Can Smartwatches Connect to the Internet?

A lot of people don’t just use smartwatches to tell the time – they also use them to keep track of their fitness goals and certain health measures, like heart rate and calories burned. That said, a good smartwatch is so much more than just a fitness tracker. Depending on the apps you’ve downloaded, it can also double as a smartphone.

Most smartwatches can connect to the internet over WiFi or cellular data. Once connected to the Internet, they can run apps like Twitter, Gmail, GPS, and Uber, and even receive message alerts. To connect your smartwatch to the internet, you will need to sync it with your smartphone via Bluetooth.

In this article, I will tell you how you can connect your smartwatch to the internet and the many benefits of doing so. I’ll also show you how you can add a SIM card to your smartphone and use it to connect to the internet.

Smart watch on the hand

Connecting Your Smartwatch to the Internet

Wondering how to connect your smartwatch to the internet? Here are the steps you’ll need to follow if you’re doing so via a wireless network:

  1. Power up the display or wake up the screen. There are different ways to do this for different smartwatch models. Android Wear smartwatches, for instance, can be “woken up” by tapping on the screen, while other smartwatches have a middle pusher button that you can press.
  2. Access your smartwatch’s main menu and go to Settings. Select Connectivity from the options and tap the WiFi icon to switch on the WiFi option automatically. You can then tap Add Network and select your home WiFi network or any network within range.
  3. Enter the password to the WiFi network by tapping Enter On Phone. You can then key in the password to the network on your smartphone. However, in order to do so, your smartwatch and your smartphone must already be synchronized, and the app that comes with the smartwatch should be installed on your phone.
  4. Tap Connect. This is the last step and will connect your smartwatch to the WiFi network.

For a visual guide on pairing or synchronizing your smartwatch with your phone, you can also check out this YouTube video:

Connecting to the Internet via SIM Card

Some smartwatches include a slot for a SIM card. If your smartwatch happens to be one of these, you can use the SIM’s cellular data pack to connect your watch to the internet.

There are also smartwatches with e-SIM (embedded SIM) support, so you don’t have to insert a physical SIM into your device.

Smartwatches with an allowance for SIM cards are a great option if you need connectivity on the go. Because the internet is offered via the SIM card and not via nearby WiFi zones, you won’t lose connectivity, no matter where you are.

Check the device’s manual to know whether your smartwatch has a slot for a physical SIM card. If it has this space, carefully remove the back of your wearable device and insert a registered SIM card inside before putting the cover back on. Then, you should:

  1. Open the Menu section of your watch, go to Network, create an account, and add and save the SIM.
  2. Restart your smartwatch once you have created an account. Turn the data on and check if your SIM has been activated.
  3. To connect your smartwatch to the internet via SIM, go to Settings, tap Connectivity, and select Cellular Type or SIM.

If your smartwatch has e-SIM support instead of the physical card slot, that means that the SIM is part of your device’s processor. This is the latest trend in smartwatches, and not a lot of models are compatible with it yet.

To activate the e-SIM, go to Settings and tap on the Network section. Then:

  1. Find the e-SIM section. Once you do, tap on it and create an account using your cellular network.
  2. Once you make an account and the device confirms it, restart your smartwatch. You will then be ready to use the internet.
Smart watches with wireless charging

The Benefits of Connecting Your Smartwatch to the Internet

Just to make things clear: your smartwatch is capable of performing well without the internet. As long as it is synchronized with your smartphone via Bluetooth and both devices are within range of each other, you can still put your smartwatch to good use. This is because your phone will do all the processing that your smartwatch needs.

However, if your smartwatch is connected to the internet via WiFi, you can enjoy a wider range of its smart features and functionality, including:

  • Being able to access a wider range of information. Even if your smartwatch and phone are far away from each other, you will have access to your phone’s most important functions on your watch as long as both devices are connected to the internet.
  • Being able to access a wide range of apps. You will be able to listen to live music, play songs on Spotify and other services. You can also be able to watch and listen to online digital media, access social media platforms, get weather and news updates, and access GPS navigation services, among many advantages. 
  • Being able to receive a wide range of notifications. This includes notifications when you receive text messages, when you have an incoming call, or when you have something scheduled on your calendar.This feature is very helpful when you need to leave your phone at home (such as when you’re out for a run), but you also need to keep an eye out for important notifications.

Keep in mind that the synchronicity between your phone and smartwatch is limited if the two devices are only connected via Bluetooth and not via WiFi. With just a Bluetooth connection, the two devices need to be within several feet of each other. So receiving notifications of text messages, phone calls, or calendar alerts on your smartwatch when your phone is just within reach makes this feature pointless unless connected via WiFi.

Male and Female apple watch side by side

Final Thoughts

A smartwatch can connect to the internet as long as it is within range of a WiFi network or it has a SIM card with cellular data. Connectivity helps you optimize your wearable device’s smart functions with the help of a wide range of apps. Additionally, internet access will help your smartwatch stay connected to your smartphone from any distance.

If your smartwatch cannot connect to the internet, that could be because it doesn’t support WiFi, it supports WiFi, but the network is out of range, or your phone is not connected to the internet.


I'm Rob, the founder of I’m a Marine Corps vet with a master’s degree in Information Systems and have been working in the technology field for over a decade.

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