Apple Watch GPS vs. Cellular: Which Is Better?

About Apple Watch GPS vs. Cellular, If you’re a fan of Apple tech, you’ve probably heard of GPS plus Cellular, which refers to the two options available for Apple’s watch. Since Apple smartwatches have over 100 million users worldwide, it’s safe to say the company revolutionized the industry, taking the title of the most used watch. 

But what is the difference between GPS plus Cellular? Which one should you choose? Both models share an identical appearance and sleek design but offer distinct features appealing to different users. Here are all the facts so you can make a better decision.

Table of Contents

Apple 5 watch series

Apple 5 watch series

What Can Apple GPS Plus Cellular Do?

Apple’s iwatch is a fantastic accessory for your phone and one of the best fitness accessories. With so many models available, how do you distinguish which one to choose? Apple GPS + Cellular shares these features and others, like health tracking and email capability. Both models support WiFi and Bluetooth. The main difference between them, therefore, lies in connectivity.  

Backpackers hiking

Apple’s cellular watch offers a direct connection, allowing you to use its features without having your phone. This includes the GPS feature. So if you like going for runs or hikes and don’t want a phone weighing you down, the cellular model is best for you.

Additionally, it provides communication via calls and text in addition to accessing Siri. With the Apple GPS model, you need to have your phone with you or connect to the internet using a WiFi network. You’ll have limited options to run the watch’s features without a service.

Wifi hotspot interface

Wifi hotspot interface

I watch Cellular vs. GPS.

There are several differences between the Cellular and GPS models. First, Apple’s Cellular Watch requires a cellular LTE connection for its unique features to function. Therefore, the phone and watch must use the same carrier. Moreover, you cannot just set up a new carrier service for the watch service.

Cellular LTE connection

Cellular LTE connection

Secondly, the Apple Watch Cellular also uses more battery than the GPS model. It is because it’s constantly searching for a cellular LTE connection, unlike the GPS model that connects via Bluetooth only. Fortunately, you can turn off specific features on both watches to conserve power.  

If you choose the Apple Watch Cellular, you can stream podcasts, Apple Music, and other supported streaming services. In addition, you can also sync music directly to your watch to access content even when cell service is unavailable. 

Apple Watch GPS Cellular vs. GPS

The debate over Apple Watch GPS Cellular vs. GPS is one of convenience and connectivity. The cellular model lets you leave your phone at home and still send or receive texts and calls. You also get to stream content remotely. 

The convenience and connectivity are all possible thanks to the e-sim activated by your carrier service. E-sims are virtual, allowing you to use a mobile data plan without a physical sim. This feature makes the Apple Watch GPS Cellular a fine option for people who often forget their phone at home or don’t want to carry it around. 

The GPS-only watch offers most of the same features as the cellular model, except you must have the phone within range of your watch. GPS models must also connect to the phone through Bluetooth or WiFi. Without that connection, you can’t send or receive any notifications or text messages. 

Apple Watch Series Cellular vs. GPS

If you’re still confused about the difference between the Apple Watch Series Cellular and the GPS model, think of the former as a separate mini-phone on your wrist. You can use all of its features using data without having to connect to an iPhone or WiFi. 

GPS navigation application

Both models share some similarities, but the cellular model has some extra features. Family setup mode allows you to set up an Apple Watch for relatives who don’t own an iPhone but want to use an Apple Watch. With this feature, they can send texts, make calls, and share their location with the ‘parent’ iPhone you used to set up their Apple Watch. 

However, the family setup feature is only available on the cellular model and isn’t available in all countries and regions. Moreover, because of its extra features, the Apple Cellular Watch is more expensive than the GPS-only model by some $100. This price varies depending on the case you’ll buy and doesn’t consider network carrier prices or subscription plans. 

Additionally, the GPS model grants 11 hours of playback, compared to the cellular model, which offers 8 hours of playback when using a cellular network.

A Breakdown of the Differences Between Cellular and GPS watch

Apple GPS WatchCellular Apple Watch
More affordableYou don’t need your phone for it to work
Marginally longer battery lifeOffers support for Apple Music streaming
Multiple color optionsHas stainless steel, titanium, and aluminum models


Should You Buy a Cellular Apple Watch?

The Apple Cellular Watch is the right option for most users. It’s got some of the best features in addition to working independently from your phone. It’s definitely worth the extra expense. 

Can My Used Apple Watch GPS Work on the Cellular Network?

Unfortunately, only Apple Watch GPS plus Cellular has cellular connectivity capabilities. You should also know that only the watch with cellular capability has a red ring on its digital crown. 

Do You Pay Monthly for Apple Watch Cellular?

Yes. The first 90 days are free. After that, the monthly fee for Apple Watch Cellular is $10. 


The option you settle on will reflect your daily routine and goals. If you’re an avid runner, hiker, surfer, or love the great outdoors, you’ll want the cellular Apple Watch. Its incredible range and freedom won’t take away from your experience; it essentially functions as a “mini-phone.” 

However, if you’re unlikely to leave your phone behind even when you’re out and about, then the GPS-only Apple Watch is the best option. Know your goals and desires before making your choice.

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