Launch, Apple Still Struggling to Meet Demand for Redesigned 14-Inch and 16-Inch MacBook Pro

Monday January 24, 2022 7:12 am PST by
Three months after their launch, the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros continue to experience high demand and seemingly short supply, with shipping dates for both models stretching into multiple weeks in several of Apple's key markets. In the United States, the baseline 14-inch MacBook Pro with the M1 Pro chip is estimated to ship in three to four weeks, promising an arrival by at least...
att gigabit internet

AT&T Bringing $180/Month 5-Gigabit Internet to 70 Cities

Monday January 24, 2022 9:20 am PST by
AT&T today announced the launch of upgraded AT&T Fiber plans, which support speeds of up to 5 Gigabits for some customers. There are two separate plans, one "2 GIG" plan and one "5 GIG" plan, available to new and existing AT&T Fiber subscribers. According to AT&T, the new plans are available to nearly 5.2 million customers across 70 metro areas including Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, San...
airpodsinear 1

AirPods Save Woman's Life With Feature Everyone Should Know

Friday January 21, 2022 2:13 am PST by
Apple's AirPods have been credited with saving a woman's life after a potentially fatal fall, People reports. When a 60-year-old florist in New Jersey tripped and hit her head in her studio, she lost consciousness and awoke heavily bleeding. With nobody around to call for help, she realized she had her AirPods in, and used a "Hey Siri" command to call 911. An operator was able to stay on the ...
AirPods Pro Gen 3 Mock Feature ugly yellow

AirPods Pro 2 Could Beat AirPods Max Sound Quality

Monday January 24, 2022 2:15 am PST by
Apple's second-generation AirPods Pro could deliver higher fidelity audio than the AirPods Max over-ear headphones, despite being comparatively small in-ear buds, recent reports have suggested. In a recent note to investors, seen by MacRumors, TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed that the second-generation AirPods Pro will offer improved audio quality thanks to support...
iCloud Bug Feature Green

Developers Unhappy With Bug Causing iCloud Unreliability

Monday January 24, 2022 10:15 am PST by
A number of developers are upset with an increasingly problematic iCloud server issue that is causing some apps that have implemented iCloud support to fail to sync properly. As outlined on the Developer Forums and on Twitter, there are CloudKit connectivity issues that have been occurring since November. Some users of apps that have iCloud support built in are seeing the following message:...
top stories 2022jan22

Top Stories: Spring Apple Event Rumors, Apple Opposes Sideloading, and More

Saturday January 22, 2022 6:00 am PST by
As we roll into the latter half of January, we're starting to hear more about a potential spring Apple event, which is likely to take place in March or April. There are a number of potential announcements on deck, so an event would be a good opportunity for Apple to get them all out there. We've also been going back and forth on some iPhone 14 rumors, and we've taken a look at a number of...