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Apple’s new family setup in watchOS 7 allows multiple Apple watches to be paired to a single iPhone

One of the disadvantages of the Apple Watch, for some, is its reliance on a paired iPhone. Which makes it difficult to give an Apple Watch to someone who does not have an iPhone, even if they are in the same family.

To help with this problem, Apple has introduced what they call Family Setup in watchOS 7. With this feature, it allows several different Apple Watches to be paired to a single iPhone. This means that if a parent wants to give their child an Apple Watch, they can do so without having to get their own iPhone as well. This expands the availability of the Apple Watch, at least for families who may not everyone use iPhones (for whatever reason).

For family members who do not have an iPhone, the Apple Watch offers a remarkable set of features that can help them stay in touch with loved ones, be more active and stay safe, ”said Jeff Williams, Apple’s CEO. With Family Setup, we are happy to expand these features to the whole family, so that everyone can have more independence and live a healthier life.

While there are some aspects that are still dependent on an iPhone, this is not the case for all the items. Apple points out that the App Store on the Apple Watch marks a little extra independence. So do Siri, Maps and Alarms.

Family members who use Family Setup will be able to use Messaging, make calls, set activity goals and much more. This still depends on the connected iPhone. Parents will be able to approve all contacts before their child can communicate with them.

According to Apple, each Apple Watch user who sets up using Family Setup will have their own phone number, which is linked to a separate mobile plan. With their own Apple ID, they will be able to follow family events in Calendar, view synced photo albums and much more. There is even a new Apple Cash Family, which makes it quick and easy to send money to their child so they can pay with the Apple Watch.

As mentioned above, Siri will work on the Apple Watch as expected. And your child or other users can also listen to Apple Music by connecting Bluetooth headphones or speakers to the Apple Watch. And with Apple Maps, each user can configure the navigation to the place they want to go, whether it’s to a friend’s house or the park, while the guardian can keep track in real time.

According to Apple’s fine print, the Apple Watch will support 14 hours of daily use with Family Setup.


Apple adjusted the experience for the activity feature especially for children. Now, instead of tracking calories burned, activity rings will track Move minutes. Users will be able to create customizable goals for each Apple Watch user, including Outdoor Walk, Outdoor Run, Outdoor Cycle, which are set for children. The experience is set to include more emoji as well. Users can share their activity challenges and accept activity contests as well.

Safety and health

The Emergency SOS feature is available with Family Setup, and supervisors will be notified automatically when enabled. This includes fall detection on supported Apple Watch models. Children will also be able to refer to medical ID. And once permission is granted, users will be able to see complete shared data.

School time and downtime

No matter where the student is learning, it is important to stay focused. So, school time will help with that. There is a new feature meant to make it so that children do not have access to the additional features that are baked into the Apple Watch while they study. When school time is activated, a clear yellow circle appears on the face of the Apple Watch. This is intended to indicate that Do Not Disturb is turned on and access to other features is disabled. Parents will be able to set specific hours for school time, which means that the Apple Watch automatically activates the feature when that time comes.

It can also be turned on in the Control Center from the child’s Apple Watch.

Downtime also works on the Apple Watch, as part of the Screen Time feature. Children will be notified Downtime begins five minutes before it is activated.

For older audiences

And finally, Apple says that they have made specific optimizations for older adults:

watchOS 7 also offers optimized features for older adults, adding the powerful set of health and safety tools available, including fall detection and irregular rhythm warning.2 The latest software makes the Apple Watch even easier to use and set up, starting with an updated X-Large face that shows the time and a rich complication in an instant, as well as a boarding and configuration process designed for connectivity and accessibility features. Activity goals can be customized to help users stay motivated, while the new health checklist in the health app on the iPhone provides the ability to track whether health features such as fall detection are enabled in one central view.

Family setup for Apple Watch will be available when watchOS 7 launches on Wednesday, September 16, 2020.

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