Smartwatches aren’t just high-tech gadgets for folks in Silicon Valley anymore. Instead, more and more regular Joe’s are appreciating what smartwatches can bring to their daily lives and what they can do to improve their workout routines. Many of the best smartwatches can now track your calories, heart rate, sleep quality, and even your stress level! They’re health accessories more than anything else.
But they can also provide extra conveniences, especially for folks constantly on the go. Smartwatches can notify you about calls or texts, help you pay remotely without bringing out your wallet, and much more. All of this high-tech convenience seems to be a perfect combination for the Apple brand.
But despite this apparent match-made-in-heaven, lots of smartwatches seem to be tailored more for Android devices. I personally wondered why this was. Turns out, even though there are plenty of Android-focused smartwatches, there are also lots of great smartwatches for iPhone users. The trick was finding them.
Being who I am, I wasn’t content to just find them on Amazon. I also wanted to try them out myself to see if they were just as good as the competition. As a bonus, now you (yes, you, iPhone user!) can see an awesome collection of top iPhone-compatible smartwatches you know will work with your Apple device.
Since the iPhone model plays a big role in what a smartwatch can be useful for, I tailored this review’s sections with a list of smartwatches compatible with iPhones identified by iPhone model or OS version. With all that said, let’s get started!
- Top 10 Best Smartwatches for iPhones in 2021 – At a Glance
- Best Smartwatches for iOS Devices of 2021
- 1. Apple Watch 6 – Best Overall Apple Smartwatch for iPhones
- 2. TicWatch E2 – Best Value for Money iPhone Smartwatch
- 3. Withings Steel HR – iPhone Smartwatch with the Best Design
- 4. Fitbit Versa 2 – Best Fitbit Smartwatch for iPhones
- 5. Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 – Best Non-Apple Smartwatch to Pair with iPhones
- 6. Apple Watch 3 – Best Affordable Watch for iPhone Users
- 7. Fitbit Ionic – Best iPhone Smartwatch for Fitness Fanatics
- 8. Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 – Best Sporty iPhone Smartwatch
- 9. Garmin Vivoactive 4 – Best iPhone Smartwatch for Fitness Tracking
- 10. Amazfit Bip – Best Cheap Smartwatch for iPhones
- Buyer’s Guide
- Final Verdict
Top 10 Best Smartwatches for iPhones in 2021 – At a Glance
- 1. Best Overall Smartwatch for iPhones – Apple Watch 6
- 2. Best Value for Money iPhone Smartwatch – TicWatch E2
- 3. iPhone Smartwatch with the Best Design – Withings Steel HR
- 4. Best Fitbit Smartwatch for iPhones – Fitbit Versa 2
- 5. Best Non-Apple Smartwatch to Pair with iPhones – Samsung Galaxy Watch 3
- 6. Best Affordable Watch for iPhone Users – Apple Watch 3
- 7. Best iPhone Smartwatch for Fitness Fanatics – Fitbit Ionic
- 8. Best Sporty iPhone Smartwatch – Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2
- 9. Best iPhone Smartwatch for Fitness Tracking – Garmin Vivoactive 4
- 10. Best Cheap Smartwatch for iPhones – Amazfit Bip
Best Smartwatches for iOS Devices of 2021
Last update on 2021-01-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
1. Apple Watch 6 – Best Overall Apple Smartwatch for iPhones
Any smartwatch worth pairing with your iPhone needs to be a great smart device in its own right. That’s why I chose the Apple Watch 6 as the best overall iPhone smartwatch; it’s great not only as a counterpart to an iOS device but also as a staple watch for any purpose you can imagine.
For starters, it features one of the best GPS signals of all iPhone-compatible smartwatches. As a result, the smartwatch can capably track your location, which works well in conjunction with many of its other excellent features, like the proprietary ECG app and other fitness-related apps that can help you maintain an active lifestyle and meet your fitness goals.
This functionality even extends to measuring your blood oxygen thanks to the sensor and app included with the smartwatch by default. I found this to be great for keeping track of my energy level when in high altitudes or when hiking in unfamiliar environments.
But perhaps most interesting is the “always-on” display. This is about 2.5 times brighter outdoors and whenever your wrist is down. In a nutshell, it’s just a unique way that the Apple Watch Series 6 maintains maximum visibility at all times. It’s a far cry from some cheaper smartwatches that can’t be relied on in bright sunlight.
