What is the difference between Apple Watch Cellular and GPS

If you’re looking to find out the difference between Apple Watch Cellular vs GPS  models, you’re in the right place. The Apple Watch has been available since 2015 and has become the market leader for smartwatches, with regular software updates and yearly hardware refreshes, it’s the go-to for anyone looking for an all-round smartwatch with many uses including fitness and communication.

Above and beyond the size and colour, connectivity is the biggest optional difference in the models and can confuse many. In this blog article, we look to debunk the myths and help explain simply the main differences between cellular vs GPS Apple Watch models.

Apple Watch Cellular vs. GPS: What’s The Difference?

At a glance, you could be forgiven for assuming that there are no differences between the two models. In aesthetic design, the two are incredibly similar. In fact, the only difference between the two is that Apple Watch Cellular models have a red ring around the crown illustrated below. Apart from that, there isn’t any difference visually. The key differences are in how they can be used.

apple watch cellular vs gps

The key difference can be boiled down to one key point:

The cellular version can be used for calls, messages and data without having your iPhone nearby, the GPS model has all the same functionality as the cellular model but must have the iPhone nearby and connected.

An Apple Watch with GPS only connects to your iPhone via Bluetooth and uses your mobile data to use apps, receive messages and make calls. When not connected to your phone, this will be restricted.

The cellular version connects to the internet using its own in-built technology meaning that whether you’re connected to your phone or not, you’ll still be able to make use of all of its features.

Is It Worth Getting Apple Watch With Cellular?

The Cellular Apple Watch has been designed for people who don’t want to stay tethered to their phone all day long while they work out or play sports. The Cellular capability allows you to use your watch as a standalone device without having to have your phone with you at all times. The GPS model will rely on your iPhone’s location services in order to map where you’re going, which means that both devices need to be near each other at all times in order for the mapping data from one device (your iPhone) to be transferred onto another – your Apple Watch.

Having a Cellular Apple Watch and using it to its full capacity will require an upgrade to your phone plan. Where the GPS model tethers to your iPhone and uses your mobile phones data plan, the Apple Watch Cellular model essentially has its own sim card (esim) and therefore it needs its own data plan.

When You Should Consider Getting A GPS watch

For around 80% of people, a GPS Apple Watch will be more than sufficient for everything you want to do. If you know that you’re going to have your phone on you at all times then a GPS Apple Watch is ideal and you’ll likely see no difference in performance or benefit from getting a Cellular version.

Features You’ll Lose When Not Tethered

At this point, you might be wondering, ‘Well, if I get a GPS model, what happens when my phone isn’t to hand?’ Well, there is quite a lot, however, there are workarounds which we’ll come onto later. First of all, as soon as you’re far enough away from your phone to untether, you’ll have a little icon pop up on the screen letting you know you’re no longer connected, and at that point, you’ll sacrifice some functionality. We’ve briefly described below what you’ll lose but this doesn’t include any third-party apps. A good (and simple) rule of thumb is that if you ask your Watch to do something that needs the internet, it won’t work

  • You won’t be able to send or receive calls and messages
  • Ask Siri for help, including getting direction, accessing messages or performing a web search
  • You won’t be able to listen to podcasts, stream music or listen to a radio show
  • The walkie talkie feature will also no longer work

What Will Work On Your Apple Watch When You’re Not Tethered

You now might be thinking, ‘Well what will work?’ Depending on your model, here’s a list, it’s quite extensive and you’ll be pleased to know, it will still tell the time:

  • You can track your workouts
  • You’ll still be able to use the timer, alarm and stopwatch app
  • Your activity will still be tracked
  • You’ll be able to view photos that are saved or synced to your watch
  • Play music, podcasts, or audiobooks that are saved to your watch
  • You’ll even be able to make purchases with Apple Pay
  • Check your heart rate
  • Voice notes and recordings will still be available
  • Your compass will still work
  • Sleep tracking, blood oxygen levels and ECG tests will also be still available.

Ways To Avoid Losing Features When Not Connected To Your iPhone

One really simple way around not losing any functionality that is often overlooked is WiFi compatibility. Ever Apple Watch has WiFi capability and if you’re connected to a WiFi network, then your GPS watch will always be connected to the internet and therefore should never lose any functionality. Now whilst this won’t allow you to go trail running through the Andes or cycling through the Highlands of Scotland, for the average gym-goer, or normal Apple Watch user, it’s the perfect way around it.

Phone Network: A Key Consideration

If you’re in the UK and are leaning towards purchasing a Cellular Apple Watch, one very important consideration to take into account is your existing phone network. The simple reason for this is that at present, Apple Watch Cellular Models are only supported by three networks; EE, 02 and Vodafone. On purchasing a cellular model, you’ll have to contact your network provider and purchase an add-on that will essentially link your Apple Watch with your phone contract and enable you to use your Apple Watch independently from your phone whilst using the same number.

Pricing: A Key Consideration

For many, the biggest consideration when buying is price. Naturally, when looking at the functionality, the Cellular model has more to offer and therefore will always cost more. One way to save money is to buy second-hand. Here at Gadget GoGo we offer refurbished Apple Watches at affordable prices. Take a look today.

refurbished apple watch