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Apple Watch Poor LTE Performance


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My day 1 impressions of the AW LTE is that it can't grab LTE very well. In my home with completely usable band 26 on my iPhone, the watch struggles to find a signal. If I go outside, it will manage to connect, but still doesn't have great signal strength. (Though it is usable)

I'm hoping a carrier/modem update fixes this soon, but if it's inherent with the antenna design, I'm going to have to return it. It doesn't get LTE at all at my gym where my phone *does*, and that's the whole reason I got the LTE model.

Is there an avenue where I can log this with Apple in the hopes for a fix?

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30 minutes ago, Galaxyguy said:

I'm not an apple person, but is there a chance it's not latching onto B26? I could see how that could really limit your range. Otherwise, that's not good if its radio is that weak. 

It really seems like it - this whole experience is taking me back to the coverage when this area only had B25. It performs exactly as if B26 isn't working at all, but there's no way to know. Or, the radio is just poor.

I hope others are able to chime in with similar findings.

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I have watched several youtube videos on experience so far and there are pros and cons.  One video stated that Apple admitted to a wifi bug with the watch.  I would think that Apple would release OS updates very soon to address some of the issues.

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I'm getting about 2 bars on my watch. I expected low signal as Sprint LTE is still pretty thin in my Neighborhood and sadly the Apple Watch does not have EVDO/1X Radios. My iPhone is on EVDO about half of the time. 

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Ended up returning my watch. The signal issue was a little ridiculous, it's just way too weak to be useful indoors. If I exercised more outside rather than in a gym, I could justify it.

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My wife and I are still rocking the series 0 watches, and will for sure be going to to a S3 watch.  Undecided still on whether or not to get the LTE version. :-/

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Apple has release WatchOS 4.0.1 to address LTE connectivity issues for Watch Series 3 owners. If anyone here has/still has their LTE Series 3, make sure to use the Watch app on your iPhone to update to the latest software.

 

-Anthony

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Well... I pulled the trigger yesterday.  Walked into Target with my family and noticed an LTE Apple Watch on display.  Went to the glass cabinet where they keep the Apple products under lock and key, and there was a damn 42mm Apple Watch LTE in Space Grey IN STOCK.  

 

I had originally wanted the SS version, but they seem to be out of stock until November everywhere, so I decided to go ahead with the Aluminum version.  Got it all set up yesterday and have had no major issues.  The sign up with Sprint (to get it added to our account) was simple, and I first tested the ‘LTE’ of the Watch this morning.  It was both an odd feeling and liberating to leave the house without my phone.  Haha.

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On 10/9/2017 at 9:42 AM, shaferz said:

Well... I pulled the trigger yesterday.  Walked into Target with my family and noticed an LTE Apple Watch on display.  Went to the glass cabinet where they keep the Apple products under lock and key, and there was a damn 42mm Apple Watch LTE in Space Grey IN STOCK.  

 

I had originally wanted the SS version, but they seem to be out of stock until November everywhere, so I decided to go ahead with the Aluminum version.  Got it all set up yesterday and have had no major issues.  The sign up with Sprint (to get it added to our account) was simple, and I first tested the ‘LTE’ of the Watch this morning.  It was both an odd feeling and liberating to leave the house without my phone.  Haha.

Nice find!!

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  • 1 month later...

On Wednesday I contacted a friend at a Sprint store in Vegas and asked if they had the Series 3 Nike+ model in stock. Well, they did. I wasn't able to get in that day, but the next morning, they still had it in stock. So Thursday about 4pm I got it. I am a happy person! Now most likely I don't get LTE at my house, but as long as I get it in town, I'm happy. I may or may not keep the cellular plan, but I a little while to decide.

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On 12/10/2017 at 11:42 AM, MacinJosh said:

On Wednesday I contacted a friend at a Sprint store in Vegas and asked if they had the Series 3 Nike+ model in stock. Well, they did. I wasn't able to get in that day, but the next morning, they still had it in stock. So Thursday about 4pm I got it. I am a happy person! Now most likely I don't get LTE at my house, but as long as I get it in town, I'm happy. I may or may not keep the cellular plan, but I a little while to decide.

i m planning on jumping to the apple watch ...has the lte issue been resolved?

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1 hour ago, danlodish345 said:

i m planning on jumping to the apple watch ...has the lte issue been resolved?

I haven't experienced any issues yet, but then again I've only used my Watch for one call, and that was in an area where I get decent LTE.

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1 hour ago, MacinJosh said:

I haven't experienced any issues yet, but then again I've only used my Watch for one call, and that was in an area where I get decent LTE.

i m looking forward to getting it

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On 12/12/2017 at 10:32 AM, MacinJosh said:

I haven't experienced any issues yet, but then again I've only used my Watch for one call, and that was in an area where I get decent LTE.

If you forget your home wifi network, then throw the phone on airplane mode, does your watch have any indoor LTE reception? 