To add to the watch’s value, it comes in five different colors, many of which are perfect for both men and women. Plus, each watch comes with an aluminum case and a black sport band. This guarantees pretty good weatherproofing and excellent durability, though the rubber band clearly marks the watch as a fitness tool rather than a businessperson’s top accessory.
Still, I found it ultimately to have everything you’d want in an iPhone smartwatch. Like most other top iPhone wrist watches, this device can take calls and texts, let you listen to music, and obviously works quite well with Apple Pay and Siri. It’s a lot like having a full-on smart tablet on your wrist without any downsides!
Well, almost. I did find that the battery life of 18 hours is a little short compared to the multi-day batteries offered by smartwatches elsewhere on the market. But this ultimately minor downside doesn’t take away from the facts: this smartwatch is one of the best for iPhone users, bar none.
2. TicWatch E2 – Best Value for Money iPhone Smartwatch
My next pick is much more affordable than the Apple Watch 6, but it still offers a lot of excellent functions and easy connectivity. This is partially thanks to the Wear OS built into the watch by default. But just because this Wear OS watch was designed by Google doesn’t mean it won’t easily sync with recent iPhone devices.
This also means you get all the benefits from this proprietary, smartphone first operating system without having to switch to an Android device. The watch comes with Google Assistant built-in, plus a plethora of excellent features like 24-hour heart rate monitoring and a built-in GPS feature that works pretty well, even in places outside metropolitan hubs.
Additional fitness-related apps, like TicMotion and Google Fit, increase this watch’s value as a great exerciser’s tool. But it provides lots of standard conveniences, like instantaneous notifications and the ability to accept and send out calls quickly and easily. Call quality is a little spottier than some will like, but this isn’t a huge dealbreaker when you consider the low price.
And even with that low price, I was impressed to see that the watch boasts a two-day battery life overall. Charge it for just a little over an hour and you have a fully functioning device for over 48 hours on average. Talk about an effective and affordable exercise companion! Even better, the watch comes with a 30-day moneyback guarantee and a 12-month warranty for any manufacturer defects.
All in all, it’s a great secondary option if you want an iPhone compatible smartwatch that won’t break the bank and that still works well with all of your favorite apps and needs.
3. Withings Steel HR – iPhone Smartwatch with the Best Design
Here’s another more affordable iPhone smartwatch that I found in my search for the best. Unlike many other smartwatches on the market (including those for Android devices instead of iPhones), this watch was clearly built with style in mind as opposed to raw functionality or a sportier aesthetic.
This slim smartwatch has a steel casing that comes in silver, slate gray, and rose gold colors depending on your preferences – each can be great for both fitness or business environments. It reminds me almost of Fossil smartwatches, which balance form and function super well in my eyes.
But looks isn’t all that the watch brings to the table. Indeed, I was pleased to find that it has one of the longest-lasting battery lives of up to 25 days on one charge. Or you can alternatively engage a power-reserve mode that only tracks your activity and the time and get another 20 days of battery life for over a month in total. This makes it one of the best vacation or long-distance travel iPhone smartwatches you can find.
When set to its regular mode, the watch can automatically track over 30 activities depending on your fitness goals. The watch, of course, comes with a connected GPS sensor that can provide a map of your location and your session. Heart rate monitoring is included by default, too, and you can rest assured about this function’s accuracy due to the long-lasting battery.
But I also really liked the simplified and minimalist interface that isn’t nearly as cluttered and digital-number-heavy as some of the more popular smartwatches on the market. Even though the watch seems simpler than other smartwatches, you’ll still benefit from additional features and functions like sleep tracking and a host of standard smartphone notifications like calls, texts, and other app notifications. Alexa Skill is included, too, to facilitate this kind of convenience.
All in all, it’s one of my favorites due to its elegance and function. There are a few gadgets that combine style and features as well as this.
4. Fitbit Versa 2 – Best Fitbit Smartwatch for iPhones
The Fitbit series of smartwatches is one of the most popular on the market. I found the Fitbit Versa 2: an affordable and versatile smartwatch that works equally well for iPhone devices as it does for Android smartphones and tablets.
It’s a good “one-stop-shop” for most major smartwatch features you would expect, including scanners for your heart rate, your sleep quality and restlessness, and all kinds of other exercises. In fact, the smartwatch comes with over 20 goal-based exercise modes you can engage at the touch of a button. It’s also water-resistant down the 50 m, so it’s fine for tracking your efforts and progress with swim-based exercises.
