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Apple Watch Series 3

Apple Watch Series 3 LTE Issues are Actually an Existing Wi-Fi Bug

That iThingy You're Wearing
September 20, 2017

A number of Apple Watch Series 3 reviews mentioned issues with using the built-in cellular connectivity when near a Wi-Fi network. But Serenity Caldwell at iMore has offered a detailed of exactly what the issue is.

Instead of an issue with the watch’s cellular feature, the problem is a Wi-Fi bug on watchOS 4:

Essentially, the Series 3 GPS + Cellular watch tries to save battery life at all times by using your iPhone’s connection, or failing that, a Wi-Fi network. What’s happening here is that the watch is attempting to jump on a so-called “captive” network — a public network with an interstitial login prompt or terms and conditions agreement. (You’ve probably seen these at a Starbucks, McDonalds, or Panera.)

In theory, the Apple Watch shouldn’t be allowed to connect to captive networks at all, because there’s no way for it to get through that interstitial layer. Unfortunately, watchOS 4 has a bug where captive networks are being recognized identically to normal saved Wi-Fi networks — so while you’re technically “connected” to a network, you won’t be able to connect to the internet; nor will you be able to go to cellular, because the Watch’s auto-switching prevents you from connecting.

Apple issued a statement saying that it was “investigating a fix for a future software release.”

The first watch shipment will arrive to buyers starting this Friday, Sept. 22. A cellular-enabled version of the watch starts at $399. Any orders placed from Apple today will ship in 3-4 weeks.

More about the Apple Watch Series 3