Phones & Accessories Wearables

Update: Apple Watch Bluetooth Connectivity Is Weak

Apple Watch with Black Sport Band
Written by Steve Walker

As I described previously, there have been indications that the Apple Watch Bluetooth connectivity is relatively weak. I tested this by splitting two outdoor hikes in half. During the first half of each, I listened to an audiobook on my wireless headphones through my iPhone. At the halfway point, I switched over to playing music to the same wireless headphones directly from my Apple Watch. I never experienced any static pops or cutouts during either segment of the two hikes, regardless of which device was transmitting to my headphones. From this, you might conclude that the Apple Watch Bluetooth connectivity issues reported elsewhere are overblown.

However, my brother-in-law has continued to experience static when using his Apple Watch to play music to his wireless headphones while running. It was bad enough that at one point he tried switching his Apple Watch to his right wrist as recommended by some Apple Watch owners. To his surprise (and mine), it actually worked! After making the change, he experienced no further Bluetooth issues. The best explanation for this improvement is that the Bluetooth receiver on the headphones that we both use is in the right earbud and therefore by moving the Apple Watch to his right wrist, he significantly reduced the interference caused by his own body. There is some merit to this theory since Bluetooth operates in the 2.4 Ghz frequency band, which is readily absorbed by water molecules. I am not saying that my brother-in-law has a big head or anything, but having the Bluetooth receiver tucked behind his right ear with the Bluetooth transmitter on his left wrist would maximize the amount of water through which the signal would have to travel. (Interesting side note Рmicrowaves operate at 2.4 Ghz as well because that frequency of radiation heats water molecules as it is absorbed by them but passes through the other food molecules, thereby heating your food without cooking it in a traditional sense.)

While the “right wrist” theory does hold water (pun intended), it would indicated that the Bluetooth signal coming from the Apple Watch is relatively weak. At such a short distance, even having to travel through that much water should not really have such a dramatic impact. It would indicate that the connection is tenuous at best and already “on the edge” so to speak. So as of now, I believe that Apple underpowered transitter and that the Apple Watch Bluetooth connectivity is rather weak.

There is more testing to come, though. My brother-in-law exchanged his Apple Watch recently to see if it is possible he just got a dud. In addition, I will try to test my Apple Watch Bluetooth connectivity again next time I am in a high interference zone such as New York City. I will report these results as soon as I have them. What has your experience been with your Apple Watch Bluetooth connectivity?

About the author

Steve Walker

Enthusiast of gizmos, gadgets and all things tech. Aficionado of wine and food. Avid hiker and tennis player. Aspirational golfer. Devoted husband and proud father of two great boys.

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3 Comments

  • I bought the Apple Watch because of the its touted ability to store music and provide the content without use of the iPhone. I am very disappointed by the Apple Watch bluetooth connectivity issues I have when I have tried to listen to the stored playlists. The drops are constant. I would love to find out that there is a simple solution. The switching to the right wrist did not work for me.

    • Sorry to hear that the right wrist solution didn’t work for you. What headphones do you use? Also, do you tend to use the Apple Watch bluetooth connectivity when you are in congested areas (with lots of WiFi access points and other Bluetooth devices)? I am still trying to figure out why this seems to happen sometimes but not consistently.