Of course, it also gets calls, texts, and plenty of smartphone app notifications so long as you connect the smartwatch to your iPhone via Bluetooth. This connectivity is a bit weaker than some other fitness-focused smartwatches I’ve seen, but it wasn’t too bad. Fitbit Pay is a unique application that syncs easily enough with most Apple devices, so this is a decent replacement for Apple Pay if you like to pay for stuff on the go with your smartwatch.
More important is the 90-day trial you get for Fitbit Premium upon purchasing the smartwatch. This makes it one of the best iPhone smartwatches for fitness enthusiasts all around. While the Premium subscription will need to be renewed manually after 90 days, lots of folks will find the additional insights and tracking apps that come with it to be well worth the handful of bucks it costs.
Other than that, it’s a solid all-around piece of equipment that’s offered in six different colors so it can match multiple personalities and aesthetics without straying from its core style. The band is unfortunately not changeable, but it’s flexible and soft on the wrist and shouldn’t cause any undue discomfort. You do, however, get two versions of the same band when you make the purchase: a small band and a large band. Both men and women can enjoy this smartwatch as a result.
5. Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 – Best Non-Apple Smartwatch to Pair with iPhones
It wouldn’t be a good smartwatch collection without a Samsung device! This particular smartwatch is a really great choice for combining with Apple or iOS devices in part because of the strength of its Bluetooth connection. You’ll be able to sync this watch with your iPhone device 30 m away or more. The signal necessarily weakens if there are walls in between your phone and the watch, but it’s honestly one of the better smartwatches in terms of pure connection strength.
It uses all that connectivity to provide you with a plethora of excellent and consistently reliable features. The Galaxy Watch is specifically designed to record your ECG for 30 seconds. However, some of the app’s features are only unlocked for Android devices, unfortunately. This is no surprise since the watch is mostly designed for use with Samsung Galaxy phones.
But this doesn’t automatically mean that it’s not compatible with iOS. In fact, it pairs quite nicely with most iOS devices with iOS 9 or later. You can still benefit from plenty of unique features, like an automatic sleep tracker, seven popular activity trackers, and an integrated voice functionality that will read your texts to you as you work out. You can use this same function to make calls or initiate coaching from the smartwatch on the go – in practice, it’s sort of like a fitness instructor on your wrist.
Even with all these electronic functions, the watch is pretty safe as it uses multilayered digital security so all of your personal information is never placed at risk. Add to that plenty of customization features, including three colors and two sizes, and you have a great, if pricier than average, smartwatch that’s compatible with iPhones. The leather band will be a big draw for lots of folks who don’t like the rubber wristband common on many other smartwatch devices.
6. Apple Watch 3 – Best Affordable Watch for iPhone Users
The Apple Watch brand returns once again, and it’s no surprise since these watches are designed from the ground up to be compatible with most iPhone devices. But this older version of the Apple Watch line is on the list since it’s much cheaper than the Series 6, but provides some of the same benefits as its more recent and advanced counterpart.
For instance, it retains the bright retina display that allows you to see all the watch’s information even during bright daylight. In addition to this design, you’ll benefit from a sharp GPS tracker that works even in more remote areas, a swim-proof design, and automatic iTunes and Apple Pay compatibility so you can pay for things on the go, store music and audiobooks, and play your favorite media as you work out. Having the App Store on your wrist is certainly a nice bonus.
It’s ultimately one of the faster smartwatches on the market, as I discovered when I tinkered with it a bit. This is due to the dual-core processor embedded inside the smartwatch. This is what allows it to perform multiple functions simultaneously without stuttering or lagging.
Other nice features I found include an optical heart sensor and an emergency SOS beacon. That last function isn’t noted or easy to find on plenty of other smartwatches, but here it marks the Apple Watch 3 as a good smartwatch for explorers or off-the-trail hikers who have iPhones.
Unfortunately, this being the direct predecessor to the Apple Watch 6 means that it inherits many of the same disadvantages. For instance, battery life caps out at about 18 hours. Furthermore, the watch is stuck in an older Apple aesthetic, with a particularly thick band and only two available colors.
Still, I’d recommend this if you want an Apple Watch of one kind or another but don’t want to go too far back down the line’s history due to compatibility issues. It also doesn’t hurt that this is cheaper than the more recent iteration for the line.
