Since a few days I have an Apple Watch and I really like it. I just wanted to know if I could use my watch in airplane mode all day, and at the end of the day I connect it to my iPhone to let all my health data sync. Is this possible?

How long does my watch collect data when it isn't connected to my iPhone? Today I woke up very early in the morning and I put on my watch (in airplane mode). A few hours later, I disabled airplane mode and all my health data from the last few hours (e.g. heart rate) was synced immediately to my iPhone. Does that even work when my watch is in airplane mode the whole day?

  • 5
    It should work, but why put your Apple Watch in Airplane Mode all day? Feb 1, 2016 at 13:23
  • 1
    To avoid EMF exposure of having a Bluetooth and WiFi device strapped to your body...
    – Dave
    Sep 17, 2020 at 2:08

1 Answer 1


I imagine the WATCH will keep as much data as its onboard storage will allow, which is several gigabytes. So, caching Health data really shouldn’t be an issue for most intents and purposes.

Since the title of the question is about the disadvantages of Airplane mode, know that placing your WATCH in airplane mode will preclude you from connecting to the Internet. Therefore, any feature that requires an active Internet connection will not work. Siri comes to mind.

Finally, since the Bluetooth antenna is also disabled, you will be unable to connect a set of Bluetooth headphones, or an external heart rate monitor. Any app that requires an iPhone connection will not work either, meaning all watchOS 1 apps, as well as many, if not most, watchOS 2 apps. GPS via your iPhone will also cease to function.

Enabling Airplane mode thus disables most of the features of your WATCH. On the other hand, there aren’t too many advantages to enabling it. You might see some gains in battery life, though most of that will come from not being able to use your WATCH for a whole lot of things. But if you weren’t using your WATCH a lot to begin with (outside of activity tracking), then battery life is more than adequate to last you an entire day.

Even if you are on a marathon hiking trip, you will defeat much of the purpose of tracking that workout anyway, since the lack of GPS will result in less accurate distance measurements. In that situation, it would be preferable to turn on Power Saving Mode under Apple Watch → Workout.

  • Thanks for your answer! I jast wanted to know e.g. if I wear it all night long to track my sleep, especially my heart rate during sleep, if it is collecting the data the whole night long - and when I wake up, I just let it sync with my iPhone. I don't want my watch to communicate all the time with my iPhone while I'm sleeping.
    – beeef
    Feb 2, 2016 at 0:26
  • 1
    Yes, it will record your heart rate out of the box, and whatever else your apps might record. Although I'm with @RedEagle2000 in wondering why you are so distrustful of WATCH communicating with your iPhone. You are far more likely to cause something to break because an app expects an iPhone connection to exist.
    – user11633
    Feb 2, 2016 at 0:44
  • Sadly the only way to disable Bluetooth on my Series 8 GPS Watch is to go into settings and turn it off (and on) from there. Airplane mode doesn't affect Bluetooth in the slightest. Because Airplane Mode seemingly doesn't do anything that the wifi button does, I leave it on airplane mode and just turn on or off wifi with the wifi button. Looks like a design mistake to me. Probably only useful if you have a SIM watch where airplane mode would be a shortcut for wifi plus SIM data.
    – Chris
    Sep 5, 2023 at 15:19

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