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Apple Watch cellular not working? Here's how to fix it

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Published onMarch 19, 2024

All Apple Watch models since the Series 3 have featured a cellular-enabled model. Smartwatches with LTE are endlessly helpful, allowing you to connect to services without your smartphone. But what if cellular no longer works on your device? We detail why Apple Watch cellular may suddenly stop working and how you can remedy it.


Generally, the Apple Watch cellular stops working when there's a coverage issue, you run out of data on your plan, a mode is activated that turns off cellular connectivity, or a deeper issue related to your carrier or device hardware.


Why is my Apple Watch’s cellular connectivity not working?

Apple Watch Series 8 touchscreen
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority
Series 8

There could be multiple reasons for your Apple Watch issues. It could be related to your location, modes activated on the watch itself, issues with your plan, or hardware problems with your device. If it’s a new Apple Watch that isn’t connecting to cellular networks, you might’ve incorrectly added your plan, or perhaps it isn’t activated yet.

For a detailed list of potential issues and fixes, read on.

How to fix Apple Watch cellular that’s not working

There’s no single fix for Apple Watch cellular issues, but thankfully, you can do plenty of things to fix it. Find several troubleshooting steps below.

Confirm that you have a cellular Apple Watch

If you have a new Apple Watch, check if it’s the cellular-enabled version. This isn’t easy to tell from a glance, but if you check the digital crown, it should feature a red dot. If it has this, it’s the LTE version of your specific Apple Watch.

If it’s a new watch, set up cellular properly

Of course, you must set up LTE on your Apple Watch to gain access to the feature, so ensure you’ve done this correctly.

  1. Open the Apple Watch app on your paired iPhone.
  2. Tap the My Watch tab, then tap Cellular.
  3. Select Set Up Cellular, then tap Set Up Cellular again.
  4. Follow the specific instructions for your carrier as directed by the app.
    • You’ll need to confirm your identity to add the Apple Watch to your plan, and you may also need to contact your carrier to complete the setup process.

Restart your device if cellular was working before

apple watch series 6 review digital crown side button
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Generally, we’d always recommend restarting your Apple Watch first before diving into more serious troubleshooting steps.

Try a hard reboot by pressing and holding the digital crown and side button simultaneously for ten seconds or until the Apple logo appears on the screen. Once the logo appears, let go of the crown and buttons.

Do you have coverage?

If you’re traveling, you might encounter a cell service dead zone, temporarily halting your Apple Watch cellular connectivity. To check if you have coverage, open the control center by swiping up from the bottom of the Apple Watch’s watch screen. A small signal-level readout will be displayed at the top of the screen.

Alternatively, switch to the Explorer watch face, which uses green dots to depict the cellular signal strength, or add the Cellular complication to the watch face of your choice.

Check if you have data

If you’re on a limited data plan, there’s a chance that you’ve reached your data cap and can no longer connect to LTE services. If this is the case, it’ll also affect your Apple Watch.

You might run out of data frequently, but plenty of excellent unlimited data plans make data limits a thing of the past.

Are any modes preventing you from connecting?

An Apple Watch SE 2 on its side, displays the Low Power Mode screen.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Some modes on the Apple Watch, notably Airplane and Low-power modes, disable or restrict cellular connectivity. Check if either of these modes is activated and deactivate them if you’re in a position to do so.

Remove your plan, re-add your plan

If none of the solutions above solve your Apple Watch cellular problem, consider removing your plan from the watch and re-adding it. This step is akin to rebooting your cell plan on the watch.

  1. Open the Apple Watch app on your paired iPhone.
  2. Tap the My Watch tab, tap Cellular, and tap i next to your plan.
  3. Select Remove [plan name].
  4. Confirm the process.
  5. To re-add your plan, follow the steps detailed in the section above.

Contact your carrier

Still nothing? It’s time to contact your carrier. If your Apple Watch cellular worked previously but no longer works, even after troubleshooting using the steps above, there might be a problem related to the plan itself.

Reset your Apple Watch

A user restarts their Apple Watch.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

If all else fails, consider wiping your Apple Watch and starting from scratch.

  1. Open the Settings app on your Apple Watch
  2. Select Reset.
  3. Tap Erase All Content and Settings.
  4. Tap Erase All to confirm.

After this step, re-add your carrier plan to the watch using the abovementioned steps.

Contact Apple

Finally, contacting Apple support is your last resort. At this point, there’s likely an issue with your specific device that Apple might be able to fix or point you in the right direction.

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