Apple Watch “bang for the buck”?

I was recently reviewing my wireless phone bill when the line item for my Apple Watch caught my eye. I already knew I was payIng an additional $10/mo for the cellular connectivity for my watch, but somehow seeing it on the bill with an additional $3.11/mo in fees and taxes made me pause and ask myself if I am getting enough benefit from the watch to justify the cost.

I am still using my stainless steel Series 5 from last year. I didn’t see the Series 6 as much of an upgrade so I passed on that. But given the cost of the Series 5 along with the additional $157/year for my cellular connection, this is by FAR the most expensive watch I have ever owned. Of course, it is far more than just a watch.

I do find it somewhat difficult to use in my particular case. I have no right eye vision at all and only about 50% in my left eye…and that portion suffers with reduced contrast. This make seeing most items on the watch impossible without magnification. However on such a small display, magnified images require so much scrolling that I just get tired and give up.

I do like the activity and health tracking features however I’m not sure this data is exactly worth the amount it is costing me.

It’s handy having access to some apps on the watch, but most of the watch apps are significantly less useful than their iOS counterparts. Frankly, most of the watch apps seem not much more useful than what I can get from an app widget in iOS 14. So again I am confronted with the question: “Am I getting value for the associated cost?”

I have used the cellular calling feature on my watch a few times over the past year. The fall detection feature is a nice added feature, But I am almost never without my phone so playing music, podcasts, etc is easier for me from my phone than introducing another piece of hardware.

I do like to walk and take pictures when I can, however I don’t have a routine workout schedule, program or course to track.

So, in general, the watch seems kinda cool…but it is almost feeling more like an Apple “status symbol” that I am wearing because “that’s just what we Apple fans do” rather than it being a tool I can actually benefit from.

If I am missing something from an accessibility or usability standpoint, I would really appreciate your thoughts or tips.

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Have you thought about cancelling the phone line contract for the watch but keeping the watch?
As far as I’m aware, the watch always uses the iPhone’s cell connection when the phone is nearby. I believe it only resorts to using its own “phone line” when the iPhone is not within connection range. As such you might not notice much difference in function but not be paying a monthly fee for it.
From there you can evaluate whether to get rid of the watch completely or, if you miss it, to resume/buy another phone line contract for the watch.


My last three Apple Watches have had cellular (the stainless model isn’t available any other way). I’ve never activated any of them with my carrier.

As for whether the watch itself is worth the cost, for me it most definitely is. I’m far healthier than I was when I got my first Apple Watch 5 years ago, and the watch played a big role in that (I weigh a lot less and am far more fit). I also rely on the watch for dealing with notifications without having to pick up my phone. It’s also my go-to device for setting timers. I use the weather and calendar complications all the time.

Other than that, I don’t really use any apps. It’s a device with a narrow range of applications for me, but for those applications it’s absolutely vital.


I think the Apple Watch is a nice to have thing but certainly not a must have.
I get good value out of mine, an SE, but I’ve never had a cellular connection to pay for and I can’t imagine that ever being worth the cost for me.

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Once you have a cell plan for the watch set up with your carrier, you should be able to enable and disable it at will from the Watch app. It’s probably not prorated so you’d do this a month at a time. That way you only are paying for it when you’re actually using it independently of your phone. For you, it sounds like you should just cancel the plan all the time. For me, that means about a quarter of a year, historically.


Do any of you know whether the fall detection feature will still work if I disconnect my cellular service and just connect my watch via my phone?

Yes, though you’ll need to have your phone nearby in order for it to call emergency services for you.

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Some carriers charge a “one-time” fee for the watch cellular plan setup.

Oh, wow, I see. I didn’t realize.

Step 1: leave Verizon and AT&T.

Step 2: enjoy your new flexible cellular watch lifestyle.

I guess you could still come out ahead, even with the re-activation fee, if you only use it a few consecutive months out of the year or something.

This is pretty much my approach as well. And, go figure, it tells time. :slight_smile: It is much easier to glance at my watch then pull my phone out of my pocket. I also like being able to glance at my watch to see my fitness rings, weather and next appointment. I have also never activated the cellular service.

Everyone is different of course but the truth is people pay a lot less attention to us and what we are wearing than we think. :slight_smile: I know this to be a fact because there are a lot of conceal carriers and almost no one notices unless they are trained to look and know what to look for. Besides, if I was concerned about status, I’d get a Rolex. :slight_smile: