How much data your smartwatch uses depends on the type of smartwatch you have, how you use it, how long you use it, and what you use it for.
On average, a smartwatch will consume three gigabytes of data every month. If your smartwatch uses 3G, 4G LTE, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or a nano sim or e-sim, the smartwatch can have partial or complete autonomy from your phone. You could initiate and receive calls, texts, and internet notifications within or out of range of your phone.
Once you’ve gotten used to the benefits of a standalone smartwatch, connecting it to your smartphone via Bluetooth or Wi-fi may seem so traditional. Perhaps that’s why you are wondering whether you need a data plan for your smartwatch; and how much?
Do smartwatches need data?
Yes and No. A smartwatch can capture your health and fitness information without relying on data. But it will need data in bytes per second to upload, compare, and analyze those metrics in their respective applications.
The data must not necessarily come from your smartwatch. It could even come from your smartphone. Each device can have its own data plan.
However, some smartwatches access a smartphone’s data through Bluetooth and Wi-Fi networks. Their only drawback is that you must have your smartwatch and smartphone within range.
Nevertheless, smartwatches with their own data plans will remain connected to your smartphone even if you don’t carry the smartwatch everywhere.
Why do smartwatches need data?
Like a smartphone, a smartwatch may need data to stay online. Data means that some smartwatches can make calls without your smartphone around. In some cases, data makes the smartwatch completely autonomous. In other words, the watch works like a second phone.
Data allows you to make voice calls, send and receive text messages, and upload and download information the moment it is created. A smartwatch needs data for the apps and features that work with the internet. However, smartwatches do not consume more data like smartphones do.
I don’t recommend buying a separate data plan for your smartwatch. The daily data needs of a smartwatch can be quite insignificant. For instance, Apple Watch’s intelligent voice feature, Siri, needs an average of 63KB per instance.
Depending on how many times you use Siri in a day (I use it four to six times a day), your smartwatch would need about 11MB per month.
Although the amount of data required for Youtube depends on the video quality, the app’s data consumption is quite significant. I stream the standard 480p quality on my Apple Watch Series 5.
If you stream 480p videos for one hour, the smartwatch uses around 260MBs. Streaming Full HD and 4K videos on Youtube require between 1.6GB and 2.7GB every hour. The more time you spend on Youtube, the more data your smartwatch needs.
What data does a smartwatch use?
Technically, all smartwatches use data: either directly or through a smartphone. Your data is every information about you. Different applications target different sets of data. Smartwatch sensors capture and send these data for analysis in their respective applications.
4G LTE smartwatches consume megabytes of data per second to access, interact with, and live stream your cloud data instantaneously. However, the data consumption is not so significant unless you are streaming multimedia from the internet for long hours.
Therefore, the apps you use frequently on your smartwatch have a significant impact on your data. For example, Youtube, Deezer, and Spotify not only consume lots of data, but also drain the smartwatch battery relatively fast.
Most smartwatch apps collect data even when you are offline, waiting until there is an internet connection to sync and compare the results. Some features such as GPS and heart rate monitoring will still work even without a data plan.
Recommended: Does Apple Watch Drain iPhone Battery?
How much data does a smartwatch consume?
I don’t think a smartwatch can consume much data compared to a smartphone. Besides, the notifications you are getting on your smartwatch are already registered on your phone. In other words, a smartwatch is just a medium for bringing your phone closer to your body.
Still, if you spend a lot of time on data-hungry apps in your smartwatch, you may need a data plan for the watch. However, I find a data plan subscription necessary only if you will not be carrying your phone around. Otherwise, it is an extra cost that I prefer not to incur.
I collected the data from the time I wore my Apple Watch to the time I removed it, about 10 hours every day. I found that on average, my smartwatch consumes about three gigabytes of data every month. On the other hand, my iPhone consumes five times more.
Instead of having a separate data plan for the Apple Watch Series 5, I connect it to my iPhone’s Wi-fi and Bluetooth to share the same data plan.
The only problem is that I cannot keep far from the phone. I must be within a specified radius: approximately 330 feet for wifi and 33 feet for Bluetooth.
Here is the table of how much data my Apple Watch Series 5 used in one week.
|Day||Data used (MB)||Apps/Activities|
|9th March 2022||124||Strava, Spotify, Siri|
|10th March 2022||92||Spotify|
|11th March 2022||201||Calls, Youtube, Spotify, Strava|
|12th March 2022||70||Calls, Siri, Spotify|
|13th March 2022||94||Spotify|
|14th March 2022||110||Youtube|
|15th March 2022||137||Spotify|
Ways a smartwatch uses data
Like smartphones, smartwatch data connections happen via 3G, 4G LTE, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or nano sim and e-sim. If your smartwatch carries a sim, contact Verizon, Sprint, or AT&T to activate and integrate it with your number.
Alternatively, you can choose to have a different number for the smartwatch. The smartwatch becomes a smartphone on your wrist. Regardless of the range between your devices, they will maintain an internet connection.
You will receive calls, texts, and social media alerts on your smartwatch. Your health and fitness data will also be uploaded and analyzed in real-time.
Do I need a data plan for my smartwatch?
Your smartwatch needs data, but not necessarily a data plan. Your smartwatch can share your smartphone’s data plan.
Wearable technology is advancing at a very fast pace. Earlier smartwatch models connected to your phone only through Bluetooth and Wi-fi to use your phone’s data. Unfortunately for these smartwatches, you need your iPhone around you wherever you go.
Today, most smartwatches have cellular radios and sim cards built inside them. Having a data plan means carrying all your phone’s capabilities on your wrist. Authorized people can get real-time feedback on your health and well-being.
Pros Of LTE/4G smartwatch
Portability: A smartwatch on your wrist is not just lighter than a smartphone but it also frees your body of additional space. If you are at work, an LTE/4G smartwatch allows you to communicate even when both hands are busy on a task. Additionally, once it’s on your wrist, you don’t need to worry about losing it by accidentally leaving it behind.
Autonomy: We are constantly engaged in one thing or another. Some of these tasks don’t allow us to go in with our phones. Or the situation might be hostile for a smartphone. For example, carrying a smartphone to a hike and formal meetings. If you connect your LTE/4G smartwatch to a wireless earphone, you can use it autonomously – without the phone.
Data analysis: It is not just enough to download and upload data into the cloud. Critical smartwatch functions like blood pressure and heart rate monitor rely heavily on a data connection to compare your health stats and historical data.
The analysis aids in predicting the potential risks for illness. Some are designed to notify your doctor of any sudden abnormal changes.
Added cost: You need at least a $10 monthly data subscription.
High battery consumption: Data exchange consumes a lot of power. If you download and upload or stream online material on your smartwatch for longer hours, you may notice increased battery drain.
If you choose to have your phone and smartwatch within range, you will not incur additional costs on data since you can use your smartphone’s data. Most Apple Watch Series are standalone smartwatches.
However, if your smartphone is out of range, you may need data specifically for the smartwatch.
Have you done the arithmetic yet? I would like to hear what you have. How much data does your smartwatch use? Share with us in the comments.