watchOS 5 Beta Adds Manual Wi-Fi Connection Option to Apple Watch Settings Menu

Testers of the first watchOS 5 beta for Apple Watch are hailing a new option in the software's Settings menu that enables you to manually connect your device to nearby Wi-Fi networks.

In previous versions of watchOS, your Apple Watch is locked to the wireless network that your tethered iPhone is using, and there's no way to browse and manually connect to networks from your wrist.

But that all changes in watchOS 5, if the beta 1 seed is anything to go by. Reddit user whiskey_91 found a new option in Settings where users can search for and connect their Apple Watch directly to available Wi-Fi networks when their iPhone is out of range.

After a network is selected from the list, users are prompted to enter the Wi-Fi password via Scribble (scribbling characters one by one on the screen with their finger), while using the Digital Crown to select lowercase/uppercase and special characters. A Join button then appears for users to tap and connect to the network.

The new Wi-Fi option appears on both Apple Watch Series 2 and Series 3 models, but we've yet to confirm whether it works on Series 1 (watchOS 5 doesn't support the original Apple Watch, or Series 0).

There's plenty more to look forward to when watchOS 5 gets its official release in the fall, but eager adopters are advised to stay patient while Apple works out the kinks. Apple temporarily pulled the watchOS 5 beta 1 seed from its developer portal in the early hours of this morning after reports that the software was bricking some devices.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 4, watchOS 5
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)


Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
11 weeks ago

This must be an awful way to set your password, nice to have the option but the watch is just not up to inputing difficult passwords.

It's a very rare occurrence where one would need to do this. You'd have to be without your phone and connecting to an unfamiliar WiFi network to actually need this option. Cumbersome but nice to have in a pinch.
Rating: 5 Votes
Avatar
11 weeks ago

Any news about included support of 802.1x certificates to have it connect to WPA2 Enterprise networks?

Yes it works! Just tested it on Apple watch 2.
Rating: 4 Votes
Avatar
11 weeks ago

It would be nice if the keyboard popped up on the iPhone like it does on Apple TV remote app.

I think this is for when you DON’T have your phone nearby. If you do, why not just connect to WiFi thru your phone as it shares the WiFi with the watch automatically?
Rating: 3 Votes
Avatar
11 weeks ago
Any news about included support of 802.1x certificates to have it connect to WPA2 Enterprise networks?
Rating: 3 Votes
Avatar
11 weeks ago

This must be an awful way to set your password, nice to have the option but the watch is just not up to inputing difficult passwords.

It would be nice if the keyboard popped up on the iPhone like it does on Apple TV remote app.
Rating: 3 Votes
Avatar
11 weeks ago


After a network is selected from the list, users are prompted to enter the Wi-Fi password via Scribble (scribbling characters one by one on the screen with their finger), while using the Digital Crown to select lowercase/uppercase and special characters. A Join button then appears for users to tap and connect to the network.


This must be an awful way to set your password, nice to have the option but the watch is just not up to inputing difficult passwords.
Rating: 2 Votes
Avatar
11 weeks ago

I thought that too until I walked away from my desk at work and was on the other side of the floor without my phone. This would come in handy in those situations.


Your watch should already connect to the wifi in this scenario.
Rating: 1 Votes
Avatar
11 weeks ago

You've never logged into that network before on your phone I'm assuming? Because any stored WiFi network on your phone will automatically connect on your watch.

Again: not if the phone is connected to the WiFi network via 802.1x certificates.
Up to WatchOS 4 there was no exchange of certificates between iPhone and Watch, meaning that the Watch could not directly connect to the network.
Rating: 1 Votes
Avatar
11 weeks ago

It's a very rare occurrence where one would need to do this. You'd have to be without your phone and connecting to an unfamiliar WiFi network to actually need this option. Cumbersome but nice to have in a pinch.


I thought that too until I walked away from my desk at work and was on the other side of the floor without my phone. This would come in handy in those situations.
Rating: 1 Votes
[ Read All Comments ]