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I am going to USA for 15 days next month. I am thinking to buy an Apple watch series 3 or 4 only GPS, no requirement for cellular for me. Will it work when I come back to India? I am living in India permanently.

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    Why exactly are you asking this? Apple Watch is already sold in India locally and it works just fine. There isn't any "American Apple Watch" and "Indian Apple Watch". They're all the same. Apple controls it's features through software only based on region. – Jash Jacob Mar 27 at 9:17
  • @JashJacob What about Cellular version? – NSPratik Mar 27 at 10:21
  • Cellular Version also works in India. eSim is available on Jio and Airtel. You can look it up on Apple India website. Series 3 and 4 have cellular capability in India. – Jash Jacob Mar 27 at 13:10
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The Watch will function perfectly fine in India, however some functionalities will not work or be limited. This is for example the ECG feature, turn-by-turn navigation, the News app, etc.

There's no reason to buy the Watch in the US in hope of getting access to US-only functionality, as that functionality most probably will not be available in India and will cease to function when you get back, or at a later time when the software is updated.

You enquire about the GPS - it will work fine all over the world. Also in India. Other answers here focus on other positioning systems such as the Indian IRNSS (NAVIC). It is not supported on the Apple Watch, no matter if you buy the watch in India or in the US. It is also not supported on iPhones or any other Apple device. The Apple Watch supports GPS (US operated), GLONASS (Russian operated), Galileo (EU operated) and QZSS (Japan operated).

As you're looking at the model without cellular, you do not have to worry about cell coverage. The other answers that talk about LTE bands, etc. are irrelevant when the watch does not have cellular. The Watch will use your iPhone for calls, SMS, etc. and automatically supports whatever iPhone you have with the LTE bands, etc. it is using for communication.

The last thing to note is that the Watch in the US comes with a US charger. I.e. they are 110V/60Hz and a different type of plug, compared to the 230V/50Hz system and plugs used in India. You will need an adapter to be able to use the charger, or you could substitute any ordinary USB charger. The magnetic charging puck for the Apple Watch comes as a seperate cable that is plugged into the charger, so you will be able to use a different charger very easily.

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Obviously it would be best to ask Apple, but based on what I know, I'm pretty certain the watch will function correctly while you're in India, but GPS services will not. India's NAVIC is independent from the European Galileo and American GPS satellite systems.

I'm pretty certain that most of your apps will work between the Apple Watch and the phone, though you may have issues if you're doing international roaming. You should even be able to make and answer phone calls from your watch.

LTE, I'm pretty certain will NOT work since the carriers in India use different bands.

Ultimately you should ask Apple, but given that a US-purchased Apple Watch functions fine when visiting India, I think you're safe.

Good luck! If you find out otherwise, please let us know.

  • LTE means Apple watch Cellular? – NSPratik Mar 27 at 8:17
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GPS works all over the world. That is why it's called the Global Positioning System.

I don't know whether or not the Apple Watches can utilise the Indian NAVIC, but I guess it's unlikely. Despite that, GPS should still work, as these are independent systems.

  • NAVIC interferes with American GPS in India. It was originally designed to be backward compatible, but then India tweaked its version, using the same satellites and algorithms as Galileo I believe. The Apple Watch doesn't support the secondary frequencies that are necessary to use NAVIC and doesn't have adequate reception to pick up enough GPS satellites. In India, iPhones and Apple Watches determine location based on information from the cell towers and less accurate triangulation. – Wilfred Smith Mar 27 at 8:25
  • Almost everybody used to use the American GPS system, but India and Europe became concerned about continued availability in times of war...as if the US would ever go to war against India...Europe maybe, but never India. – Wilfred Smith Mar 27 at 8:26
  • I don't think that NAVIC does actually use the same satellites as Galileo. – High Performance Mark Mar 27 at 9:43
  • @BillSmith Hmm, I have been googling a bit, and can't quite find much on interference from NAVIC on GPS. That doesn't mean you're wrong, of course – after all they both use the L5 band. On the other hand, the signals are encoded to minimise interference problems: After all, every GPS satellite uses the same frequency bands, so they will interfere among themselves to some degree. NAVIC transmitters use more power, but they are in a higher (24h) orbit than the 12 hour orbits of the GPS satellites. So it's not clear to me wherein the problem lies. Do you have any references? – Harald Hanche-Olsen Mar 27 at 15:41
  • Clarifying. NAVIC uses physically similar satellites as Galileo, not the same satellites. As in they came from the same factory, not they share a satellite. – Wilfred Smith Mar 27 at 15:49

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