Can Galaxy Watch Work with iPhone?

Troy Reeder

a close up of a person's wrist with a watch on it

The recent releases of the Samsung Galaxy watch running WearOS are NOT compatible with the iPhone. Older versions of the Galaxy Watch running the Tizen OS may have limited to full functionality with the iPhone, but those watches are now several generations old. This dynamic is unusual given the interconnected world of devices we live in. As time has gone on, the Galaxy Watch has become LESS compatible with iOS, not more.

iPhone users are typically loyal to the iOS ecosystem which would mean getting an Apple Watch. But it would be nice to have the option to use a Galaxy Watch if we wanted to. Galaxy Watches are known for their stylish design, advanced health tracking, and communication features. But to an iPhone user, that won’t matter because unless you secure a very old Samsung Watch (running Tizen OS) you won’t be able to get any functionality out of it. Users who try will face limitations in features and app availability due to the different operating systems. For example, Samsung Pay or email browsing won’t work.

Compatibility Chart

Samsung Watch ModeliOS CompatibilityNotes
Galaxy Watch4 & Later (Wear OS)NoIncompatible due to software differences.
Galaxy Watch3 & Active2 (Tizen OS)Limited FunctionalityCan connect via Bluetooth for basic features like notifications and health tracking, but advanced features like ECG and cellular calls require a Samsung phone.
Galaxy Watch & Gear Sport (Tizen OS)Full FunctionalityCan connect via Bluetooth and utilize all features, including advanced functionality like ECG and cellular calls (if supported by the watch model).
a smart watch sitting on top of a table
Galaxy Watch and Samsung Phone

Galaxy Watch & iPhone Compatibility Breakdown

There’s a key difference to consider: the operating system used in the Galaxy Watch.

  • Tizen OS (Older Models): Galaxy Watch Active2 and earlier models run on Tizen OS. These offered some compatibility with iPhones, including:
    • Basic notifications (calls, texts, apps)
    • Health tracking (steps, heart rate, sleep)
    • Watch face customization
    • Find My Watch functionality
  • Wear OS (Newer Models): Galaxy Watch 4 and later models use Google’s Wear OS. Unfortunately, Wear OS has minimal compatibility with iPhones. You might receive basic notifications, but most functionalities are limited.

Here’s a table summarizing the key points:

FeatureTizen OS (Older Models)Wear OS (Newer Models)
NotificationsYes (basic)Yes (basic)
Health TrackingYesLimited
Responding to MessagesNoNo
Mobile PaymentsNoNo
Advanced Health Features (ECG, Blood Pressure)NoMay not be available
App CompatibilityLimitedVery Limited

Should You Get a Galaxy Watch for iPhone?

If you’re an iPhone user invested in the Apple ecosystem, an Apple Watch provides a more seamless and feature-rich experience.

However, if you’re interested in a Galaxy Watch and are aware of the limitations on iPhone, it might still be an option for basic functionalities like notifications and health tracking. Just be sure to confirm if the specific Galaxy Watch model uses Tizen or Wear OS before you buy it. In general the Galaxy Watch 4 and newer are just not recommended for pairing with an iPhone.

Key Takeaways

  • Galaxy Watch 4 and newer use WearOS, which is largely incompatible with iOS
  • Samsung Galaxy Watches can pair with iPhones via Bluetooth and a companion app.
  • There may be functionality limitations due to different operating systems.
  • Older Galaxy Watch models may not support the latest iOS updates.

Compatibility and Functionality

Setting up and using a Galaxy Watch with an iPhone involves understanding which models are compatible and the features that are available or limited due to differing operating systems. As can be seen from the video above, the Galaxy Watch 4 and newer (like Watch 5, Watch 6, etc.) aren’t even presented as options in the Samsung app.

Setting Up Galaxy Watch with iPhone

If you have a Galaxy Watch 3 (or older) and want to pair it with with an iPhone, start by downloading the Galaxy Wearable app from the App Store. After installing, open the app and select ‘pair a new device’. Bluetooth must be on before initiating. The process is similar for various models, from the Galaxy Watch Active to the Galaxy Watch 3.

Once paired, iPhone users can receive notifications, manage music playback, and track health goals. However, features like Samsung Pay, texting, and the full range of watch faces on Android devices may be restricted. While calls can be made if the watch supports LTE, some sync features may not be as seamless.

Operating Systems and Updates

The Galaxy Watch 4 and later, running Wear OS, are incompatible with iPhones, as Samsung chose not to support the connection. Earlier models ran Tizen OS and could connect with iPhones with more functionality. Updates and support depend on the operating system on the watch and the compatibility with the companion app.