Apple has unlinked the Apple Watch from the iPhone, focusing on children and older users who may want the health, fitness and connectivity benefits of a smartwatch, but don’t have the smartphone to go with it. Offered in cellular versions of the Apple Watch, Family Setup allows the wearable to be configured by a parent or guardian.
This will be done on the iPhone, where the person responsible for setting up the Apple Watch will have several configuration options. You can decide who people can contact in messages and voice calls by whitelisting certain contacts – such as parents, a home phone, grandparents or others – but not allowing others.
There will also be automatic location notifications, which will allow parents and guardians to receive alerts when the Apple Watch reaches a specific location. That way, you can set up the virtual fence for when a child arrives from the playground or if an elderly parent leaves the house.
Without an iPhone to set things up like Memoji, there’s a new Apple Watch app on watchOS 7 that will allow you to create custom emojis on your device. This will allow children to create – and personalize – their own emojis, which they can send from their watch.
As for when they shouldn’t be playing with the Apple Watch, there will be a new way to focus, like when they’re studying. This will automatically activate Do Not Disturb mode, as well as limit the alerts and other notifications that appear. There will also be a very distinct clock face when the focus mode is activated, so that parents or teachers can quickly see that the mode has been activated.
It will be available on a variety of operators around the world, with the Apple Watch for mobile phones taking advantage of eSIM to make everything work. In the US, this will include AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon. You will also need an Apple Watch Series 4 or later. Individual Apple Watch users will also have their own number for calls through the Family Setup system.