7. Fitbit Ionic – Best iPhone Smartwatch for Fitness Fanatics
I’ve gotta say, this iPhone compatible smartwatch has one of the most polarizing aesthetics you’ll see. The screen is essentially a big square, but without any added style to the watch face. This design will agree with some and drive away others. For my part, I wasn’t a fan. But that doesn’t mean that the rest of the watch is necessarily unworthy of your time.
For instance, it has a pretty good synchronization range of up to 30 feet, which is the industry standard for good Bluetooth smartwatches. It also has a good storage capacity of up to 300 or more songs, and the ability to download songs straight from Pandora. Thus, it’s one of the better music-focused iPhone smartwatches, in my eyes.
But it also comes with other features, like a built-in GPS to track your distance, pace, and various routes, plus a heart rate monitor and sleep tracking. It also comes with a variety of fitness tracking functions that should work for over four days thanks to its pretty generous battery life. Most of these are routed through proprietary Fitbit apps, which come built-in by default.
The durable screen is made of gorilla glass, which is both tough but not too pricey and keeps the overall price down. It’s also versatile thanks to the built-in NFC chip. This, I found, allows you to make various payments on the go and access most of your favorite Apple apps, like those that tell you the weather or that give sports updates. It’ll also deliver notifications and facilitate calls and texting all through the interface.
I will say that the square screen does have one thing going for it, and that’s customizability. The clock face is one of the most customizable in the industry and its unique shape allows you to maneuver icons, change colors, and otherwise fiddle with the smartwatch until it’s perfect for your individual preferences. You can even make it look pretty similar to your iPhone home screen if you like.
Honestly, if you don’t mind the aesthetic and find the semi-industrial, squarish display to be attractive instead of off-putting, this could be a great iPhone compatible smartwatch that won’t break the bank by any means.
8. Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 – Best Sporty iPhone Smartwatch
Samsung made my list for a second time, and can you blame me?
This iPhone smartwatch is an earlier model that drops the asking price down to something much more agreeable for those on tighter budgets. Even with this price drop, it comes with a lot of attractive features like an automatic heart rate tracker, a built-in sleep tracker, and even a stress level monitor. This last app will be great for helping you to calm down or maintain a healthy lifestyle.
All this really works since the watch comes with a long-lasting battery that should run for over five days on a single charge. While you won’t be able to take advantage of the power boost feature if you have an iPhone as that’s only available to Samsung Galaxy phones, you’ll still enjoy the power and efficiency of charging – it usually only takes an hour or so to get a full battery again.
I also want to point out the high-quality aesthetic. This iPhone sports watch is really light to wear anywhere, and comfortably at that. You can even pick aluminum or stainless steel for its material. Both are durable, though the latter is tougher at the cost of being a little heavier. The watch comes in a few different colors, and so it can be worn as a stylish complement to your fitness outfit or business attire.
Like the previous Samsung smartwatch for iPhone users, it also features a built-in coach that you can engage through voice commands. This is perfect for fitness enthusiasts that want to keep their eyes on their fitness goals instead of constantly looking down and fiddling with buttons on the watch face. In fact, it’s perfect for those who often forget to engage their fitness tracking manually.
This watch will start tracking your exercise automatically and continue running all the while. Thus, it’s perfect for longer-term progress reports or for weight loss efforts, where results are usually measured over weeks and months instead of days.
The downside? As before, this Samsung Galaxy watch does have a few features that are exclusive to Android devices. But iPhone users would certainly do well to check this out if they want something sleek, innovative, and not as expensive as some of the more cutting-edge smartphones on the market. You don’t miss out on anything huge by going for this instead.
9. Garmin Vivoactive 4 – Best iPhone Smartwatch for Fitness Tracking
This Garmin Vivoactive 4 smartwatch is one of the more interesting and innovative models I found. That’s because, unlike most other smartwatches, it displays animated workouts right on the watch face.
It sounds like a gimmick, but to my own surprise, I found the workout animations to be a little instructive and even helpful when trying out a new workout or movement for the first time. The displayable workouts include strength training, yoga, Pilates, and even some cardio workouts.
But that’s not all. The watch allows you to easily download songs from Amazon Music, Spotify, and other providers. This makes the watch a great pick for iPhone users that may be used to being limited to iTunes or Apple Store-only songs. In addition to all of this musical functionality, the watch comes with over 20 preloaded indoor sports and GPS apps to help you track your fitness efforts and results over time.
