Family Setup is an Apple Watch feature in watchOS 7 that's designed to allow parents to set up Apple Watches for their children without them needing to own an iPhone as well.

watchOS7 tips family setup
‌Family Setup‌ is mainly aimed at families with children, but it can also be used to set up an Apple Watch for an older adult or anyone else who doesn't have an ‌iPhone‌ but wants to take advantage of the health and fitness features of Apple Watch.

This article explains how to set up an Apple Watch to be used by someone else via ‌Family Setup‌. First though, there are some requirements to ‌Family Setup‌ that you should be aware of.

What You'll Need for Family Setup

‌Family Setup‌ is designed to work with a GPS and Cellular enabled Apple Watch Series 4 or later that's running ‌‌watchOS 7‌‌. It is not compatible with earlier Apple Watch models nor with those that do not have a cellular connection.

Cellular Apple Watch models require their own cellular plan, the price of which can vary between network operators, but you can get a plan for $10 month with most carriers in the United States. Note that while a cellular Apple Watch is required to set up a watch under ‌Family Setup‌, it can be activated without using a cellular plan.

The main person setting up ‌Family Setup‌ must have an ‌‌iPhone‌‌ 6s or later with iOS 14 installed, and all participants will need an Apple ID and will need to be part of a Family Sharing setup.

These last two requirements can be worked out during the setup process, but activating them beforehand will make the setup process a lot faster. Below are links to some how-tos that will help you with these pre-requisites, followed by a step-by-step walkthrough to set up an Apple Watch for ‌Family Setup‌.

How to Set Up an Apple Watch for Family Setup

  1. Turn on the Apple Watch.
  2. Launch the Watch app on your ‌iPhone‌ and go to the Apple Watch setup screen.
  3. Choose Set Up for a Family Member.
    familysetup1

  4. Pair the Apple Watch with your ‌‌iPhone‌‌ by lining up the graphic on the watch's display with the ‌‌iPhone‌‌'s camera.
    applewatchfamilysetuppairing

  5. Tap Set Up Apple Watch.
    setupapplewatchfamilysetup

  6. Agree to the terms and conditions and select a wrist preference.
  7. Choose a text size for the Apple Watch, then select a passcode for unlocking it.
    familysetupapplewatchpreferences

  8. Select the family member from your Family Sharing circle who will be using the Apple Watch. If the person is not a part of the Family Sharing group, you can choose to Add New Family Member and enter their ‌‌Apple ID‌‌.
    appleidfamilysetup

  9. If you chose the ‌‌Apple ID‌‌ route, you will need to go through some verification steps and enable two-factor authentication if it's not turned on. If you already had Family Sharing set up, enter the family member's ‌‌Apple ID‌‌ password to continue.
  10. Turn on Ask to Buy or Location Sharing if desired.
    familysetupgettingstarted

  11. Set up cellular and Wi-Fi access. Setting up cellular access will require going through your carrier/network operator, such as Verizon or Vodafone. This process can vary by carrier, but Apple and your carrier will walk you through the process on screen.
  12. You can also opt to set up cellular access at a later time and rely on Wi-Fi, but cellular is required for continual connectivity without an ‌‌iPhone‌‌. After setting up cellular or skipping it until later, tap the Share button to share your WiFi password with the Apple Watch.
    familysetupwifi

  13. Go through the additional setup screens for Location Sharing, Siri, analytics, and more.
    sirilocationservicesfamilysetup

  14. Choose whether to set up Apple Cash Family, the feature that lets parents provide small amounts of cash to kids that can be used with Apple Pay for purchases. Parents can choose who their kids can send money to and receive money from. Agree to the Terms and Services, and confirm the legal name of your child.
    applecashfamilysetup

  15. Continue through the setup process, enabling or disabling additional services such as Messages in iCloud, Emergency SOS, Medical ID, Activity and route tracking options, Photos, trusted Contacts, Screen Time limits, Schooltime for limiting access during school hours, and a feature that lets parents view their children's health data, so daily activity can be monitored.
    evenmorefamilysetup

  16. After all of these settings are figured out, the Apple Watch will be ready to use and it will be listed under "Family Watches" in the Apple Watch app that belongs to the parent.

Apple offers parents quite a lot of control over what's enabled in ‌Family Setup‌ and how the Apple Watch functions. For an overview of what's available, be sure to check out our dedicated Family Setup guide.

