Rumored Apple Watch upgrade could be a game-changer

Apple Watch Ultra
(Image credit: Future)

If you know how to use the Apple Watch, you know you need an iPhone for the user experience. It's not surprising that the Apple Watch is incompatible with Android devices, but since the smartwatch's arrival in 2015, the Apple Watch hasn’t synced directly with Macs or iPads, either. According to a new rumor, this could be changing soon.

The rumor comes from @analyst941 on Twitter. This isn’t a leaker we’ve seen before, but the account does claim a number of correct leaks in the past including the iPhone 14 Pro's Dynamic Island and Always-on display. 

“Apple Watch can sync across more than one Apple device too, finally,” the account tweeted. “I don’t know how this will be implemented."

“All I know, again, **ALL** I know, is that Apple Watch will sync across multiple iOS/iPadOS/Mac devices, and will no longer be tied to one single iPhone.”

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A more interconnected ecosystem

This might seem like a slightly unnecessary upgrade. After all, the best Apple Watch devices are designed to act as an extension of the iPhone, mirroring notifications and running apps without you needing to dig out your handset. 

There are significantly more iPhones than Macs, or even iPads, in the world, and so it hardly feels like it should be Apple’s priority. But it begins to make sense when you consider this not as a way of replacing the iPhone, but supplementing the user experience. 

As Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman recently said on the MacRumors show, one of Apple’s current goals is to get, “every app [and] every feature to work across all of Apple’s devices and integrate across all of Apple’s devices.” 

This “continuity push," as he describes it, would certainly fit with the Apple Watch becoming more device agnostic. 

“The dream scenario is that you own an Apple Watch, an iPhone, a MacBook, an iPad, an Apple headset, and all five of those devices are capable of doing all the same things just in different use cases and at different times of the day,” Gurman said.

So what could this mean for the Apple Watch? This is just speculation, but imagine a scenario in which you jump from your iPhone to your iPad and start listening to Apple Music there. What if your Apple Watch noticed, and was able to control the tunes and suddenly prioritize notifications from the iPad?

macOS Ventura brought a couple of iPhone apps to the Mac. Perhaps macOS 14 –— whatever it will be called — could add the Watch app, letting you change faces and sync music from your desktop or laptop. You could even get desktop notifications on your wrist, as well as mobile ones.

Finally, you might also be able to set up a new Apple Watch without an iPhone. It’s hard to believe too many people would want an Apple Watch without an iPhone, but for those with just Macs or iPads, it would be an option.

As for when this rumored change will happen, the leaker had little intel to offer. “Hope this actually comes this year, and not next,” Analyst941 tweeted in a follow-up. “I just heard about it.” In other words, it's important to take this information with a grain of salt.

That said, with new versions of watchOS and macOS likely to debut at WWDC 2023, perhaps this is something we’ll hear more about very soon. The developer conference kicks off in June, so watch this space for updates.

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Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.