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16 hours ago, burnout8488 said:

If you forget your home wifi network, then throw the phone on airplane mode, does your watch have any indoor LTE reception? 

Side note - switching on Airplane Mode on your phone will not disable bluetooth connections such as headphones or Apple Watches any longer.  As someone who generally flies 4 segments a week, this was a welcome change.  If you truly want to ensure your phone disconnects from your paired apple watch, it is necessary to go to settings -> Bluetooth, then move the slider there.

 

For coverage discussion, this might be a great opportunity to get a Magic Box.  With the Magic Box turned off... while in my basement, my Apple Watch would lose LTE - but after the Magic Box, it gets 3-4 'dots' of service.  B)

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 8 months later...

https://www.apple.com/watch/cellular/.   - Apple watch Cellular specs.

Apple watch supports many LTE bands but not as many bands as the iPhone does and it has a very small cellular antenna in it.  The watch does not have any CDMA support and only supports voice over VoLTE on one of its supported bands or voice over a WiFi/Blue Tooth connection to its paired iPhone which sends the signal over its internet or cellular connection.  In the past it used a version of Calling Plus on the Sprint LTE bands.  The Apple Watch does not support cellular roaming so in roaming areas it will only have connectivity if its paired phone is in range in which case it will use the phone's cellular connection.

A key feature of the apple watch is that it only enables its cellular modem when it is out of blue tooth range of the iPhone it is paired with and if it cannot access the internet over any WiFi network that its paired iPhone has previously connected with.  This means that it uses its paired iPhone's cellular connection and whatever bands that phone can use whenever it can.

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I didn't know about the watch only enabling the cellular modem when the paired phone is out of range, that is good.

If on a plane, if I put my iPhone into Airplane mode, will that tell the watch to do that too, or do I need to do that on the watch too manually?

Can the watch connect to a WiFi network (if it is out of range of the phone), and answer/make calls on the watch using WiFi? 

If so, does it share the WiFi SSIDs/Password that have been configured on the iPhone, so the list is updated seamlessly?

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45 minutes ago, Bob Newhart said:

If on a plane, if I put my iPhone into Airplane mode, will that tell the watch to do that too, or do I need to do that on the watch too manually?

Can the watch connect to a WiFi network (if it is out of range of the phone), and answer/make calls on the watch using WiFi? 

If so, does it share the WiFi SSIDs/Password that have been configured on the iPhone, so the list is updated seamlessly?

There is a setting in the watch app where you can set the phone and watch to mirror each other for settings like airplane mode, Do not Disturb, mute, etc.  If you do anything that breaks the blue tooth connection, such as putting it in airplane mode, it will put them both in airplane mode but you will have to manually take both of them out of airplane mode since they cannot communicate with each other in airplane mode.  You can also turn off this mirroring of each setting if you want.

The watch can connect to any 2.4 GHz WiFi network where you have entered the WiFi password on its paired iPhone after you paired the watch to it.  It can also connect to any open WiFi network that does not require a password that you connect your iPhone to but only ones that  you have connected your iPhone to at least one time.  Entering a WiFi password on the iPhone with a watch paired, causes that WiFi connection and its password to also be saved on the watch.  It will only use WiFi connections if it can get to the internet over that connection without requiring anything else other than the password that is already saved and if it cannot connect to the iPhone over blue tooth.  If the iPhone connects to a 5 GHz, the watch will ignore it as it does not have a 5 GHz WiFi modem in it.

If the WiFi connection has a web page where you have to type something to become active, such as what is commonly done in hotels, it will not use that WiFi as it tests the connection to see if it can get to the internet over it.  If the watch has access to the internet over a WiFi connection and the phone is out of blue tooth range, it will use the WiFi for all communications that would normally go over the LTE connection including the ability to answer and make calls.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Anyone know how watches will (or will not) work with roaming agreements?  I know that my LTE watch was inoperable in Canada even though my iPhone was solidly on Rogers LTE.... but how about domestic roaming via approved partners like tmobile (whenever that goes live) ?

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3 hours ago, shaferz said:

Anyone know how watches will (or will not) work with roaming agreements?  I know that my LTE watch was inoperable in Canada even though my iPhone was solidly on Rogers LTE.... but how about domestic roaming via approved partners like tmobile (whenever that goes live) ?

My understanding is that Apple watches are not enabled for roaming service on the Sprint network.  That means they only work in cellular stand-alone mode if you are in an area where the provider is listed as Sprint.  The Apple Watch should work with native roaming as long as the provider is listed as Sprint on your iPhone but I have not tested this.  Do not expect any Apple watch cellular functionality when in an extended or international roaming area. 

Your Apple watch should work in extended or international roaming areas if its paired iPhone is within blue tooth range of the Apple watch and blue tooth is enabled on both your iPhone and on the watch.  The Apple watch works by using the iPhone cellular connection over the blue tooth link to the iPhone in this scenario.

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