It can do all this thanks to the eight-day battery life, even when in the main smartwatch mode with most of its features and apps enabled. However, keep in mind that the watch unfortunately drops to a six-hour battery life if you use music or GPS tracking. This precipitous decrease in power is the only big downside I noticed with my time with this watch.
On the brighter side, you can easily personalize the watch thanks to the selection of thousands of watch faces, widgets, and apps. All of these can be accessed from the proprietary IQ store (the button for which is located on the home screen). Other unique features, like safety and tracking apps and “incident detection” mark this watch is one of the most inventive, even if it isn’t outright the best or the most powerful.
For instance, the incident detection feature can figure out when you’ve had a fall or when something has gone wrong during an exercise, especially when the watch is paired to your iPhone. In the event of an emergency, the watch can automatically send your real-time location to pre-listed emergency contacts.
All in all, fitness enthusiasts or regular folks who want an all-in-one smartwatch will find a lot to like here. In a way, it not being designed exclusively for iPhone or Android devices means that the developers could spend more time coming up with interesting additions, like the incident detection app.
10. Amazfit Bip – Best Cheap Smartwatch for iPhones
For my last pick, I wanted something cheap and affordable for folks who want an iPhone compatible smartwatch on a tight budget. The answer? The Amazfit Bip. This super-affordable and simple smartwatch nonetheless has a lot of things that may just make it worth your while.
For starters, it easily has one of the longest battery lives in the industry, clocking in at a whopping 45 days. The lithium-polymer battery inside the smartwatch will keep running and running and running even after heavy use, putting much more expensive and recent smartwatches to shame. Granted, this is partially because the watch doesn’t have as many features or advanced functions as some of the more modern smartwatches on the market.
Still, I like this. It only weighs 32 g, so it’s a light fit on your wrist, and it includes a lot of standard fitness-focused features like heart rate monitoring and a built-in GPS feature. It’s great for tracking the calories you burn and the quality of your sleep, and it even includes sport-specific apps for measuring your progress for things like cycling, walking, and running. It’s a little more basic than some other more sophisticated watches, but that’s what you get for a really affordable price.
The watch is also a good pick for all the reminders and notifications it can provide. Notifications for SMS messages, emails, and phone calls are accurate and consistent, and you can even set the watch to remind you about sitting for too long or for various other alarms. The downside is that this is one of the few smartwatches that doesn’t include a speaker so you can make phone calls. Again, it’s easy to see the limitations that the low price imposes.
But not everyone wants to bother with potentially spotty smartwatch phone calls anyway. In that case, the Bip provides just the raw essentials that you might want in an iPhone smartwatch: fitness tracking, GPS tracking, and connectivity with your iPhone device so you can use your apps and Apple Pay on the go.
Keep in mind too that the Bip isn’t customizable or all that aesthetically impressive. It’s a really simple watch for simple needs. In my mind, you won’t be disappointed if you go into this purchase with the right mindset and aren’t expecting the world from such a cheap, basic smartwatch.
Finding the best watches for iPhone users didn’t involve me buying them all! For which I’m very grateful, by the way – it’s easy to bankrupt yourself if you try to buy all the new gadgets just for testing’s sake. Plus, could you imagine having dozens of different smartwatches in your closet, only to use one or two at all?
Instead, I asked around both the staff here and folks at actual electronic shops that I know. Word of advice? If you want to write for tech sites like me, get to know people in the industry. They’ll be more than happy to give you their unbiased opinions about different tech devices and gadgets, especially if they had a really good or really bad experience with any of them.
Anyway, I used a combination of both first-hand experience and secondhand experience from people I knew to develop the opinions and insights you see above. That’s why you’ll see plenty of scattered subjective information in addition to raw facts about what functions or apps each smartphone offers regardless of personal enjoyment.
Even with all the ones I checked out, I still left plenty of great choices. For instance, there are tons of good Fossil iPhone smartwatches. But I ultimately picked the final list based on ones I had tried personally or received personal information from.
I wrote this review after collecting all the information and forming a solid opinion on each watch. In the end, remember that all of the above 10 watches are good choices, even if I (and you) prefer some of them to others.
Reading my opinions (and the shortened opinions of different coworkers or industry insiders) is one thing. It’s quite another to actually buy an iPhone compatible smartwatch for yourself. To that end, here’s a buying guide – read through it so you know exactly what to think about when purchasing any smartwatch.
