Transferring an Apple Watch between people, and avoiding Wi-Fi

(gastropod) #1

I’m likely to get an apple watch when the news ones are out and the initial frenzy is over.

Is it easy to transfer between people (just once)? A friend of mine would like an AW, but finds almost all watches to be unbearably irritating, so I’d like to lend it out to see if AW is as bad as others, or if it needs to be too tight in order to get good skin contact. I realize the band can make a difference (it will be the default unbreathable sport band) but even the watch back itself could be too annoying to the skin, so a few days trial would be useful. Then I’ll want it back permanently. And I’ll know where to find it if need be…

Wifi: I almost never turn on wifi on my phone, because cell data on/off is as close as I can come to having little snitch. Will the watch still sync things like activity over just bluetooth? I can give it wifi occasionally to sync / backup. I don’t want the watch talking to the net on it’s own, either, so can the wifi be turned off on the watch? Is it determined to break out into the world via random open portals? I’ve seen conflicting reports, possibly due to model differences. I’m not likely to get the cellular model if that matters.

Off to read the manual, such as it is. And maybe grab the sadly outdated take control book.

Many thanks.

(Adam Engst) #2

It’s trivial to transfer an Apple Watch between people—you just erase it and then set it up again for the new person. Your friend would need to do the erasing, since it will require a password or passcode (can’t remember offhand).

I’ve never tried to run an Apple Watch without Wi-Fi, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were glitches since that’s going to be an unusual use case.

(Doug Miller) #3

The watch prefers Bluetooth and will always sync with the iPhone that way. It only uses WiFi if the watch is out of BT range (or BT is turned off on the iPhone), and the cellular version only uses cellular when BT or WiFi are unavailable.

You cannot turn off WiFi on the watch, at least as of watchOS 4. (I don’t think that watchOS 5 is different, but I haven’t run the beta myself.) However, the watch will only connect to a WiFi access point that the paired iPhone has connected to itself, so you don’t have to worry about connecting to a random open WiFi access point.

But, again, as long as the iPhone is in BT range of the paired iPhone, it won’t even try to connect to WiFi.

(gastropod) #4

Adam Engst wrote:

“Your friend would need to do the erasing”

Hmm. I may need to take a hostage of some sort before lending it…

“I’ve never tried to run an Apple Watch without Wi-Fi, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were glitches”

Oh well, I guess I’ll find out. The heath data is too tempting.


(gastropod) #5

Doug Miller wrote: “But, again, as long as the iPhone is in BT range of the paired iPhone, it won’t even try to connect to WiFi.”

Excellent! Thanks. Now I just have to resign myself to the bluetooth leakage (there’s a world of metatdata in those headers (including a unique UUID), which aren’t encrypted).

(Marc Z) #6

I have a first gen with poor battery life, so I run it in Airplane Mode most of the time without ill effects. I miss out on notifications on the watch, and live data like weather, but those aren’t crucial as I always have my phone with me.

When I need them connected, I just toggle Airplane Mode and all the health data that’s been collected by the watch gets transferred to the iPhone for permanent storage.

I do plan on getting a series 4 as the improvements from series 0 are sure to be worth it.

(Fearghas McKay) #7


Basically what Doug said, the wifi stuff works really nicely when you are at say a Wegmans/local store with wifi and you forgot your phone but have your watch that remembers that your phone jumped onto the WiFi there at some point, so iMessage still works, some people might call it a marriage saver, me I am just happy to come home with all the groceries :wink: Meanwhile Bluetooth is lower power so more suitable for near range continuous use.

Voice may work as well but we haven’t tested that yet :wink:

We have passed several watches onto family members and you should allow an hour or so for the wiping and reinstallation but it is as easy as passing an iPhone over as long as you have the passwords etc.

(frederico) #8

I was pressured into buying Apple Watch Series 3 to help monitor an ongoing health condition; I generally hate wearing watches and was able to give up them on them a couple decades ago when my employment changed. In addition to being annoyed by having a band of some sort on my wrist all the time, I have an occasional minor to moderate metal allergy. I have been wearing the Series 3 since April for 23 hours a day (it is only off my skin while it is charging), and I have two observations that might be helpful to your friend.

