Apple Watch GPS vs. Cellular: Full Comparison

Apple Watch Ultra - Display in direct sunlight

Apple Watch GPS vs. Cellular: Full Comparison

Apple is one of the most reputable tech companies in the world, with its high-end products always dominating the market. From MacBooks to iPhones, Apple is a tech powerhouse. Apart from their mobile phones and laptops, the Apple Watch series are among the leading wearables on the market.

Ever since the first Apple smartwatch was released in 2015, Apple smartwatches have been one of the most sought-after wearable gadgets in recent years. 

If you decide to get a new Apple smartwatch, either the new Apple Watch Series 8 or the more affordable Apple Watch SE, you would probably already have things like the right size and color in mind. But when it’s time to make the purchase on the Apple website, you realize that you have to pick between two models — a GPS-only model and a GPS+Cellular model. 

So, what is the difference between the two models? Why is the cellular model more expensive than the regular GPS model? Which of them should you buy? If you are looking for the differences between Apple Watch GPS and Cellular or trying to decide on the right model to buy, continue reading.

Apple Watch GPS vs. Cellular: Side-by-Side Comparison

What it isAn apple smartwatch model that allows you to send texts and answer phone calls when it is connected to your iPhoneAn apple watch model that has cellular capabilities and allows you to make phone calls and send texts even when your iPhone isn’t nearby
ConnectivityWi-Fi, BluetoothWi-Fi, Bluetooth, cellular
Family SetupNoYes
Average Monthly Cost$0 Usually between $10-$15, depending on the service provider
Purchase PriceUsually more affordableUsually more expensive
Battery LifeUsually lasts longerLower battery life due to its cellular capability
Best for Budgets
Apple Watch Series 8 [GPS 45mm]
  • Available in 41 mm and 45 mm sizes
  • Battery lasts up to 18 hours or 36 hours on Low Power Mode
  • Health features such as the ECG app, heart rate sensors, and blood-oxygen sensors
  • Crash detection feature
  • Numerous customization options
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/26/2024 07:25 am GMT

Apple Watch GPS vs. Cellular: What’s the Difference?

At first glance, the GPS-only Apple Watch and the GPS + Cellular model look similar. But in reality, they function differently. Here are some differences between them.


Cellular and GPS Apple smartwatches are different in terms of connectivity. Apple GPS can be used to receive notifications, send text messages, and take phone calls if an iPhone is nearby. However, most of its functions would not be possible without a nearby iPhone.

On the other hand, the cellular version can be used to take calls, send text messages, receive notifications, and remain in touch even without an iPhone. The watch itself is capable of acting as a cellular device. 

Even though both the Cellular and GPS Apple smartwatches have Bluetooth and WiFi capabilities, Cellular models have an advantage because they make use of eSIM technology.

Family Setup

Another major difference between the GPS-only variant and the Cellular model is the presence of ‘Family Setup’. Apple introduced Family Setup when the Watch OS 7 was released. With Family Setup, users can build a family sharing without needing an iPhone.

With cellular wristwatches, family members can always share their locations with each other, even without their iPhones. 

Battery Life

GPS-only Apple smartwatches have a longer-lasting battery life because they don’t have a cellular chip. Cellular connectivity causes the Cellular models to run out of battery faster than the GPS-only variant. 


There is a major price difference between GPS-only Apple smartwatches and Cellular + GPS versions as the GPS-only variants tend to be cheaper than Cellular Apple smartwatches. For example, a GPS-only Apple Watch SE starts from $249 while a GPS + Cellular version starts from $299, a difference of $50. 

GPS vs. Cellular Apple Smartwatch: 7 Must-Know Facts

Apple Watch Series 8 Smart Watch [GPS + Cellular 45mm]
  • Bright, Always-On Retina display
  • Send SMS, make calls, stream music
  • Highly customizable device
  • Crash and fall detection
  • Monitors Oxygen and takes ECG
  • Gives you better insights on your health.
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/25/2024 07:20 pm GMT

Apple Watch GPS vs. Cellular: Which One is Better? Which One Should You Use?

Both GPS-only Apple watches and GPS + Cellular watches are impressive wearables. However, Cellular Apple watches have more advantages that could be beneficial to you.

If you frequently leave your phone at home, then a GPS + Cellular Apple watch is good for you. For example, if you would like to go out jogging every morning without the extra weight of your iPhone in your pocket, then you should go for a GPS + Cellular model. With GPS + Cellular Apple watches, you can easily use your smartwatch to perform the same functions your phone would perform. 

Not only would you be able to track your steps and burnt calories with the GPS + Cellular model, but you would also be able to share your location with your loved ones and makes calls if needed. 

However, if you would simply like to get an Apple watch without having to pay additional monthly costs, then it is advisable for you to get a GPS-only Apple watch. Unlike GPS + Cellular watches, you do not have to pay additional monthly costs while using a GPS-only watch. 

Ultimately, choosing between a GPS-only and a GPS + Cellular Apple watch depends on your interests. It depends on what you are looking for in a watch and which features are important to you. 

If you would like a smartwatch that functions just like your phone, then a GPS + Cellular Apple Watch is the best choice. However, if you simply want a smartwatch for fitness tracking without paying additional monthly fees, then a GPS-only model is the better choice.


Frequently Asked Questions

Which is better, Apple Watch GPS or Apple Watch GPS + Cellular?

Both GPS-only Apple watches and GPS + Cellular watches have their benefits. For people who would like to buy Apple watches at a lesser price without worrying about extra monthly charges, then a GPS-only Apple watch is the better option. However, for people who would like to own a smartwatch that has cellular functions, then the Cellular versions are advisable.

Are Apple smartwatches waterproof?

Apple smartwatches are water-resistant, not waterproof. You can wear your Apple Watch while exercising in the rain or washing your hand. However, it might be damaged if left in water for a long period of time.

Why are cellular Apple watch models more expensive than GPS-only models?

Cellular Apple Watches are more expensive than GPS-only models because of their cellular capabilities.

What are the differences between the GPS and Cellular models of the Apple Watch?

The main difference between both models is their connectivity. A GPS-only Apple Watch does not have cellular capabilities. This means that you cannot make calls or send text messages if your iPhone isn’t nearby. On the other hand, a Cellular Apple Watch uses an eSIM, which means you can use it to make calls and send text messages even when your iPhone isn’t nearby.

What can my cellular Apple Watch do without my iPhone?

Without your iPhone, your cellular Apple Watch can stream music on Apple Music, play podcasts, find people, send text messages, and make calls.

Can you connect an Apple Watch to an android phone?

Unfortunately, it is impossible to connect an Apple Watch to an android phone. Apple Watches can only be paired with iPhones.

Is it possible to make calls with Apple Watch GPS?

Yes, it is possible to make calls with Apple Watch GPS while connected to your iPhone.

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