Why Not Just Use an Apple Watch?
This is the million-dollar question: if you have an iPhone or any kind of iOS device you want to pair with a smartwatch, why not just buy an Apple Watch? After all, that line of smartwatches has been designed from the ground up to work with recent iOS devices, and sometimes they even include special features that you don’t get from combining mismatched phone and watch brands.
There’s no denying that Apple Watches are among the best iPhone smartwatches for exactly these reasons. But at the same time, there are reasons you might consider going with a smartwatch from another manufacturer. For instance:
- Some smartwatches also come with unique features or applications that you can’t get from the Apple Watch line. The exclusivity that the Apple brand uses is ultimately a double-edged sword that Apple enthusiasts know too well. You’re limited, in some ways, from certain applications or improvements for brand loyalty
- Furthermore, some people aren’t sure that they’re going to stick with an iPhone over the long-term, especially given the recent power cable stuff that Apple has been forcing on its customers. If you get a smartwatch that isn’t limited to syncing with iPhone devices, you can feel free to pick up whatever new smartphone you want and rest assured that it’ll likely pair easily enough with your favorite smartwatch
- Lastly, some people just don’t like the look of Apple Watches. This is purely a subjective preference, but even I see what they mean – I tend to prefer smartwatches that are more professional and stylish, and maybe even a little streamlined in terms of their aesthetic. Some Apple products still retain the toylike, blocky quality that they can’t really get away from without reinventing the brand
All in all, Apple watches are great choices but they’re not the only ones available to you. Most smartwatches on the market can pair with iPhones of at least a certain OS update or later. This is why I include both Apple Watches and alternatives to Apple watches in my list above.
Apple Watch Alternatives
To help you visualize this a little more easily, I’ll break down all the Apple Watch alternatives I listed above in different categories.
Similar to Apple Watches
What makes a smartwatch similar to an Apple Watch? In my eyes, Apple watch alternatives that are similar to that line will have pretty similar aesthetics or preference for iOS devices.
- Fitbit Versa 2
- Amazfit Bip
- Fitbit Ionic
Note that these smartwatches that are similar to Apple Watches all have minimalized aesthetics and a focus on fitness apps and rubber wristbands. Meanwhile, they’re really easy to sync to Apple devices.
Different from Apple Watches
By the same token, more distinct Apple Watch alternatives will have unique aesthetics that stray from the Apple brand. Furthermore, they may even have a preference for Android devices but still link up well enough with Apple phones and tablets.
- TicWatch E2
- Samsung Galaxy Watch 3
- Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2
- Garmin Vivoactive 4
- Withings Steel HR
In contrast, these Apple Watch alternatives feature more professional or other aesthetics. Some of them, like the Samsung watches, are also designed for Android users more than iOS users.
Either way, any of these watches can be a good fit for your iPhone if your device is of the appropriate OS version. Remember to check the appropriate update number as I described above so you don’t buy a watch that is incompatible with your iPhone’s operating system version.
Speaking of OS version, that is one of the big things you should focus on when purchasing a new watch for your iPhone. Any OS version or later means that iPhones that have been properly updated beyond the listed OS number should sync quickly and easily to a given watch.
But you’ll also need to note whether or not a watch has a phone limit. For instance, the Apple Watch 6 requires that you have an iPhone 6S or later. This is due to the hardware requirements that the Apple Watch 6 demands for linking with your phone and to ensure that the watch doesn’t cause both devices to slow down when it sends data back and forth.
iPhones can only update so much and a phone’s physical components limit the amount of processing power and storage space that the device offers. If a watch doesn’t list a specific iPhone model or generation, remember this: the best rule of thumb is to get a smartwatch compatible for iPhone 6 or higher. This will ensure maximum theoretical compatibility. You may need to do some more investigating if you’re on the border (say, you have an iPhone 5).
For my part, I used an iPhone 6S since that was what I had already.
How’s the Connectivity/GPS Range?
One other big thing to check when determining the best iPhone smartwatch for your needs is the watch’s connectivity strength and GPS range. Connectivity strength refers to how reliable the Bluetooth connection is, especially if you move from room to room or step significantly away from the phone.
Most smartwatches these days have Bluetooth connectivity ranges of between 20 m and 30 m. However, most will also lose their connection if you move a wall between you and your connected device. This interrupts the Bluetooth signal.
