Since its inception, the Apple Watch has required a compatible iPhone to work. But starting with watchOS 10, that could change entirely.
According to leaker @analyst941 on Twitter (a leaker who’s credited with revealing accurate information on the Dynamic Island ahead of the iPhone 14 Pro’s unveiling), Apple is working on a new feature that will allow you to sync your Apple Watch with other Apple-branded devices, including your iPad and Mac. This also means you could pair your Apple Watch with more than one iPhone, which would be a great quality-of-life improvement for those who carry two iPhones every day.
If you know anything about Apple as a company, you’d think that a feature like this would go against everything they stand for. The company has been pretty stern about requiring an iPhone to use an Apple Watch, but we’ve seen Apple evolve into a brand that–on the surface–seems to care more about its users than ever before. From customizing the lock screen on the iPhone to bringing ports back to the MacBook, they’ve demonstrated that they’re willing to be flexible when there’s enough demand. And for those who don’t own an iPhone but want an Apple Watch to go with their iPad or Mac, Apple could be finally catering to their desire.
Of course, the big question is whether watchOS 10 will continue to require an iPhone for initial setup, or if the process will be ported to the iPad and Mac. I would bet that Apple keeps this restriction in place, if only because cellular Apple Watches need an iPhone with an active service line anyway. Still, with the Health app reportedly heading to the iPad this year, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Apple give you permission to pair your Apple Watch directly with another device and skip over the iPhone completely.
At the very least, it looks like the Apple Watch won’t be as reliant on the iPhone as it has been in the past. Obviously, we don’t know if watchOS 10 will introduce the feature (941 says it could ship next year), but we won’t have to wait much longer to find out: WWDC is scheduled to kick off June 5th, where Apple will announce watchOS 10 alongside a slew of other updates like iOS 17, iPadOS 17, and macOS 14.
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