The smartwatch industry is booming right now, with a consistent rise in the number of units shipped and sold annually. Even in the midst of economic problems, the smartwatch market still experienced a rise in the year 2020.
Apple is the leader when it comes to the smartwatch industry, followed by Samsung, Huawei, and Fitbit.
Those who are new to smartwatches often find themselves confused when a sim card is used.
In this post, we take a closer look at how sim cards work for smartwatches. We also share a guide to help you understand how a smartwatch sim card is activated.
What Type Of Sim Card Does A Smartwatch Use?
Different types of sim cards exist. While the purpose and function of these cards remain the same, the size generally tends to differ.
In older times, sim cards had a relatively large size. This was the default design for all sim cards and would fit mobile devices at the time. Today, however, we see a significant shift in the design of sim cards.
Network providers have first adopted the micro sim card design and then moved to an even smaller structure – the nano sim card.
When it comes to fitting a smartwatch with a sim card, then the nano type is generally the one you want to opt for. It is important to take the compact structure of a smartwatch into consideration.
These devices are made to provide a fit on your wrist. All of the hardware needed to operate the watch need to be built into this small structure. Thus, manufacturers who equip their smartwatch with a sim slot will require you to use a nano sim card.
This card for your smartwatch is compact enough to provide sufficient space for important hardware, while still giving you the same functions as a regular or micro sim.
It should be noted that some smartwatches support newer technologies. This comes in the form of an eSim. This is a virtual service that provides you access to a cellular plan without having an actual sim card placed in the device.
Many people are switching to this option, especially when they want to use the same cellular plan on more than one device.
Why Do You Need A Sim Card For Your Smartwatch?
The first fact to take into account is that a sim card is not an essential part of a smartwatch. Also, consider the fact that not all smartwatches work with a sim card.
Thus, before determining if a sim card is needed, start by check if the device actually has a sim slot. If there is no sim slot, then there are two possibilities. The device either takes advantage of the more recent eSim technology or it does not use a sim card at all.
In cases where a sim card is supported, then the addition of this small piece of technology can add additional functions to the smartwatch.
The primary functions that a sim card would add to a smartwatch include:
- The ability to make and receive phone calls without taking out your smartphone.
- The ability to send messages and receive text messages from the smartwatch.
- A cellular plan can also be used as a way to gain access to the internet on the smartwatch.
These are the main functions that you get added when a smartwatch uses a sim card.
Do take note that all other functions will work even if there is no sim added to the smartwatch. If internet access is required, this can usually be obtained by connecting the smartwatch to a WiFi network in the area.
In some cases, the smartwatch can be configured to use the connected smartphone’s internet connection too.
How Does The eSim Link Work?
eSim is a relatively new technology that has limited support, but it is definitely a useful option if both your smartwatch and carrier support it.
The technology works by giving you access to a cellular network without the need to add a sim card to the device. An eSim is registered on the device and connected to a supported cellular plan.
You can then gain access to your provider’s network without adding a sim card to your smartwatch.
Some carriers also offer support for an eSim link. In this scenario, you will have a sim inserted into your smartphone.
On the smartwatch, however, you will be configuring an eSim. The eSim is then linked to the sim card in your smartphone.
There are numerous benefits to such a setup. You will not be required to start sharing a new phone number with your contacts, for example.
Instead, you continue using your existing number – but can now access messages and calls on two devices.
How To Insert Sim Card In Your Smartwatch
The first step would be to ensure that the smartwatch has a sim card slot. As we have noted previously, this is not a feature that can be found in every single smartwatch on the market.
Once confirmed, be sure to obtain the correct type of sim card. This will generally be a nano sim card – which is the smallest kind currently available.
The instructions for inserting the sim card into the smartwatch depend on the specific device you have. Each manufacturer will have its own method for incorporating a sim slot in a smartwatch.
Thus, it is crucial to ensure you take a closer look at the instruction manual. This document will give you an overview of how a sim card is used with the smartphone.
In most cases, you will be able to follow these steps:
- Start by locating the sim card slot on the watch. This can usually be found on the side of the watch.
- Different lids are used in the design of the sim card slot. The lid can be made from rubber, plastic, or metal material. In some cases, you will need a pin to remove the sim card slot.
- Follow the instructions to remove the slot. If it does not use a pin, try gently pushing onto it.
- Lay the sim card on top of the appropriate opening on the slot. In the majority of cases, you will lay the sim card with the plate showing upward.
- Now, carefully lift the sim card plate and push it back into the appropriate area of the smartwatch. Make sure the plate clicks into the smartwatch.
- Switch the smartwatch back on. After a few seconds, you should be able to see the network signal show up. Some smartwatches also display your carrier name in the upper left or right corner.
- If you do not see network bars show up on the smartwatch’s display, then there are two possibilities. It could be that the sim card is not yet activated. A sim card needs to be active before it will allow the smartwatch to connect to a cellular network. The other possibility is that you did not insert the card correctly. Try removing the sim plate again. Turn the sim card around and see if it is working now.
