Apple Investigating Fix for Series 3 Watches Connecting to Unknown Wi-Fi Networks Instead of LTE [Updated]

apple watch series 3Apple is investigating a fix for an issue where an Apple Watch Series 3 with LTE may stay connected to unknown Wi-Fi networks with no connectivity, at times preventing the watch from using cellular, it has told The Verge.

"We have discovered that when Apple Watch Series 3 joins unauthenticated Wi-Fi networks without connectivity, it may at times prevent the watch from using cellular," an Apple spokesperson said in an emailed statement. "We are investigating a fix for a future software release."

In her Apple Watch Series 3 review, The Verge editor Lauren Goode said, on more than one occasion, the watch would connect to a single bar of an unknown Wi-Fi signal, and remain on that network rather than switching to LTE.

On more than one occasion, I detached myself from the phone, traveled blocks away from my home or office, and watched the Watch struggle to connect to LTE. It would appear to pick up a single bar of some random Wi-Fi signal, and hang on that, rather than switching to LTE.

Goode explains further in her review:

The way the LTE version of the Watch is supposed to work is that it will "hand off" from your smartphone's connectivity to whatever other type of connectivity is available. In some cases, like when you're in a place with a Wi-Fi network you've connected to before, this will be Wi-Fi. In other cases, like when you're out without your phone, and you're nowhere near a known Wi-Fi network, this will be LTE.

It's reasonable to expect it might take a minute for the Apple Watch to "find" LTE after you've walked away from your phone. It's not reasonable for this to take many minutes or not work at all. This almost makes me wish there was a way to actively turn off Wi-Fi on the Watch, so it would just default to LTE. But that’s also another step that I, the wearer, the person-who-is-not-wearing-it-wrong, would have to take.

Apple said it will address the issue in a future watchOS software update, but it didn't specify how long that will take.

Update: According to iMore's Serenity Caldwell, the issue is a watchOS 4 bug that allows the Apple Watch to attempt to connect to Wi-Fi networks with interstitial captive screens such as those that require you to accept terms and conditions. The Apple Watch has no way to acknowledge these interstitials, leaving the device in a state of limbo where it's connected to the Wi-Fi network but can't access the internet and refuses to switch to cellular.

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

Top Rated Comments

BornAgainMac Avatar
61 months ago
That explains why the wife in the keynote was on a board in the middle of the lake.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
960design Avatar
61 months ago
While running, having heart attack, cannot call 911 because my watch is connected to someone's coffee pot. A fix, sooner than later would be appreciated, if this is a real thing.

This is an example of what can happen when testing in a closed lab.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Wanted797 Avatar
61 months ago
My phone does this.

My work place has wifi I’ll often walk away or to the bathroom and Have to turn off wifi on my phone during the walk because it struggles to load, as it desperately tries to cling to the wifi.

I have wifi assist turned on and still doesn’t help. They need maybe a time out. Once 5-10 seconds has passed use LTE.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
OllyW Avatar
61 months ago
All the SS models are cellular, you can’t buy a non cellular SS model.
That's the joke!
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iapplelove Avatar
61 months ago
At least this bug isn't as bad as Face ID
Really? How are you enjoying your iPhone X?
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Richardgm Avatar
61 months ago
This isn’t good. That 5/10 rating should rattle some cages.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 16 mock for article

Gurman: iOS 16 to Include New Ways of System Interaction and 'Fresh Apple Apps'

Sunday May 15, 2022 6:14 am PDT by
iOS 16 will include new ways of interacting with the system and some "fresh Apple apps," Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has said, offering some more detail on what Apple has in store for the upcoming release of iOS and iPadOS set to be announced in a few weeks at WWDC. In the latest edition of his Power On newsletter, Gurman wrote that while iOS 16 is not likely to introduce a major face-lift to...
maxresdefault

Unbox Therapy Shares Hands-On Look at iPhone 14 Pro Max Replica

Monday May 16, 2022 4:40 am PDT by
YouTuber Unbox Therapy has shared a hands-on look at the iPhone 14 Pro Max using what he claims is a one-to-one replica created by third-party case makers with access to detailed schematics and dimensions for Apple's new upcoming flagship smartphone. As with the iPhone 13 Pro lineup, in 2022, we are expecting a 6.1-inch iPhone 14 Pro and a 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Pro Max, but this time the Pro...
RIP iPod Feature

RIP iPod: A Look Back at Apple's Iconic Music Player Over the Years

Friday May 13, 2022 2:25 pm PDT by
Apple earlier this week announced the discontinuation of the iPod touch, and because it was the last iPod still available for purchase, its sunsetting effectively marks the end of the entire iPod lineup. To send the iPod on its way, we thought it would be fun to take a look back at some of the most notable iPod releases over the last 21 years. Original iPod (2001) Introduced in October...
macOS Monterey 2

Apple Releases macOS Monterey 12.4 With Support for Studio Display Webcam Update

Monday May 16, 2022 10:10 am PDT by
Apple today released macOS Monterey 12.4, the fourth major update to the macOS Monterey operating system that launched in October 2021. macOS Monterey 12.4 comes over two months after the launch of macOS Monterey 12.3, an update that added Universal Control. The ‌‌‌‌‌macOS Monterey‌‌ 12.4 update can be downloaded on all eligible Macs using the Software Update section of System...
iOS 15

Apple Releases iOS 15.5 and iPadOS 15.5 With Wallet and Podcast Updates

Monday May 16, 2022 10:00 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS 15.5 and iPadOS 15.5, the fifth major updates to the iOS and iPadOS 15 operating systems that were initially released in September 2021. iOS and iPadOS 15.5 come a little over two months after the launch of iOS 15.4 and iPadOS 15.4. The iOS 15.5 and iPadOS 15.5 updates can be downloaded for free and the software is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in...
airpodsprodesign

Kuo: AirPods, MagSafe Battery Pack, and Other Apple Accessories Also to Switch to USB-C in Future

Sunday May 15, 2022 5:59 am PDT by
Earlier this week, well-known Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed that Apple plans to release at least one iPhone 15 model with a USB-C port in 2023. Now, in a follow-up tweet, he has claimed that accessories like AirPods, the MagSafe Battery Pack, and the Magic Keyboard/Mouse/Trackpad trio would also switch to USB-C in the "foreseeable future." Both the iPhone and all of the aforementioned...
apple tv 4k design green

Apple Releases tvOS 15.5 for Apple TV HD and Apple TV 4K

Monday May 16, 2022 9:57 am PDT by
Apple today released tvOS 15.5, the fifth major update to the tvOS operating system that first launched in September 2021. tvOS 15.5 comes more than two months after the release of tvOS 15.4, an update that brought support for captive WiFi networks. tvOS 15.5 can be downloaded over the air on the Apple TV through the Settings app by going to System > Software Update. ‌‌‌‌‌‌Apple...