Although Samsungs watch is designed for use on Android devices, it is compatible with iPhones as well. Unlike its latest smartwatch, which is designed for iPhones, Samsungs Galaxy Watch 5 smartwatch works on both iOS and Android devices. The Samsung Watch can connect with an iPhone over Bluetooth, and it will run with most of the same features that an Android device has.
Once connected, you can utilize all the features on the Samsung Watch, including notifications, fitness tracking, and more. You will need to download the Samsung Gear app from the app store and follow the on-screen instructions to pair your device.
Samsungs Bixby assistant works when you connect a Samsung watch with your iPhone, but you cannot use Siri via the watch. You also cannot send texts via an iPhone using the Samsung watch, though you can get notifications about texts through the watch. In case you are wondering, that discrimination is just with iPhones, since you get to send, receive, and reply to text notifications when the watch is paired with a Galaxy phone.
When you pair your iPhone to a Samsung Galaxy watch, you lose out on the Email app, which is frustrating, and possibly bad news for folks who depend on email to do their jobs. As you may have gathered, the App Store is only partly functional when you pair the Samsung Galaxy Watch with an iPhone, so expect some apps you cannot see and use. The Galaxy Watch – particularly if a Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 comes out – will be able to connect with iOS devices running iOS 9.0 and higher, which is going to be the case with iPhone 5s and later models.
It is not clear why Samsung decided to not offer iPhone compatibility on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, but iPhone compatibility may find its way into an upcoming Galaxy Watch 5 model, provided that no hardware or software limitations remain. The forthcoming Pixel Watch does not currently mention any iPhone compatibility, and support is limited to phones running Android 8 and up. With support for the iPhone now coming from both the next-generation Wear OS 3 and Samsungs Galaxy smartwatches, this will not be much of an issue for Apple. As ArsTechnica notes, recent Wear OS devices, or at least the Galaxy Watch 4 models, are not Apple-compatible, meaning that prospective buyers cannot pair a device with an iPhone that is present.
The bad news is Samsung has said Samsung will continue using Wear OS for all its smartwatches going forward. Samsung is not switching any of their older models over to the Wear OS Samsung powers, which means that they will still be running Tizen, and will still support iPhones like they have all along. In other words, Samsung is not going to drop iOS support from its Tizen products.
While an iPhone user may find the fact that they own a Samsung smartwatch to be a bit of a silliness, Samsung has supported this over the years. However, the Samsung smartwatch may come with a few limitations in terms of features, like replying to texts or emails, and not synching with an iPhone alert. Samsung watches are ideally suited for use with Samsung Galaxy phones, but the core features are accessible on iPhones.
Siri, meanwhile, will be useless when connected with the Samsung Galaxy watch, since it would just tell you to carry on doing things in Apple. Their native personal assistant does this work quite well, such as setting an alarm, initiating calls, and so forth, but unlike Siri, you would lose work that you can continue to perform on an iPhone, even when initiated via Siri on the Apple Watch. Use Samsung Account to remotely connect mobile devices on the Watch via WiFi or Mobile Data. You need to connect your watch to Wi-Fi and log into your Samsung Galaxy account on your mobile device to activate receiving.
To be safe, you can use your smartwatch for keeping tabs on messages, then respond to them using an iPhone later on, should it be unavailable for now.
Since Galaxy Watch 4 requires a smartphone with support for Google Mobile Services (GMS) in order to activate, it limits its compatibility to Android devices, just as the Apple Watch requires an iOS device to activate and work. Most smartwatches compatible with Android smartphones typically also offer Apples iOS support. But this tune may change. Even if Samsung does eventually ditch its proprietary Tizen operating system for its smartwatches starting with the Galaxy Watch 4 line, Samsungs older Galaxy watches will remain iPhone-compatible. The inclusion of the latest Wear OS, developed by Google and Samsung together, rather than Tizen OS used on the earlier-generation Google Galaxy watches means that Galaxy Watch 4 will not be compatible with iPhone.
The next Pixel Watch will run Wear OS, but there is also the newly launched Montblanc Summit 3. What is cool about Montblancs smartwatch is that despite running Wear OS 3, it is compatible with the iPhone. The fact that Samsungs Galaxy Watch 4 is unusable on iOS devices, and does not perform quite so well on some Android phones, might not be great news for those outside of Samsungs ecosystem, but if you do happen to own the Galaxy S21, or one of Samsungs other top phones, it is still something to check out. If you have been curious about the Galaxy smartphones for some time now, and want to know more, I would recommend reading the One Month Later review by Jaime Rivera, and our case deals and collections on it.
While you might be thinking Samsungs latest moves are about creating a few exclusives, similar to the Apple Watchs exclusivity compatibility with the iPhone, this is actually not the case. With iOS being one of the dominant players in the smartwatch market, Samsung is hurting Samsungs chances to compete against their U.S.-based competitors if many of their potential users cannot really hook up with those smartwatches.