What is the Apple Watch connection distance to iPhone?

Distance-between-iPhone-and-Apple-Watch

I had a question today, so I thought I’d research the answer and share it with you. I’m guessing that many people already wonder this and many more will wonder this as soon as Apple Watches begin shipping. The question is:

How far does the Wi-Fi/Bluetooth connection reach between the Apple Watch and iPhone?

This is an important question for many situations, including:

  • Using the Apple Watch at the gym for workouts and activity monitoring. Can the iPhone be in my bag in the corner, in my locker in the locker room, or does it have to be strapped to my upper arm or in my pocket?
  • Do I need to carry my iPhone on me at all times in the office and at home? What if my iPhone is in my bag, at my desk, or in my room?

The Apple Watch connects to the iPhone using Bluetooth 4.0. The Apple Watch does not have Wi-Fi, it uses the Wi-Fi in the iPhone, but don’t get too worried just yet. By itself, the Apple Watch can track fitness data, play music stored on the Watch, and make purchases using Apple Pay. Cool interaction goes on between the Apple Watch and the iPhone, for example: Handoffs. With Handoffs, you can start a message on the Apple Watch and then finish it on your iPhone.

The Apple Watch uses the Wi-Fi and GPS of your iPhone (iPhone 5 or later). But the watch does have an internal accelerometer and heart rate sensor. Does it not work without an iPhone? Well, it will work just fine, but certain apps won’t work without a paired iPhone.

Most apps will need a connected iPhone to work, as much of the processing for the apps is handled by the iPhone and then sends the result to Apple Watch via bluetooth. Apple does this to preserve the Apple Watch battery life.

So then if the iPhone connects to Wi-Fi and the Apple Watch connects to the iPhone via Bluetooth 4.0, the heart of this question is:

What is the range of Bluetooth 4.0?

Digging into this, I found that the distance of Bluetooth 4.0 can be up to 330 feet (100 meters) and sometimes more, BUT it can be much less, depending on many factors. Bluetooth uses radio waves (short-wavelength UHF to be exact) between 2.4 and 2.485 GHz in the ISM band. Long story short, that means that a Bluetooth signal can be interrupted by Wi-Fi signals, satellite dishes, certain external monitors, microwaves, bodies, certain electronics, etc.

So, how close do your Apple Watch and iPhone need to be in order for all of the Apple Watch features to work fully? Approximately 330 feet (100 meters) – more or less.

Take that into consideration when separating your Apple Watch from your iPhone.

Update: At the Apple event on 10 March, 2015 Kevin Lynch said: “Apple watch communicates with your iPhone over wifi as well as bluetooth. So when you’re home, you don’t have to be within bluetooth range of your phone, you can be anywhere in your house and still get all your messages and take your phone calls…”

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93 Comments

    1. I cannot be more than several feet away from my new iphone6s+ and most certainly not in another room in my house in order for my iWatch to work. I do not recommend this product and if I could return it, I would. I need to look into returning it.

      1. I have the same issue. An iwatch with an iPhone SE and 10 feet apart the BT connection breaks.

        1. i have a 7plus and a series one watch… there are times when i leave my phone at my office desk and go to the washroom and still have the connection.. at home i leave my phone in my room and spend most of the time downstairs and still get a connection, i guess you need to get your phone and watch checked at apple.

        2. I have series three apple wtch and iphone 6s plus i have been at least a hundred yards away and still get calls on my watch. No problem here. I suggest you go to the genesis bar at your local apple store and get them to check it out for you. It might be a problem with your settings.

          1. Just wondering, I just bought the series 3 yesterday upgraded from the series 1… does this mean I would be able to go to the store and leave my phone at home and still have access to texts and calls, or would it have to at least b win my car?

            1. Hi Alicia! It depends , if you have the GPS only version then sadly you won’t have connectivity between your watch and your phone.But you will still have other great features like the activity tracker,music etc. Now on the other hand if you have the GPS+LTE version then yes you can literally forget your phone in Florida and travel to New York and will still have connectivity between your watch and phone.

        3. Hi could you solve the issue? i have the same situation with my apple watch series 4 and iphone xs max
          thanks!

      2. I have the iPhone 6s+ and can get some distance away from my Apple Watch series2. If you have the original this could be a patrician cause. I also read that other devices in your home/area can at times cause connection issues. Have you spoken to Apple about your problem? Perhaps you have a lemon?

      3. You might want to take it to Apple Store to be checked out. I have 7 plus and searies 2 watch. I can go across back yard with phone in front of house.
        Something is wrong
        Good luck!

