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Apple Watch 3’s LTE feature won’t work when traveling abroad

Published Sep 17th, 2017 7:03PM EDT
Apple Watch 3 Cellular

The Apple Watch Series 3 is the first wearable from Apple to feature cellular connectivity. As detailed during Apple’s iPhone X event last week, LTE-equipped Apple Watch models will carry the same number as you primary line and will allow users to make and receive phone calls, access app alerts, send text messages, and use Siri. Even more compelling, especially for runners, is that the Apple Watch Series 3 will also let users stream music from a selection of 40 million songs without having to carry around an iPhone.

There’s no question that the LTE version of the Apple Watch takes Apple’s wearable to the next level, but there is a small but important caveat worth mentioning. According to an Apple representative who spoke to a MacRumors reader, Apple Watch LTE models “purchased in the U.S. online store will only work with the four carriers in the United States.” In other words, if you’re planning on enjoying LTE connectivity on your Apple Watch when traveling abroad, you’re plum out of luck.

Apple’s statement reads:

If you purchased one (an Apple Watch S3 GPS + Cellular) through the US Apple Online Store, it’ll only work for the 4 US carriers. It wouldn’t work internationally unfortunately. I’m not entirely sure what type of error it would show if you took a US Watch to Germany, but it wouldn’t be compatible with Telekom.

Additionally, the product page for the Apple Watch 3 indicates that roaming is “not available outside your provider network coverage area.”

While this is far from a deal breaker for most prospective buyers, it’s worth being aware of if you plan on using your Apple Watch while traveling.

Yoni Heisler Contributor

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 15 years. A life long Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW. When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.