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

The Apple Watch GPS (Wi-Fi only) model is the cheapest and lightest weight of all the models in the series. With 8 or 16 GB of storage, you get longer battery life, but that’s because it does not have a mobile chip. It requires an iPhone for daily use.

From $ 199 at Apple


  • Cheaper
  • Save music on board
  • Lightest weight of all models
  • Longer battery life


  • Must keep iPhone nearby
  • Comes only in aluminum

The GPS + Cellular model allows streaming of Apple Music and the Podcasts app. All models also include 32 GB of storage, and you can get it in aluminum, stainless steel, titanium or ceramic. Series 5 supports international emergency calls, even if you do not have an active mobile plan.

From $ 299 at Apple


  • Support for streaming Apple Music
  • Models in aluminum and stainless steel
  • Leave the iPhone at home
  • All models have 1
    6 GB of storage

Apple Watch Cellular vs GPS

Apple Watch sizes

Source: iMore

In an instant you will not be able to see the difference between Apple Watch Cellular vs GPS. There is a red ring around the Digital Crown on the Cellular model, but they look different on the outside. It is the inside that makes all the difference.

The table below is based on the specifications of the Apple Watch Series 5. All battery life information is based on the use of mobile only (not connected to Wi-Fi).

GPS GPS + mobile
Battery life (talk) Not relevant 1.5 hours
Battery life (sound) 10 hours 7 hours
5 hours of Apple Music streaming
Battery life (training) 10 hours indoors
6 hours outdoors with GPS
5 hours outdoors with GPS and LTE
Apple Music support no yes
Minimum requirements iPhone 6s with iOS 13 for Series 3 and Series 5 iPhone 6s with iOS 13 for Series 3 and Series 5
Siri support yes yes
Storage size 8 GB for series 3
32 GB for series 5
32 GB for series 5
Monthly cost $ 0 From $ 10 per month, depending on operator

Minimum requirements for iPhone

iPhone 6

Source: iMore

Although the Apple Watch GPS + Cellular does not need an iPhone to be nearby to work, it does require an iPhone for setup, function organization, and OS updates. Both models of Apple Watch require at least one iPhone 6s running iOS 13. Last year, Apple Watch Series 3 required an iPhone 5s or 6 running iOS 11 or later, but Apple has updated the minimum requirements for all Apple Watches, Series 3, and Series 5. There is no difference in requirements now.

Carriers restrictions

The GPS + Cellular Apple Watch comes with LTE connectivity, which allows you to turn off your current carrier plan (for an additional monthly fee, usually around $ 10) and get internet and phone connections even when the iPhone is far away.

Apple Watch LTE coverage lets you do something solo on your Apple Watch that you can do when connected to your iPhone data. It includes calling, receiving messages, using Siri, navigating via Maps, playing with third-party apps and just about anything else.

You can not sign up for a separate Apple Watch mobile plan from iPhone. If you’re on AT&T, so must the Apple Watch. You have a separately assigned number for Apple Watch, but it is not your usable phone number. It’s just the account assignment number.

NOTE: If you purchase a pay-as-you-go SIM card for international travel, consider leaving your Apple Watch at home as it will incur international charges if you use it abroad (there is no SIM card and Apple Watch).

Support for Apple Music and Podcasts streaming

Apple Music on Apple Watch

Source: iMore

GPS + Cellular Watch supports Apple Music and Podcasts streaming apps. If you have an Apple Music subscription, you can tilt your socks anywhere without the need for an iPhone or Wi-Fi.

The only GPS model does not support Streaming Apple Music, but you can download songs to it for direct offline listening. Your storage capacity only limits you.

Storage size

Compared to the Apple Watch Cellular vs GPS, they both come with 32 GB of storage. Series 3 GPS + Cellular also comes with 16 GB of storage, but Series 3 GPS-only comes with 8 GB of storage.

Case and screen material

The only GPS series Apple Watch Series 3 and Apple Watch Series 4 and Apple Watch Series 5 are limited to aluminum cases in aluminum and Nike + (silver, gold or medium gray). On the other hand, the GPS + Cellular Watch retains stainless steel, titanium and ceramics, in addition to the aluminum case in aluminum and Nike +.

Battery life

Audible on Apple Watch

Source: iMore

Does the GPS + Cellular Apple Watch have poorer battery life than the GPS-only Apple Watch?

The answer is: Yes – but only while using GPS + Cellular. Apple’s own battery tests link both watches to an 18-hour average, with details highlighted below:

The battery life throughout the day is based on 18 hours with the following usage: 90-hour checks, 90 alerts, 45 minutes of app use and a 60-minute workout with music playback from the Apple Watch via Bluetooth, over 18 hours.

Apple Watch Series 5 (GPS) usage includes connection to iPhone via Bluetooth during the entire 18-hour test. Apple Watch Series 5 (GPS + Cellular) usage includes a total of 4 hours of LTE connectivity and 14 hours of connection to iPhone via Bluetooth over 18 hours.

Testing conducted by Apple in August 2019 using pre-production Apple Watch Series 5 (GPS) and Apple Watch Series 5 (GPS + Cellular), each paired with an iPhone; all devices tested with pre-release software. Battery life varies by usage, configuration, cellular network, signal strength and many other factors; actual results will vary.

While Apple did not note which clock configuration it used for these tests, it secured the 18-hour mobile network with 4 hours of LTE and 14 hours of iPhone connectivity – about what the average person can use on any given day.

However, specific battery tests are far less forgiving. How Series 5 performed in Apple’s single-task tests:

  • Talk: 1.5 hours w / mobile
  • Sound: 10 hours with Bluetooth, 7 hours streaming playlist with LTE
  • Exercise: 10 hours indoor training, 6 hours outdoor training with GPS, 5 hours outdoor training with GPS and LTE

While the GPS-only Apple Watch has better battery performance compared to the GPS + Cellular model when using LTE, none of them work well for long-distance runners.


Apple Watch Hermes

Source: Rene Ritchie / iMore

The final calculation that separates these two devices is the price: The only GPS-Apple Watch Series 3 starts at $ 199 for a 38 mm aluminum case, while the GPS + Cellular Series 3 starts at $ 299, an increase of $ 100. GPS-only Apple Watch Series 5 starts at $ 399 for a 40mm aluminum case, and GPS + Cellular Apple Watch Series 5 with the same case starts at $ 499, also an increase of $ 100. For mobile service, finer case material, more storage and Apple Music, that price may well be worth it.


Apple Watch GPS + Cellular

If the idea of ​​going for a walk or jogging without having to take your iPhone with you is important, you will love the freedom that comes with the mobile version of the Apple Watch.


Apple Watch GPS

Not everyone needs to use the Apple Watch without an iPhone. If you never leave home without your iPhone, and you like it that way, don’t waste the extra $ 100 on your mobile model.

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