Related Roundup: watchOS 7

Top Stories

april 2021 event coverage feature

Apple Event Live Coverage: New iPads, AirTags, and More Expected [Event Over]

Tuesday April 20, 2021 9:07 am PDT by
Apple's virtual "Spring Loaded" event kicks off today at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time, with Apple expected to debut updated iPad models and perhaps some other hardware such as AirTags or iMac models based on Apple silicon. Apple is providing a live video stream on its website, on YouTube, and in the company's TV app across its platforms. We will also be updating this article with live blog...
m1 imac colors

Apple Announces Redesigned iMac With M1 Chip and Seven Color Options

Tuesday April 20, 2021 10:22 am PDT by
Apple has announced a new, redesigned 24-inch iMac, featuring an M1 chip, a 4.5K display, and a range of color options, as well as an improved cooling system, front-facing camera, speaker system, microphones, power connector, and peripherals. The new iMac features a completely new compact design, and comes in a range of seven striking colors, including green, yellow, orange, pink, purple,...
duan rui iphone 12 13 notch

New Images Show Smaller iPhone 13 Notch Compared to iPhone 12

Saturday April 17, 2021 11:38 pm PDT by
Leaker known as "DuanRui" has shared more images that could give us our best look yet at Apple's redesigned notch for the iPhone 13. The new pictures follow similar images shared by the leaker last week, but the latest shots include a comparison with the existing iPhone 12 notch. DuanRui posted three images on Twitter that apparently originate from Weibo, although source details remain...
Top Stories 57 Feature

Top Stories: Apple Event Next Tuesday, Mini-LED iPad Pro, iPhone Rumors

Saturday April 17, 2021 6:00 am PDT by
It feels like we've been waiting forever for new Apple products, but the wait is almost over as Apple has announced a media event for next Tuesday, so make sure to tune into MacRumors for full coverage of everything Apple announces. While that was the big news this week, we also got some new details on Apple's iPhone plans for 2022 and 2023 courtesy of analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, and we also saw...
iphone 12 preorder purple

Apple Launching iPhone 12 and 12 Mini in New Purple Color on April 30

Tuesday April 20, 2021 10:08 am PDT by
Apple today announced that the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini will be available in a new purple color starting April 30, with pre-orders starting this Friday. Apple is also releasing a new MagSafe Leather Case and Leather Sleeve in Deep Violet, a Silicone Case in Capri Blue, Pistachio, Cantaloupe, or Amethyst, and a Leather Wallet in Arizona, all available to order beginning today. iPhone...
f1618938547

Apple Announces AirTag Tracking Devices Starting At $29 Each

Tuesday April 20, 2021 10:10 am PDT by
Apple today announced AirTag, a Tile-like Bluetooth tracking device that's designed to be attached to items like keys and wallets for tracking purposes, letting you find them right in the Find My app. AirTags are accessories for attaching to backpacks, luggage, and other items. Any U1 device like the iPhone 12 can be used for precision finding to guide you right to the item you're looking...
iPad Pro

New 12.9-Inch iPad Pro Will Be 0.5mm Thicker to Accommodate Mini-LED Display

Monday April 19, 2021 11:30 am PDT by
The upcoming 12.9-inch iPad Pro will be thicker than the previous-generation version, likely due to the inclusion of the mini-LED display. We've heard several rumors about the change in thickness, and now leaked design images have confirmed it. A source that designs accessories for Apple devices sent MacRumors a series of photos that feature exact dimensions for the new iPad Pro models, and...
ipad pro with m1 chip

Apple Introduces Next-Generation iPad Pro With M1 Chip, Thunderbolt, 5G, XDR Display, and More

Tuesday April 20, 2021 10:40 am PDT by
Apple today announced the next-generation iPad Pro with the same M1 chip found in the latest Macs, Thunderbolt and USB4 support, 5G connectivity on cellular models with mmWave support in the United States, and more. With an 8-core CPU and 8-core GPU, Apple says the M1 chip in the new iPad Pro provides up to 50% faster performance and up to 40% faster graphics compared to the A12Z Bionic chip ...
iPad Pro Feature Orange

Wedbush Analysts Say 'Spring Loaded' Event Will Debut New iPads With 'Modest Price Increase,' Along With 'a Few Surprises'

Monday April 19, 2021 6:37 am PDT by
Apple is planning to launch a new entry-level iPad, iPad mini, and iPad Pro at its "Spring Loaded" event tomorrow, along with "a few surprises," according to Wedbush analysts. In a new note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Wedbush analysts Daniel Ives and Strecker Backe explained that the iPad will be the main focus of Apple's "Spring Loaded" event, with new entry-level iPad, iPad mini, and ...
flat imac 3d 3 teal

Reliable Leaker Hints Redesigned Colorful iMac to Debut at 'Spring Loaded' Event

Saturday April 17, 2021 4:43 am PDT by
Reliable leaker known as l0vetodream has hinted that Apple may debut its rumored redesigned and colorful iMac at its "Spring Loaded" event on Tuesday, April 20. In a tweet, the leaker posted an image of Apple's logo used for marketing the upcoming event and an image of the retro rainbow Apple logo alongside the colorful lineup of G3 iMacs. Apple leaker Jon Prosser previously reported that...