The Apple Watch is a popular wearable for smartphone 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 S21 with a Galaxy Watch 3. 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, buying one has never been more affordable.
With a device as popular as this, it is not surprising that Android phone users might want to consider pairing their smartphone with Apple’s 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, but 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 purpose of a smartwatch these days, 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 setting up 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 will get around the initial setup issue, but it is not going to 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, but that’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, due to the need for some apps and services to be paired with an iPhone.
In short, anyone can wear an Apple Watch, including Android phone users. However, the reality is that anyone looking to take advantage of the cross-device features available will be best pairing an Android phone with a Wear OS smartwatch and pairing an Apple watch with an iPhone.