How you can use Apple Watch with an Android smartphone

Can an Apple Watch and an Android phone work together? If you ask Apple, the official answer is that the company’s watches are only compatible with certain iPhone models, but the real answer goes a bit deeper. If you’re brave and don’t mind experimenting, there may be a way to cross the streams and use the two devices together.

Can I pair an Apple watch with an Android phone?

The general answer is simply: no. You can’t pair an Android device with an Apple Watch and have the two work together via Bluetooth. If you try to pair the two devices like any other Bluetooth device normally would, they will refuse to connect. However, if you’re willing to play around with your gadgets, you can have the two devices working in semi-tandem.

Athlete checking his smart watch over the city at sunrise Take advantage of Apple Watch’s LTE connectivity everywhere for Android use. Westend61 / Getty Images

Depending on the model of Apple Watch you purchase, you may have an additional way to communicate beyond Bluetooth; may have LTE connectivity. Apple offers more expensive versions of its smartwatch that can stay connected, receive phone calls and messages, even when a standard Bluetooth connection with an iPhone is lost. These LTE Apple Watches use your carrier’s network to make sure they don’t go offline if you go for a run or run to the store and leave your iPhone behind. This same feature allows us to take advantage of a loophole to achieve partial functionality, even if you have an Android device.

What functionality can I expect with an Android phone?

Your Apple Watch and its installed apps will be able to stay up to date over a cellular connection; Some apps that require your iPhone may work unexpectedly.

Young lady using smart watch on the street Tang Ming Tung / Getty Images

Also, while one can send and receive phone calls, messaging can be a bit more cumbersome. iMessage, for example, tends to work with this setting, but standard text messages (SMS) fail; a significant problem as your Android device will normally want to send all messages as standard SMS texts.

Since you won’t have access to an iPhone, you won’t be able to keep your device and software properly updated either. If you want to install a new app on your watch, you are out of luck as you need an iPhone to complete this function.

What do I need to start with this project?

The procedure for getting your Apple Watch to work with an Android smartphone will require the following:

  • An unlocked Apple Watch with LTE
  • An unlocked Android smartphone
  • An unlocked iPhone 6 or later
  • A SIM card removal tool.

If you’re not sure whether the Apple devices you’re using are unlocked or not, you can contact Apple or your carrier for more information. If you are unsure about your Android device, we recommend contacting your carrier.

Cropped Image Of Hand Inserting Sim Card In Mobile Phone You will need access to your iPhone’s SIM card for this project. Witthaya Prasongsin / EyeEm / Getty Images

Note : You also need to be on a cellular network that supports the use of the Apple Watch. In the United States, these networks include AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon.

How to connect my Apple Watch and Android phone?

Make sure your Apple Watch is properly set up with the selected iPhone device. For more information, be sure to check out our article on building an Apple Watch for the first time. Unfortunately, you’ll have to start with an iPhone to set up the Apple Watch and connect it to your carrier’s LTE network.

Material background mockups -cuba- / Getty Images

Once your Apple Watch is ready, follow the steps below.

  1. Start by turning off your iPhone, Android phone, and Apple Watch.
  2. Next, use the SIM card tool to remove the SIM card from your iPhone.
  3. Use the SIM card tool to put your iPhone SIM card into your Android phone and then turn it on.
  4. Once your Android phone has turned on and is connected to your mobile provider’s network, turn on the Apple Watch.
  5. You should now see that your Android device is connected to your carrier as usual and your Apple Watch is also connected.
  6. Start receiving calls and more on your Apple Watch, despite having an Android phone as your primary device.

What exactly is going on with my iPhone and Android phone?

Your two devices are not communicating with each other; from a technical point of view, they remain totally incompatible. However, setting your watch up with LTE means you no longer need to use an iPhone to complete some of its core functions.

Mobile phone mast against blue sky Your Apple Watch and your Android smartphone aren’t talking — they’re using your cellular service. Jeffoto / Getty Images

Prepare to see a loss of functionality, and constant use of LTE will drain your Apple Watch battery faster than usual. While it’s a fun experiment overall, if you love Android, you’re better off grabbing a dedicated smartwatch that’s compatible with your phone.