Apple Watch Cellular vs GPS

Apple Watch Cellular vs GPS

Which one’s worth it? Apple watch cellular or Apple watch GPS? Here’s a detailed comparison between Apple watch cellular VS GPS. Check it out!

If you have decided to treat yourself to a new piece of technology and have decided to go for the Apple watch, now you have reached the dilemma of which model to go for. The Apple watch has quite a few different models, but today we will be talking about the latest Apple Watch Series 7 and the Apple Watch SE.

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Apple Watch Cellular Vs GPS

Once you have decided on the colour, strap and screen size you want to get, you will also have to decide between getting the Apple GPS or the Apple Cellular version.

When faced with this decision most people are not sure what the difference is and which to go for. In this article, we will help explain the differences and help you make an informed decision.

When you are picking out your Apple watch, decide on your budget. The new Apple watch series 7 starts at 399 USD and the Apple watch SE starts from 279 USD.

Both of these models come with GPS only and Cellular option.

So, if you are not sure yet about which model of Apple Watch you want to go for, read ahead to find more details about the Apple Watch GPS and Apple Watch Cellular.

Apple Watch Cellular vs GPS: Connectivity

Here, a key difference between the two models lies, Connectivity, with the Apple Cellular models, you can leave your iPhone at home or in the office, be out on a run or at a lunch meeting and you will still be able to answer calls, send text messages and remain connected with everyone while on the move.

With the GPS only Apple watch you will only have a limited amount of freedom, which means that to get calls and send texts you will have to have your iPhone close to you. Both versions of the Apple watch GPS and Cellular support Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

So, if you are the kind of person who never leaves your phone behind anywhere and it’s always on you, then the only GPS model should work just fine for you.

If you are looking for true freedom from your iPhone, if not for the whole day at least for the little time while on a run, then you should consider investing in the Cellular version of the watch.

Apple Watch Cellular vs GPS: Case and Screen Materials

The case material of the Apple Watch SE comes only in aluminium for both the GPS and Cellular + GPS models.

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On the other hand, the Apple Watch Series 7 Cellular comes with three case options, Aluminium, Stainless Steel and Titanium. Although, the Series 7 GPS only models comes with casing available only in aluminium.

All the Apple watches that come with an aluminium case are by default restricted to only the Ion-X glass display. The other screen available is the Sapphire Crystal, which comes only with stainless steel and titanium case options.

The difference between the two, Sapphire crystal is the harder of the two and less prone to scratches but will break more easily with hard falls. Ion-X glass is relatively softer and can take on more impact but scratches more easily.

Apple Watch Cellular vs GPS: Apple Music and Podcasts Streaming

The Apple Watch Cellular + GPS has another advantage here, the cellular version allows you to stream from Apple Music and listen to Podcasts even when your iPhone is nowhere around through the cellular networks.

Whereas the GPS only model will require your iPhone to be kept within a certain distance.

Although, you can sync your music and podcasts with your watch from your iPhone and have this content available later even without a cellular network.

Apple Watch Cellular vs GPS: Carrier Support for Apple Watch

For your Apple Watch Cellular + GPS to connect to a cellular network, firstly you will have to use the same provider you use for your iPhone, using a different provider will definitely not work.

These Apple Watch models use LTE connectivity, this will allow you to use your Apple Watch with your current iPhone plan, but there is an additional monthly fee to be paid, this charge varies from carrier to carrier.

When you sign up for this service, you will have a separate number assigned to you by the provider just for your Apple watch, Although this number is not like an average phone number, it’s just a registration number linked to your main iPhone number.

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This service will allow you to get internet and cell network on your Apple Watch without the need to keep your iPhone close by. This will allow complete stand-alone use of your Apple watch, you will be able to take calls, send texts, use the maps app for navigation, use Siri and a lot more.

And it is very important to note all cellphone carriers do not support the Apple watch, so if you are currently using a carrier that does not, you will not be able to use the cellular features of the watch unless you switch your iPhone to a carrier that does support the Apple watch as well.

As of now in the United States only Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile support the Apple Watch.

For details of other supported carriers in your country, check the details under Apple Watch carrier support on Apple’s website in your country.

Apple Watch Cellular vs GPS: Battery Life

When it comes to overall battery life, the GPS only version of the Apple watch will definitely last a bit longer, the reason being, the Apple Watch with Cellular will consume more power as it is constantly connected to the nearest cell tower and switching from one to another when you are on the move, all this needs and uses battery power.

The Apple Watch GPS only model uses Bluetooth to connect to your iPhone and will use the GPS feature only when you need it for navigational purposes.

When both models of the watch were connected only via Bluetooth to the iPhone the battery life was the same, giving up to 11 hours of indoor workout and up to 11 hours of music playback from Apple Watch storage.

Although, there is a difference of about an hour when the Apple Watch Cellular + GPS was used outside and not tethered to the iPhone.

Apple has done some of their own battery tests and put up the various results as well, so for more information about the battery of different models in various situations, you can check out Apple’s official page.

Apple Watch Cellular vs GPS: Family Setup

When you are buying an Apple watch and if you know that someday you will hand this watch down, either to a family member or a friend. If this person does not have an iPhone you can use the Family Setup, this is a new feature that Apple introduced in the Series 6 and SE models.

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With this setup, the Apple Watch can be used independently. Note that the Apple Watch Cellular + GPS is the only Apple Watch model that will support the Family Setup, so keep this in mind when you make your decision while buying one.

Apple Watch Cellular vs GPS: The Prices

One of the key deciding factors for most people looking to invest in an Apple Watch is the cost.

The GPS only Apple watch SE starts at 279 USD for a 40mm aluminium case and the Cellular Apple watch SE starts at 329 USD. The link for the Apple watch SE is given below.

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The Apple watch Series 7 starts at 399 USD for the GPS only model with the 41 mm aluminium case. The link for the Apple watch Series 7 is given below.

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The Cellular Apple watch Series 7 with a similar case starts at 499 USD. So if you want those extra features like cellular service, Apple Music and more, the extra money is probably worth investing.

Apple Watch Cellular vs GPS: Specs

 Apple Watch Cellular vs GPS Apple Watch GPS

Apple Watch Cellular

Battery life

Up to 18 hours

Up to 18 hours

Battery talk time

Not applicable

Up to 1.5 hours

Workout battery life

Up to 11 hours indoor workout

Up to 7 hours outdoor workout with GPS

Up to 11 hours indoor workout

Up to 6 hours outdoor workout with Cellular

Family Setup

Not applicable


Charging times

About 45 minutes to 80% (Series 7)

About 75 minutes to 100% (Series 7)

About 1.5 hours to 80% (SE)

About 2.5 hours to 100% (SE)

About 45 minutes to 80% (Series 7)

About 75 minutes to 100% (Series 7)

About 1.5 hours to 80% (SE)

About 2.5 hours to 100% (SE)

Additional monthly carrier cost


Minimum 10 USD, depending on the carrier

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Final Word

So, depending on how much you are planning to spend on your new Apple watch, whether you go for the lower costing Apple watch SE or the Apple Watch Series 7 both come with good features, although the Series 7 comes with a choice of glass and a variety of case materials.

Deciding whether to go for the GPS only or Cellular model will depend on what you plan to do with your Apple watch, whether you want to use your watch completely untethered. And also what you plan to do with it after you are upgrading to a newer one, if you plan to give it to someone it’s best to go for the Cellular model.

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