Can you use an Apple Watch with an Android phone? 

Not exactly, but there are plenty of alternatives

Let’s get one thing clear: if you’re the proud owner of an Android-powered smartphone and are about to buy an Apple Watch…don’t. There are some small workarounds to make the two function together, but it’s not a good idea. 


Apple Watch Ultra colour pop on a person's wrist in black and whiteCredit: Apple

We can see how the desire might come about: the latest Apple Watches are packed with handy features, including heart rate, blood oxygen and sleep monitoring, fall detection, car crash detection and tracking for over 15 different workouts.  

It’s also the most popular smartwatch on the market, with a market share of over 35%. 

Pairing an Apple Watch with an Android phone – and, don’t forget, these smartphones account for almost three quarters of all mobile phones in the word – makes a lot of sense then, right? 

The reality is while you can technically pair the two, doing so will result in an unsatisfactory experience preventing you from getting the most out of your smartwatch. With that in mind, we’ll talk you through some things you can do – and the alternatives we recommend you try. 


So, how can I use an Apple Watch with my Android phone?

The Apple Watch is rightly praised for its wealth of advanced features, its stylish design, and the way it seamlessly integrates with the rest of the Apple ecosystem, giving you access to features such as Apple Fitness Plus, for example. Which makes sense; it’s an Apple product, designed to work effortlessly with other Apple products. 

The main reason you can’t make it work well with an Android device is that when first purchased, the Watch has to be set up with an iPhone. Nothing else – not an iPad or MacBook – can do it. 

There’s just no way of doing it without one. Additionally, you’ll need an iPhone to exchange any data, add or synchronise certain apps, and update software. 

You can’t even connect the two devices via Bluetooth. You could do it where you set up the Watch, add a data (LTE) connection to it, and then swap the SIM from the iPhone into an Android device. It’s extremely limiting in terms of functionality.  

At best, you may be able to make and receive calls on your Watch, and potentially use voice controls -some apps may update, but only for a short time. There’s a further issue that because you’ll only be using LTE to connect the two devices, your Apple Watch battery will drain much more rapidly.  

In summary, while this workaround exists, it’s probably not worth the effort. 

Can you use an Apple Watch without an iPhone?

It is possible to use an Apple Watch without an iPhone, with a few caveats to be aware of. Firstly, you’ll still need an iPhone to set the watch up in the first place.  

Thanks to the addition of Family Setup though, you can borrow someone else’s phone to do this (but you will still need your own Apple ID – this is the account you use to access all Apple’s services and connect all your Apple devices to one another).  

That iPhone would also be needed for managing some of the Apple Watch’s capabilities, although there are some features you can’t use without an iPhone of your own, such as Audiobooks, News, Medications, and Sleep, among others.  

You’d also need an Apple Watch with its own cellular connection, if you wanted to make phone calls or send messages, for example. Once again, this will give you an imperfect experience of using an Apple Watch. 

For most people, if you don’t have an iPhone, then we wouldn’t recommend having an Apple Watch. You miss out on too many features, it’s not the easiest to set-up or manage, and the cost of the watch relative to what you get from it, makes it difficult to justify. 

What alternatives are there?

The key thing to note is that you shouldn’t be disappointed that the Apple Watch is blocked off from your Android lifestyle – embrace the fluidity that comes from using a more open platform. You could check out the latest Garmin watches too – many of these have the advanced heart rate, GPS tracking and smart notifications you’re looking for, and you could soon be enamoured enough to radically change your exercise regime too. 

I’ve been using the Fenix 7 Pro Solar for a few months now and I love it – all the functionality of an Apple Watch, more advanced fitness and sleep insights, plus it has an embedded torch that I use around three times a day.

  • Gareth Beavis – Chief Content Officer, and fitness and technology expert at

Happily, there are plenty of high-quality alternatives out there, if you want something that offers similar functionality to the Apple Watch, that will work seamlessly with your Android phone.  

We haven’t completed our smartwatch reviews here at Exceptional, but we do have some of the world’s best technology journalists on hand to give their recommendations that you can use to start your investigation: 

Samsung Galaxt Watch5 on golfer's wrist as they remove their ball from the greenCredit: Samsung

Samsung Galaxy Watch5

The Samsung Galaxy Watch5 runs on Wear OS, which is the operating system developed by Google to work with Android devices, and is a direct rival to the Apple Watch.  

It has battery life of up to 40 hours (or up to 80 on the Pro model) and comes with a raft of health monitoring features – including sleep tracking, step count, heart rate monitoring, blood pressure monitoring, and even uses BIA (bioelectrical impedance analysis) to measure your body fat percentage.  

Prices start from £219 for a basic Watch5, up to £379 for the Watch5 Pro with LTE connectivity (LTE allows your watch to connect directly to a network, rather than via your phone). 

Four different coloured versions of the Google Pixel WatchCredit: Google

Google Pixel Watch

Another possibility to consider is the Google Pixel Watch, which launched towards the end of 2022. Having bought Fitbit in 2021, the Pixel Watch incorporates many of the health-related features offered by Fitbit, including heart rate monitoring, sleep tracking, stress management score, an estimate of your fitness level, and step, distance and calorie tracking, to name a few.  

Some features are only available if you also buy a subscription to Fitbit Premium, which costs an additional £7.99 a month, or £79.99 for an annual membership.  

Hiding features behind a subscription is not ideal, but this is still a well-polished product which may suit plenty of people, even without subscribing to the extra features.  

The Pixel Watch costs £309 for the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi version, or £329 is you also want LTE connectivity (which you’ll need to subscribe to for an additional cost). 

Fitbit Sense 2 smartwatch front and back on displayCredit: Google

Fitbit Sense 2

Another great alternative is the Fitbit Sense 2 (RRP £269.99, but we have seen this on sale for £199.99).  

Given Fitbit’s reputation for all things health and fitness related, this watch offers a lot: heart rate monitoring, blood oxygen tracking, skin temperature sensor, step, distance and calorie tracking, estimated fitness score, sleep tracking, stress management score, and more.  

Battery can last for over 6 days depending on how you use it, which is significantly more than the Apple Watch, Pixel Watch or Galaxy Watch5.  

Unlike the other devices we’ve highlighted here, the Fitbit Sense 2 is also compatible with an iPhone, making it a great choice if you’re not sure if you’re going to stick with your current Android phone, and are quietly eyeing up a new handset from Apple. 

Steven Shaw

Written by Steven Shaw he/him


Steven Shaw has been a freelance writer for a variety of outlets, most notably TechRadar. His degree in Medieval History prepared him less adequately for his career than you might expect, but the years spent working in technology focused retail were much more helpful.

Outside of work, Steven is passionate about health and fitness, and particularly enjoys high-intensity interval training, weight training, and increasingly, spending time recovering. Steven loves reading, films and a wide variety of sports. A particular highlight was watching Viv Richards and Sachin Tendulkar batting together in an exhibition match.

He wishes he could travel more. He can also tell you a lot about the Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, and Carolingians. Most of his non-work time is spent with his young children, who are the living embodiment of high-intensity training.