All of the watches above have decent connectivity ranges. GPS range works pretty similarly but describes how accurate the GPS signal is. Some smartwatches’ GPS systems only work well if you stay within city limits, as that’s where satellite coverage is most common for Internet coverage and other communication purposes. But others can still work even if you head out into rural territory or the mountains for a hike. Naturally, the latter types of watches are better for outdoor fitness fanatics.
Is the Watch Weatherproof?
Weatherproofing involves sealing the smartwatch’s delicate internal components and electrical parts against water, wind, and fog. Weatherproof smartwatches are an absolute necessity if you plan to use the watch for outdoor exercise, especially since you can’t discount the possibility of sweat getting into and onto the watch.
Furthermore, you’ll need a durable and waterproof watch if you want to take it with you during your swimming exercises for the purposes of tracking calories burned or measuring your heart rate. The good news is that practically all smartwatches these days are weatherproof to one degree or another. The industry standard is waterproofing down the 50 m of depth, which is what all the smartwatches above post, even the Amazfit Bip.
In a way, this isn’t something you really have to worry about – just double check that the watch you are eyeing isn’t one of the rare exceptions to the rule.
How Can You Customize It?
Some of the best smartwatches for iPhones and other devices will allow you to customize their watch faces or displays. This isn’t strictly necessary for raw effectiveness or for fitness boosting, but it’s a nice bit of added value that can help to distinguish your watch from others at your gym or in your social group.
Plus, some people just like to customize their gadgets. There’s a reason we change all of our home screens on our phones and spend lots of time picking out different profile pictures for social media accounts. The same impulse holds true for iPhone compatible smartwatch customization.
Additionally, check to see whether the smartwatch in question has multiple exterior colors or materials. Some smartwatches, like the Amazfit Bip, only come with a single design and color, which limits the outfits or other iPhone accessories you can use with the watch without things looking weird.
Phone Call Quality/Functionality
The majority of smartwatches will also come with the ability to place and receive phone calls, or at the bare minimum to receive alerts that your iPhone is getting a call wherever you left it. This is something to check out, as there are a few smartwatches that don’t include speakers that would otherwise allow you to make your phone call without having to reach your phone physically.
You’ll also want to note the speaker quality if you have a smartwatch that can make calls, of course, to see if the feature is really worth your time.
Lastly, be sure to check out what other features a smartphone might include. Special apps, connectivity add-ons, or even special smartwatch assistants can swing the decision toward one smartwatch or another if you are stuck between two great picks.
At the end of the day, I really liked the Withings Steel HR and ended up buying it for myself. I know, I know, now I have two smartwatches! But now I figure I’m all set if one of them goes caput.
The big thing is that the Steel HR is ultimately much more affordable than some of the more high-tech Apple Watch offerings, but it still offers the aesthetic and style that I tend to prioritize in my gadget picks. I fell in love with the sleek watch face, minimalist design, and long battery life. In my opinion, it’s the best smartwatch for iPhones overall, even though it’s not an Apple product and it doesn’t work with Apple Pay.
But who knows? Your choice might very well be different from mine!
Q: Are all smartwatches compatible with iPhones?
A: No, but most are. Manufacturers include this so that their watches can reach as many people as possible. While most smartwatches can work with some iPhones, they also usually have limitations on the operating system version or iPhone physical model.
Q: Is it worthwhile to get a non-Apple smartwatch for use with an iPhone?
A: It can be. It depends on what you prioritize! Non-Apple smartwatches can come with certain additional fitness apps, features, or even aesthetic choices you might find more attractive than those that are only offered within Apple’s product collections.
Q: What happens if you use a smartwatch with an iPhone that doesn’t have the appropriate iOS version?
A: The watch will likely not be able to connect via Bluetooth correctly, if at all.
Q: Does Wear OS work with iPhones?
A: Yes, but only with iPhones within an OS version updated to 9.3 or later.
Q: What are the main differences between smart watches for men and women?
A: In general, smartwatches for women and men are identical with the exception of two aspects: size and aesthetics. Smartwatches for men will usually be a bigger size to account for men’s larger wrists, while the reverse is true for women. Some iPhone smartwatches for women may have brighter or more traditionally feminine colors like pink or red.
On the other hand, there are a few smartwatches that include women-focused fitness apps, like those that track hormonal cycles.