If you are using an Apple Watch or another smartwatch that uses an eSim, then there is no physical card that you need to insert into the device.
Instead, you will need to ensure you use an appropriate carrier and get them to configure an eSim for you.
How To Activate The Sim Card
To activate a sim card, there are usually a few steps that you will need to follow. The steps tend to depend on whether a physical sim card or an eSim is used.
Furthermore, the procedure may also differ based on the carrier you are using. For this reason, it is important to check with the carrier you use if there are any special steps that need to be followed.
When a physical sim card is used, then the following steps will usually be needed:
- The very first step is to contact the carrier and ask if there are any special instructions that you need to follow. In some cases, you may need to wait before you insert the sim card into the smartwatch. The carrier may need to activate the sim card and then instruct you to add it to the watch.
- Insert the sim card into the watch when the carrier advises you to. Once inserted, turn the smartwatch on.
- In the majority of cases, settings for your mobile network should be automatically configured on the smartwatch. If you find that the settings do not work, then you may need to configure it manually. You can contact your carrier for details on the settings that should be used. These settings will allow you to use both MMS and the internet.
- You should now be ready to start making calls, sending text messages, and accessing the internet on the smartwatch.
Do take note that with some carriers, activation takes a while. A consultant processing the activation request will usually be able to tell you how long it will take.
In many scenarios, activation is done in just a matter of hours, but there are some carriers that could take about 24 hours. In addition to considering the activation process for a physical sim card, we should also go through a few steps for an eSim. Not all carriers offer support for eSim technology. Thus, the very first thing you want to do is confirm support at the carrier that you wish to use.
This can usually be done by doing a quick search on Google or by giving your carrier a call. If your smartwatch uses an eSim and your carrier provides support for the technology, then you can proceed with the required steps. When you wish to activate an eSim, your carrier needs to be contacted directly. This can be done through a phone call or by visiting a local office.
Be sure to explain how you wish to eSim to be configured. Some people prefer to have a link between their smartphone’s sim card and the eSim that will be activated. Others may rather prefer to have a separate cellular plan for the eSim.
Once this has been activated, you should be able to see the cellular plan show up when you visit the appropriate section on the smartwatch. The specific instructions depend on the smartwatch you have.
The procedure for WearOS and WatchOS differs – so make sure you take the watch’s operating system into consideration. This ensures you can follow the appropriate instructions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use any sim card for my smartwatch?
It is important to note that there you cannot use just any sim card when you are setting up a smartwatch. In fact, if you have a relatively old sim card, then there is a big chance that it will not work with the smartwatch.
Smartwatches are extremely portable – which means they need to take advantage of smaller items. This includes the sim card. The sim slot on a smartwatch will generally provide just enough space for a nano sim.
It is also equally crucial to understand that there are many smartwatches that do not use a sim card at all. This is often the case with fitness watches, where the main function is to help you keep track of your physical activities.
How does a smartwatch work with a sim card?
A sim card is used to give smartwatch access to a cellular network. The sim card provides the same functions as the one you use on your smartphone.
The specific functions you get when using a sim card depend on the capabilities of the watch. Some watches offer a larger selection of functions, while others may be restricted.
Once the watch connects to a cellular network, you will usually be able to make a call or receive calls. If your sim is not linked to the one in your smartphone, then you will need to share a different contact number with people.
If someone calls this number, then the call will come through on your smartwatch.
The cellular network will also allow you to send and receive regular text messages. This can be a convenient way to text someone when you do not have your smartphone on hand.
Sometimes, a sim card is also used to give your smartwatch internet access. In this scenario, you will be required to have an active data plan on the sim card.
If there is data left on your plan, then the smartwatch will connect to the cellular network – giving you access to online features. Several functions of a smartwatch may work with the internet.
Examples include the ability to sync fitness data to a cloud service, or perhaps to download new apps and update existing ones that were previously installed on the smartwatch.
Can I use my smartwatch without a sim card?
The great thing about smartwatches is that recent technologies make these devices rich in features. With this in mind, there are several functions that can be used even if you do not have a sim card placed in the device.
A sim card allows you to make calls and send text messages on your smartwatch. Other than these two functions, everything else tends to work with or without a sim card added.
In fact, some people continue to use their smartwatch without adding a sim card, as they might not want to use it as a means to make calls or send messages.
You can continue using the smartwatch for functions like tracking your steps, estimating calories burnt, checking the time, and setting an alarm without the need for a sim card.
Confusion is often faced when looking at a question like how to activate sim card for the smartwatch. The process depends on the specific smartwatch and whether an eSim link is needed.
Be sure to educate yourself on the options that are available, as this will help you make the right choice and avoid delays. We shared a complete guide and also looked at the type of sim cards used in a smartwatch.
Pilar is an on-the-road Editor from Brazil living in Bali. On Geeqer she covers phones, tablets, wearables and devices. She is one of those minimalists that likes to buy the best to buy only once.