How to Set up Apple Watch Without Pairing to iPhone

The Apple Watch is a wonderful piece of technology and it’s no wonder that so many people want one, even if they don’t own an iPhone. The problem is that the current versions of the Apple watch are still heavily reliant on being able to connect to an iPhone.

Sure, there are lots of things that you can still do with your Apple Watch without your iPhone, especially if you have the cellular version, but setting it up still requires an iPhone. So, how can someone without an iPhone set up and use an Apple Watch? Is this possible?

I’m Eric and I love new technology. I have been interested in it since I was a kid. After going to school to get my Electrical Engineering degree, I have continued to work with computers and new devices over the past 25 years.

If you would like to hear about a possible way to set up one of these watches without an iPhone, keep reading and we will also discuss some of the many things you can do with the device even without the iPhone which is designed to work closely with.

Do I Really Need an iPhone?

The Apple Watch is something that we could have only dreamed about when I was a kid and seems like something out of a science fiction movie. Today they are a reality and they continue to evolve and grow in popularity with every new version.

They are now so popular that even those who do not regularly use Apple products, would like to have one. Let’s face it, it’s basically a small computer which you can carry around on your wrist. Who wouldn’t want one?

The problem is that Apple has currently designed the watch as a companion device to your iPhone. This means that it relies on your iPhone for some of the major functions. There are lots of things you can do without the phone but unfortunately, you will need it to set up the watch.

So, if you don’t own an iPhone you may feel left out and like you are out of luck, but there is an option you can use if you don’t have an iPhone. We will discuss that some more below.

Many may feel that Apple has done this purposely so that more people will purchase iPhones. While this may be true, I would highly recommend that you do use an iPhone with your watch for the best possible experience. 

The latest watches now have an option to have their own cellular service, which is a great advancement toward a stand-alone device, but they are still not completely there yet. 

Set up an Apple Watch Without Owning an iPhone

So, if you just can’t wait for a stand-alone Apple Watch and don’t have an iPhone, let’s take a look at your next steps to get it up and running. At the very least you will need an Apple Id. If you already have one, you are good to go. If not it is easy to create one.

The only other thing you will need is an iPhone and since you don’t have one, you will need to borrow one from a friend or family member. Make sure that the person you are going to borrow it from is ok with you doing so since you might have access to some of their data on the phone.

The best-case scenario would be if someone has an old iPhone that they no longer use because they have gotten a new one. You could use their old one to do this but you need to make sure it is an iPhone 6s or later with at least iOS 15 or later.

You will also want to make sure that they have their data backed up to iCloud. Things such as contacts, calendars, notes, reminders, etc. Once that is done, have them log out of their Apple ID account on the phone. 

Have the Current User Sign Out

Follow the steps below to do this.

Step 1: Find and tap on the Settings app on your iPhone.

Step 2: Tap on your Apple ID at the top of the screen.

Step 3: At the bottom of the screen you will see a Sign Out link. Tap on that.

Step 4: You will need to enter the password for your Apple Id.

Step 5: Turn off the Find My Phone feature by tapping on it.

Step 6: You will see different categories of data that you can choose to keep on the phone when you log off. Keeping the data on the phone will merge it with any data you have in your iCloud account, so I would recommend turning all of these off unless you and the other person do not mind merging your data.

Step 7: Tap on the selection to sign out, it will ask you to confirm by tapping on the sign out again. Once you do that you should now be signed out of the original account on that phone.

Sign In with Your Apple ID

Once the other person is signed out of the phone, you can now sign in to it with your Apple ID. Just follow the steps below to get signed in.

Step 1: Tap on the Settings App to launch it.

Step 2: Look for Sign Into your iPhone and tap on that.

Step 3: Enter the email address and password for your Apple ID.

Step 4: Select Don’t Merge so that none of the data on the iPhone is merged into your iCloud account.

You will now be logged into the iPhone and you can use it to set up your Apple Watch. You will still need to pair the watch with the phone to do this. Take a look at Apple support for more information on how to set up your watch once you have the phone ready.

Use Caution

Borrowing someone’s iPhone is a legitimate way to set up an Apple watch, but you should always use caution when doing so, especially if someone is asking to use your phone to do this. Make sure that you know the person well before letting them log in to your phone.

Once someone has logged into your phone with another Apple ID, they can take control of it and possibly lock you out of it. Also be sure, as we mentioned above, to back up any important data and pictures to iCloud so that you don’t lose anything during the process.

Using Apple Watch Without an iPhone

I’ve mentioned above that the Apple Watch is designed to work as a companion device to the iPhone, so now that you have it set up and don’t have an iPhone, what can you do with it?

There are many things that you can still do even without an iPhone. For some things, such as reading email, texting, or making calls, you will need to have a wifi connection. Even if you don’t have a wifi connection there are some things you can still do.

Without an iPhone, you can do things like tracking your physical activity, monitoring your heart rate, using the stopwatch, listening to music, looking at photos, and much more. With a wifi connection, you can download apps from the App Store, use them and you can even use Apple Pay.

There are many things that you will be able to do and with newer models that have a cellular connection, you will be able to do these things even when you don’t have wifi. Just keep in mind that the cellular service with your watch must be set up along with an iPhone service plan.

Another Way to Set up Your Watch

There’s one more way to set up an Apple Watch without having your own iPhone but it does still require an iPhone to do so. One of the newer features the Apple Watch has is the Family Setup. This allows others in a family or friends to set up and have their watch connected to one member’s iPhone. 

This feature was really intended for kids or elderly folks to have a watch but be attached to a family member’s iPhone. This way they can be monitored if needed but also have all the great features that it has to offer.

Image Courtesy of Apple.com

This feature could be used by anyone who is ok with having multiple watches from different people attached to their phone. The other members would not have to be near the iPhone as they could still use it with wifi or if they have the version with cellular service.

You can find out more about this option from Apple.

Final Words

In the end, it turns out, unfortunately, that you do need to have an iPhone to set up an Apple watch. But stay patient, the Apple Watch is becoming so popular I would imagine that it won’t be too long before there is a stand-alone watch available.

Do you have a way to set up an Apple Watch without an iPhone? What do you think about a future watch that does not need a phone at all? Let me know, I would love to hear from you!

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