First, if I am able to wear it loosely, which is much of the time, the metal allergy isn’t too severe; I may have three tiny little red rings that are created by the sensors; but if I wear a tightly, which I tend to have to do while I’m working out, the allergic reaction is more severe and the itching begins to bother me after 2-3 hours until I can loosen it up and move it higher on my arm or switch to the other arm to let my skin “breathe” for awhile.

Regarding the tightness or looseness of the band, you can wear it surprisingly loose, as in sliding up and down your wrist in an obnoxiously annoying manner, and nearly twisting around backwards 360°, and the watch will still detect motion and heart rate with surprising accuracy. I guess the sensors are as much optical as electrical, as I see the green lasers flashing when worn loosely.

As for the three rings from the series 3, the images of the series 4 make it appear as though the sensors are completely different and considerably smaller, and the back is now made of glass. If I didn’t hate watches, and I wanted to lose considerable money in trading up to the Series 4, It looks to me as though there’s a good chance that any irritation or allergies from the sensors would be considerably less with the new model. I doubt the EKG feature would work well without firm contact, but I’d bet heart rate would still work fine.

Second, if your friend has allergy issues or dislikes the feel of a watch band in general, be it plastic or leather or otherwise, I cannot strongly enough recommend the Apple or Nike Sport Loop, which seem to be hypoallergenic and wash very easily, not to mention breathe very nicely and wick away moisture quickly.

That said, I learned very quickly to wash both the watch (it is of course water resistant) and the band daily with warm water and simple dish soap; rinse well, then quickly towel dry and allow to air dry while charging. This greatly reduces my metal allergy and any irritation I get from sweat collection beneath and in the band. I tried the plastic sport band included with my watch, and I hated it within an hour; it doesn’t breathe at all and was itchy and uncomfortable within minutes.



(gastropod) #9

frederico wrote: many interesting things about the physical wearing of the watch.

Many thanks, that was quite useful. Now I can blame you for my joining the frenzy and putting in a pre order a few hours ago instead of waiting until I could pick one up at a store!

I mostly don’t care for wearing watches either; the last ones I used were a succession of Casio Scientific Calculator watches. They were useful enough to tolerate, and I wore out three of them despite their being pretty robust. But there weren’t any bands I could stand (at least that I was willing to pay for), so I used scraps of denim which worked out pretty well. It’s a relief to hear that the sports loop really does breathe and wash out easily since attaching denim scraps would be problematic though not impossible.

Now I’ll just have to be strong enough to actually turn the new toy over to someone else for a week…

(frederico) #10

I was in the machine trades for a couple of decades, and it was necessary to wear a watch — on the inside of the wrist of course — to keep accurate time on machine operations. I generally could not wait until the end of the day so I could take the damn thing off, and go back to my Grandfather’s pocket watch.

I am still extremely disappointed that neither watchOS 4 or 5 supports wearing the watch on the inside of the wrist. I would think they would have enough military customers begging for this necessary feature and function. I tried for a couple of days to wear it on the inside of the wrist, but of course the raise to wake features worked in opposition and was useless; and turning off the raise to wake functions made using the watch during workouts next to impossible, and general daily use was no fun.

I have to admit, that if my carrier supported Apple Watch LTE, I would probably go buy a new one next week. Luckily that artificial restraint is enough to protect my wallet — for a little while anyway. I want that big face and eight complications more than I can describe. As much as I hate actually wearing the watch, since I have to anyway for health reasons, I am absolutely a sucker for the gamification of health apps and features; and it is definitely helping me in staying fit and losing weight. I’m also to the point where I really should have the fall detection, and the additional cardiac features.

I also thought I had little use for Siri until I started using it so easily on the Watch. Now I talk to it many times a day setting timers and alarms and reminders and appointments and initiating and taking phone calls while on the move. It’s pretty nifty. I even broke down and bought a single HomeKit outlet to control a fan that was ever so slightly tedious to walk to and reach to turn on and off. I feel so deliciously lazy having Siri do it for me with a simple twist of my wrist and four words.