      4. Mine works all over the college. I can keep my phone in my office and be in a classroom and still have it work

      5. Of course If you are using IPhone 6 or SE it won’t work as well. It’s not the watch it self but 6 has older technology .. I just upgrade 6 to 8plus recently… BIg difference. #techgirl

      6. Bad design! One fall this watch is no longer operating. It was given to me as a present and I asked politely next time ask me before they gift. I do not recommend!

      7. Although the bluetooth 4.0 specification is designed for a maximum range of 100m OUTDOORS this is with an ideal antenna setup in reality you’ll be lucky to get 1/10th ie 10m indoors with realistic devices. Bluetooth 5.0 will have an ideal outdoors range of 400m is released on the iPhone 8 and iPhone X but the apple watch series 3 still only uses bluetooth 4.0. Maybe watch series 4 will have Bluetooth 5.0 and the indoors range might be a realistic 40m. At this point your best bet for extending indoors range is to setup a WiFi network and log your phone on to the 2.4GHz version. When outside of Bluetooth range the watch and phone will connected through WiFi. Make sure you log your phone onto the 2.4GHz network as watch Series 3 does not recognize 5.1GHz networks. With Series 3 watches you are quite likely to get cellular and have full function. Obviously with the anticipated Watch Series 4 apple can add Bluetooth 5.0, and WiFi 5.1GHz

    2. I’ve had my Apple Watch since April of 2015 and have never experienced any connection issues. I travel frequently for work and when visiting others work sites frequently need to leave my phone in a conference room or office while visiting other parts of the buildings and my watch is able to maintain the connection with my phone. Recently, I lost my phone at Home Depot and I was able to send and receive SMS messages and phone calls via my watch using my home wi-fi. My biggest problem is fighting the urge to upgrade to the latest version when the original works perfectly! Can I have two?

        1. Frank Lucks, what “…pass on the problem…”? Marcie said “…the original works perfectly…”.

    3. OK this is my experience today.

      I left my phone at my computer workstation and washed some Tupperware lunch dishes, about 80 foot away from my phone, when my wife text me. I received the text on my Apple Watch. I sent a text back -successfully – so we had a live connection.

      At that point I wanted to find out just what distance my Watch could established between my Apple Watch and my phone. So I walked 140 paces away – (And I also took large steps for a 6’2″ person). I sent and received text messages from that distance. Oh, and by the way I intentionally turned off Wi-Fi on the phone before that test.

      So we have an adjacent building and both of these buildings are connected with a tunnel that runs underground. I begin to walk through that tunnel – watching my watch as I walked through that tunnel– in the middle the signal broke connection to my phone – still left at my workstation. But … I continued on through the tunnel and on the other side my phone Established the connection again. At this point I am about 300 feet from the phone (which was left at my computer workstation in the other building). I sent and received text messages from my watch at that point. Again, wifi was off on my phone.

      I’m still trying to figure this out. Is Bluetooth able to “ride” on a wifi signal? Both building share the same wifi SSID and password. We have AT&T repeaters through out the building – are those repeaters propagating Bluetooth ?

      I’d really like to know how this connection is maintained … even reconnecting after disconnecting on the other side of that tunnel ?

      I’d appreciate any additional info …

    4. I left my iPhone at work this afternoon (and didn’t realize it). I live 800 yards (2400 feet) from work. I began getting text messages on my Apple Watch Series 1. I wanted to respond to the text messages using my phone but I couldn’t find it. I couldn’t find it at my house, so I reluctantly went back to work. I “pinged” the phone and sure enough, it was at work (2400 feet away from where I successfully sent and received text messages – several of them by the way! Crazy!

    5. I forgot my phone today, but my watch is still working and I am five miles away. I am getting phone calls, messages and voice mails because I am on my office wi-fi. Amazing!!

      1. Michelle… my boss had the same thing happened yesterday. He texted me from a restaurant when he was 3 miles from his office, using his Apple Watch. He answered a phone call, he sent and received texts. All of this while his iPhone was back on his desk.

        I’m at the office with him this morning and I was looking online to see if there was anything about it and came across this thread. After I read your comment I asked him the question, “had you been to that restaurant before with your iPhone and logged onto their Wi-Fi?” I’m wondering if Apple has a hidden Wi-Fi chip, or Wi-Fi capability in the iPhone, or if this is an unreleased feature for a future iOS update.

        1. Meant to say… “I’m wondering if Apple has a Hidden Wi-Fi chip, or Wi-Fi capability in the APPLE WATCH, or if this is an unreleased feature for a future iOS update”

    6. I live in a gated community on about 5-8 acres and I can use my apple watch anywhere within that area while my iPhone is still sitting in my lounge room.
      I love my second hand apple watch (from my son).

