The Apple Watch is a popular wearable for iPhone owners, but that doesn’t mean anyone with a smartphone can use the smartwatch. As is often the case with Android and iOS, devices tend to work very well with other devices running on the same operating system — and sometimes even better with other devices from the same brand. For example, when combining a Samsung Galaxy S22 with a Galaxy Watch 4. However, there are those devices that simply don’t play nicely with each other.
The Apple Watch is a fully-loaded smartwatch and one that’s particularly proved useful for health and fitness tracking. In fact, the design, features, and general experience have resulted in the Apple Watch becoming an extremely popular smartwatch. By all accounts, the most popular one around. What’s more, with the introduction of the Apple Watch SE in 2020, buying one has never been more affordable.
With a device as popular as this, it’s not surprising that Android phone users might want to consider pairing their smartphone with an Apple Watch. However, that’s not a very good idea as the two are just not designed to work with each other. To be clear, an Apple Watch can technically be used with an Android phone with a number of workarounds. However, there will be many issues to overcome, resulting in an experience that’s just not worth it for most consumers. Not to mention, an iPhone will still be needed to begin with.
The main issue with using these two devices together is that they cannot be paired with each other. Considering that’s the main purpose of a smartwatch, the lack of pairing support and the inability to share data negates the point of owning a smartwatch and smartphone. More to the point, an Apple Watch needs to be connected to an iPhone during the initial setup process. Unless an iPhone is accessible to the Android phone user, they won’t even be able to get started with an Apple Watch.
With the release of watchOS 7, Apple did introduce a Family Setup feature that lets users set up an Apple Watch with someone else’s iPhone. In theory, this gets around the initial onboarding issue, but it doesn’t remedy all the other problems — including the lack of data sharing between the two devices. A cellular-enabled Apple Watch that’s set up with someone else’s iPhone through Family Share would allow an Android phone user to use an Apple Watch. That said, it’s not really using the smartwatch with an Android phone and more of a case of just using both at the same time. Even in instances like this, where the two devices are operating independently of each other, Android phone users will still end up with a reduced experience overall. Some apps and features still require a connected iPhone to work, and with an Android phone, that just isn’t possible.
In short, anyone can wear an Apple Watch, including Android phone users. However, the reality is that anyone looking to have a proper smartwatch experience should stay within their own OS lanes. Android users should use Wear OS or third-party platform watches, iPhone users should use Apple Watches, and that’s what it all really boils down to.
For Android phone users who want an Apple Watch alternative, there are plenty of options to choose from. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 running Wear OS is a foolproof choice, although the Galaxy Watch 5 is just a few months away from launch. The Watch 4 comes in standard and Classic models, with the former featuring a more sporty look. There are over 90 workout modes on offer, and advanced features for runners and cyclists. The standout feature is the body composition monitor, and users also get ECG, blood oxygen, and blood pressure tracking. Thanks to Wear OS, there’s access to a wide range of downloadable apps plus Google Assistant support. The only real downside here is the poor battery life, which lasts about a day.
Another great option that works for both iPhone and Android users is the Fitbit Versa 3. The smartwatch comes in a range of colors, with both GPS and optional LTE on offer. Fitbit’s entire suite of exercise modes and fitness features are included of course, but apart from that users also get irregular heart rate notifications, blood oxygen monitoring, skin temperature variations, menstrual health tracking, and snore and noise detection during sleep. Users can also take calls from their wrist thanks to the inbuilt microphone, use Google Assistant or Alexa for voice commands, and make purchases with Fitbit Pay. The best features though are the fast charging and six-day battery life, with the latter putting both the Galaxy Watch and Apple Watch to shame.