The Apple Watch is an incredible device that allows you to track fitness, manage notifications, make calls, listen to music, and much more – all from your wrist. A key feature of the Apple Watch is its seamless integration with the iPhone, providing additional functionality and conveniences. But what if you wanted to gift an Apple Watch to a family member who doesn’t have an iPhone? Thanks to Apple’s Family Setup feature, you can set up an Apple Watch for someone without needing their own iPhone.
Introduced in 2020, Family Setup allows a single iPhone to pair with multiple Apple Watches. It was designed so children or elderly family members without iPhones could still utilize an Apple Watch. An anchor iPhone is required for initial setup, but then the paired watches can be used independently. Family members can make calls, send messages, stream music, use apps, and more. You can even track their location via Find My.
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Steps to Set Up Apple Watch Without an iPhone
While an iPhone is needed temporarily for setup, once completed the Apple Watch functions solo without an iPhone required. Here is how to get it all configured:
Acquire an Apple Watch
First, you’ll need to purchase an Apple Watch. Only certain models support Family Setup: Series 4 or later or SE. Cellular models allow for calling and streaming away from WiFi, so may be the better choice if no iPhone.
Update Devices and Install Watch App
Ensure your iPhone is updated to iOS 14 or later. Update your Apple Watch to WatchOS 7 or later, or get a brand new watch which comes preset. Also install the Apple Watch app on the iPhone if needed.
Run Through Onboarding
Power on the Apple Watch and follow the onscreen prompts while keeping the watch near your iPhone. When prompted, choose “Set Up for Family Member” instead of your own use. Follow the rest of the setup prompts including sign-in, passcode, and terms.
Configure Family Member Account
You will be asked to add the family member who will use the watch. Enter their child/relative’s name and birthdate. If they already have an Apple ID, supply that and the password. Otherwise, follow the steps to create an Apple ID for them.
For cellular models, you can add a family member to your plan or set up a standalone plan. For WiFi-only models, connect to your home wireless network. The watch needs connectivity for many features.
Set Up Safety Features
Use the iPhone to configure Schooltime mode, location tracking, SOS emergency features, and other parental controls to keep your family member safe. Enable as needed for your situation.
Finish Setup Steps
Complete additional prompts about data sharing, Siri, and diagnostics to finalize setup. The Apple Watch is now activated and ready for solo use without an iPhone required!
How To Use Apple Watch Without an iPhone
Once setup is complete using your anchor iPhone, the paired Apple Watch can be handed off and used entirely standalone. Family members will be able to utilize key features like Activity tracking, heart rate monitoring, emergency SOS, Apple Cash payments, music streaming, walkie talkie chats, maps, calendar, timer, stopwatch and more.
Of course, some experiences like listening to audio playlists and installing new apps will require occasional WiFi connectivity to the iPhone to sync. But for the most part, Family Setup transforms the Apple Watch into a fully capable standalone device able to be successfully utilized without the need for an iPhone.
So while the Apple Watch was designed first and foremost as an iPhone companion, Family Setup removes that iPhone dependency and opens the Apple Watch experience to a broader range of users. With a few setup steps, you can now gift an Apple Watch to family members without their own iPhone and provide connectivity, safety, and fun. If you have enjoyed the post, share your feedback with us in the comment box.