    7. The iPhone watch series 2 loses its signal from the iPhone right at 40 meters around 120 Fact.

    8. Weird question! I have a four series Apple Watch and I want to buy my daughter a new three series can her watch or can I say can we talk to each other with her three & my new four…

  1. Hello,
    Can I count on my Apple Watch alert me before I get out of reach with my Iphone 5 ?
    Apart from the obvious use fo such an alert function, that would be particularly useful for those like my wife who often forgets her Iphone at home or inside the car ….

    Thanks

    1. As of now, no, your Apple Watch will not alert you when it goes out of range of your iPhone. You can read a few comments that have been made about that here.

      Hopefully this type of functionality will be added soon.

  2. Nice article; just wanted to correct you about WiFi; the Apple Watch does indeed have WiFi and connects to the iPhone using WiFi when not bluetooth connected and if on the same WiFi subnet.

  3. So then, I can’t take just my Apple Watch when I go for a run or walk; I have to take the iPhone as well. That kinda blows the glitz outta the glamour!

    1. Well you can. The Health features will work just fine, and you can play the music you have stored on the watch. But you won’t be able to take calls or messages.

      1. no they dont. i find unless i have the phone and watch together as i play tennis it has a hard time logging anything even sitting in the chair in the middle of the court. swimming forget it, even with the phone right next to my pool. Pool is only 40 ft and i have the phone right in the middle so to say it stays connected for 100 meters is inaccurate at best. Why is it you can by a fit bit for almost nothing and you can pair after your work out and it keeps track of everything perfectly.

      2. This is what I was looking for, I ordered Apple Watch series 1, and all I wanted was to leave my phone in the car and use the watch for music and heart monitoring inside the gym. Sounds like it will work for me! Thanks for explaining!

    2. Exactly.. I thought the same!!! Hmmm seems like the Samsung Classic seems to have the glamor of that feature not having to have a phone in range. I like the size of the apple watch because its not bulky.. But who wants to tote two electronic devices when you are active. Waste of money I can take my 39.00 wireless bluetooth. And do the same

      1. I agree I can’t even go in my backyard and leave iPhone 6s Plus inside because my watch won’t reach the connection?

        1. I just got the apple watch series 3 and found I can go in my back yard and leave my iphone in my bedroom and still be able to use the watch. I can also go in my garage and still use it. I accidentally left my phone in my car and the watch was still working.

  4. I am not experiencing the same wifi connectivity as mentioned above. At times when I am upstairs and the phone is downstairs I lose connectivity. And wifi signal is ok upstairs.

  5. thanks for your homework. You would think Apple would provide that information with the watch. I guess they want you to go online for everything.

  6. My iPhone is connected to a very high end Wi-Fi system at work and I can tell you that I consistently lose connectivity after about 75 feet give or take. Now it is possible there’s buku interruption by other computers, walls, Wi-Fi devices etc but 75 feet is a far cry from 330.
    This is like saying high end walkie talkies have a range of 26 miles….Yeah when you’re on a flat desert bed and your line of sight is straight in front of you with minimal curvature. I think the same general rule applies here. The clearer and straighter the line from device to device -> the longer you’ll have a stable link between the two.

  7. So if the iPhone is on LTE instead of wifi…how far does the range go between phone and watch?

    1. If you are not connected to WiFi, then the watch uses bluetooth, so a maximum of 330 feet, like the article says.

    2. Because the Apple Watch does not have LTE antenna (or conponents) it will not utilize the benefits of LTE connection. 300+ feet on Bluetooth or as far out as your WiFi signal can go. I have AirPort Extreme stations throughout the building and the signal reaches 5 houses down the block. I do not need to cary my iPhone at all unless i go to work or errands.

  8. Your watch does alert you when you’re out of range btw… A little red phone with a slash through it appears at the top of your watch face.

  9. Connected to my iPhone 6, the watch goes out of range in less than 10 metres at home, can’t even leave the house before the unconnected icon appears!. Not tried it elsewhere yet though!

    1. Thank you for sharing your experience with the watch, Mike. Interesting to hear about the different connectivity ranges that people have in different scenarios.

  10. I left my iPhone at school, across the street from where my home is. I am about a football field away from my classroom. I received a text on my Apple Watch and replied, wondering how that could happen when my phone was so far away, with many walls between here and there… and on two different wi-fi networks…

    1. I just got to work without my phone and with only my Apple watch on. The distant between my phone and watch is about 37 miles and on a different wi-fi network, if the Apple watch uses wi-fi. The red dot/light indicates I am connected to my phone and assuming it is connected…this a huge distant it’s being covered. Now if I leave my work and outside the wi-fi range of my work, than I lose connection. This is amazing that the distance can be far and alarming that I have to be in wi-fi range for connection when I don’t have my phone.

