+ Thursday October 24th, 2019

We’ve spoken a number of times recently about the dearth of development in the Android-powered Wear OS space. While Google’s Wear OS fumbles around in the weeds, the smartwatch war – such as it is – is being won resoundingly by Apple’s Watch.

It stands to reason that many would ask “Can I use an Apple Watch on Android?” and we can well understand why you’d want to know. Apple’s Watch is one of the best smartwatches around, and despite what some might see as some clumsy design, it sells in huge volumes. Apple has made a smartwatch that people actually want and use.

Wear OS even works on iOS, so it stands to reason that Apple Watch would work on Android, right?

Sadly, the Apple Watch won’t work with Android

If you want to activate and set up your Apple Watch, you need an iPhone. You need to use the built-in Watch app on your iPhone to activate your watch, setup things like iCloud and Apple Pay, and activate cellular connectivity if you have a watch with LTE.

There’s no way to pair an Apple Watch with an Android phone after setup, either. While it does use Bluetooth, yes, the Apple Watch is made explicitly to work with the iPhone and no others.

A workaround requires a LTE Apple Watch, and you’ll still need an iPhone

This is a workaround, but only kind of. You can use an Apple Watch with an Android phone, but to be really accurate, you’d be using it while using an Android rather than with it.

To make this work, you’ll need an LTE Apple Watch, along with access to an iPhone. You’ll also want your nano-SIM card for your phone, with number sharing turned on (you’d need to ask your carrier about that one).

Set up the Apple Watch, using an iPhone for the process, and activate the cellular capability on your watch. Once set up, take the SIM from the iPhone and pop it in your Android phone of choice.

What you’ll then have is a smartwatch that can make and receive calls, send and receive SMS, and both using the same mobile number as your phone. However, that’s about where the functionality ends.

Whatever data your watch collects – e.g. fitness, sleep, etc. – will stay on your watch. There’s no way we’re aware of to get that data onto your Android phone. The watch and phone aren’t paired, as such, except for sharing a mobile number.

On the plus side, you’ll have a pretty cool watch that can do something no Wear OS watches can – share your mobile number. On the down side, Apple Watch isn’t designed to be used this way. The battery life won’t be much good, and the smart features – e.g. notifications – won’t be available.

Chris Rowland   Managing Editor

Chris Rowland

Chris has been at the forefront of smartphone reporting in Australia since smartphones were a thing, and has used mobile phones since they came with giant lead-acid batteries that were "transportable" and were carried in a shoulder bag.

Today, Chris publishes one of Australia's most popular technology websites, Ausdroid. His interests include mobile (of course), as well as connected technology and how it can make all our lives easier.

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Dan
Guest
Dan

I’m confused I’ve never used the Apple watch before but I have a Ticwatch E (Wear OS) it does everything I need such as maps, notifications, Google assistant.

I’d like NFC and may upgrade to a newer Ticwatch but other than that I don’t understand all the hate?

Matty
Guest
Matty

Could this be the year they announce Pixel 4 with the Pixel watch? Sources say no but being optimistic. I’m not a big watch wearer. Actually, haven’t worn a watch in 25 years but with the features Apple watch is putting out and the friends who use them and love it, would be nice to have a good android wear watch ie pixel watch.

dbareis
Ausdroid Reader

I’m pretty happy with my TicWatch (WearOS) device, particularly with the extensive app support. Battery life is sometimes an issue but I charge it overnight so don’t care about multiple days. Lag is an issue and that is because the watches have too little RAM and not on the latest chipset (which seems a long time coming, surely there is a story there).

Les
Guest
Les

Wear OS isn’t exactly “going nowhere,” as the story says, because Google is busy working on the Pixel Watch and new processors.

Because of a watch’s tiny interface, a digital assistant becomes the ultimate watch input tool. But this is where Apple falls in a heap because Siri is so subpar.

Smart watches are still in their infancy. Locking yourself into Apple’s walled garden is not the answer.

Joshua Hill
Ausdroid Reader

It’s a figure of speech and AndroidWear has been going nowhere for years

Joel
Guest
Joel

I switch from a Huawei Watch to a Garmin Fenix 5 Plus a few months ago and haven’t looked back.

The Fenix provides everything I always wanted from a WearOS watch (Spotify, 10 day battery life, on board mapping, notifications) and a bunch of additional fitness features like training load management, coaching etc that I’m finding super useful for my trail running.

Might be worth a look.

Tom
Ausdroid Reader

I do exactly this however you can’t get SMS on the watch, only iMessage. Which means if you get an iMessage it stays with the watch, the message obviously won’t make it to Android. One tip to preserve battery life while leaving LTE on is to connect the iPhone it to all your regular wifi spots (work/home etc) & then your Apple watch will connect to them when you next visit, sans carrying the iPhone. Getting Apple watch activity fitness data off the watch is possible if you use workout app like Strava. Again a bit of a workaround, choose… Read more »

Anon
Guest
Anon

You can. Buy a refurbished iPhone SE. Leave it connected to a wifi network with your apps on it running like a server while you use your Android phone. The iPhone will ensure you get your notifications through the LTE service. The battery can last a day with LTE.

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