  11. if the watch doesn’t have wifi, this statement is wrong. my watch gets about 20 feet. at 25-30 i lose connection, in my house, like from one room to another. my Pebble got more than twice that range. much close to 100+ feet. i miss calls, texts, etc. very frustrating. V2.0 will need to have built-in wifi IMHO.

    “At the Apple event on 10 March, 2015 Kevin Lynch said: “Apple watch communicates with your iPhone over wifi as well as bluetooth”

  12. Like Steve, I can not be more than 20-30 feet from my iphone or else I receive no messages/alerts/calls. Very frustrating and definaely a deal breaker for me. It’s basically useless. I have an appointment at Aple tomorrow and hope I can get this issue resoved, otherwise….very unhappy longtime Apple customer.

  13. I left my phone at home by accident. While I was in Publix I got a text on my watch from my wife. How did that happen? I also successfully responded.

  14. The iWatch is terrible regarding no notification, or haptic response, when leaving the paired iPhone behind. Pebble has a much better system, and you would think Apple would have done better, but they don’t. When you walk away from your iPhone and have on a Pebble watch the watch buzzes you on your wrist and lets you know. You get more response when you’re using the fitness app while walking on the Apple watch, and only a small red rectangle on your wrist with no haptic feedback.

  15. So they are selling apple watches that have 4G, LTE, and wifi. So, does that mean that it has internet without being close to the phone? Like could I leave my phone home and it could still work when I go somewhere else? I’m confused to how that works.

  16. The wifi on my phone is off, Bluetooth is off but I am receiving text messages and whatsapp, emails on my iwatch…can someone explain that?

  17. I was just (literally at 2pm) answering calls from my apple watch
    while the phone was getting repaired 2 miles away… yes 2 miles away.
    i DONT KNOW HOW
    BUT IT WORKED! GO APPLE!

  18. I have new iPhone 7 plus and wear a Bluetooth headset for phone calls and music. I am wanting to leave the phone protected in my truck or other safe place. Will an Apple Watch let me do this? At the most, we’re talking 75 feet.

  19. This is NOT true, both the apple watch Series 1 and 2 have 2ghz Wifi supported chips inside of the watch! When Bluetooth isn’t available it will try and connect to known networks that you have previously connected to with your iPhone. It will not connect however to public Wifi Networks that require a login page or authentication or 5ghz networks.

  20. Thank you!! I’m enjoying my new Apple Watch! I highly recommend Apple products, have been a fan around 2007!!!

  21. What is the point of the iwatch if u need to have your phone with u to make it work anyway? At best it’s a heart rate monitor.

  22. I have the Series 2 watch. Right now, I am loving the wi-fi distance connectivity. It wasn’t something I noticed much, until I forgot my phone at home this morning and was astonished to get a news notification on my watch! I checked it out and noticed that my watch had automatically connected to my work wi-fi. I happened to leave my phone’s wi-fi on and it’s connected to the network at home, so they’re in contact. What a lifesaver!

  23. Lost my apple 6s phone on a Tuesday in a different city then where I live. The distance between the 2 cities are 1 hour and 30 minutes. I figured the watch was useless so I did not continue to wear it. My new phone was in route to me so I decided to wear my watch that day. I started getting messages and was able to message back. I turned back on the service on my old phone and have not yet received my new phone which is not activated yet. I have no idea how my apple watch is working with my lost phone being so far away.

  24. This is very strange !!! Though i switched off both WIFI and Bluetooth on my phone, my apple watch is still connected (Series-2). I recently upgraded to iOS11.
    Could this be a bug ?

  25. I was out at a cigar lounge in one area of the city, did not know I had left my phone until I was in another cigar lounge on the other side of town looking for my phone. I was still able to reply to text messages. My phone was connected to the wifi. I am just amazed that this was possible.

  26. I recently got an Apple Watch for Christmas and I love it it’s so convenient for school I can leave it in my locker and go to all my classes without my phone Btw.. if your using this for school or are somewhere where you can’t have your phone/ringer on turn the watch an airplane mode/do not disturb I had my phone in my pocket once and they both went off I was so lucky my teacher didn’t notice the phone 😂

  27. My programmer is trying to convince me to move to .net from PHP. I have always disliked the idea because of the expenses. But he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using WordPress on several websites for about a year and am concerned about switching to another platform. I have heard good things about blogengine.net.

    Is there a way I can transfer all my wordpress posts into it? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  28. I have the I phone X and Apple Watch series 3 and have no problems at home any where I go in the house of 1700 feet.

  29. I have an X and series 3 watch with Sprint service and it works great. I generally leave my phone at home or in the car when I am out and about and have had no issues.

  30. I have iPhone 5s, it works smoothly with a range of 100 meters, Is Bluetooth version 5 has the cover more distance.

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