Family Setup on Apple Watch SE and Apple Watch Series 4 or later is now available in Canada with iOS 14.3 and watchOS 7.2. This allows those in the household who don’t own iPhones, like elderly adults or young kids, to still be able to enjoy the communications, health, fitness, and safety features of the smartwatch.
Now, Apple Watch can be set up through another family member’s iPhone, so people like kids can connect with family and friends through phone calls and Messages, stay motivated to reach personalized Activity goals, express themselves through custom Memoji, and enjoy features like Maps, Siri, Alarms, and the App Store. Family Setup also makes it possible for kids and older family members to benefit from safety tools like Emergency SOS. Parents can also reach their child and identify their location while knowing that personal data is securely encrypted.
“We’re pleased to partner with Apple to be the first in Canada to offer Family Setup,” says Claire Gillies, President of Bell Mobility. “Family Setup is an ideal solution for family members without an iPhone to benefit from the communication, health, fitness and safety features of Apple Watch. We’re excited to offer Bell customers this new way to help them stay connected.”
Family members using Family Setup have their own Apple ID and phone number through a separate cellular plan, and parents have the ability to approve all contacts. Kids and older family members can make and receive phone and FaceTime audio calls, send and receive messages and e-mails, connect over Walkie-Talkie, and create a customized Memoji in the new Memoji app to share with friends.
Kids can also create and follow their own schedule in Calendar, learn to manage tasks with Reminders, play favourite songs on Apple Music through Bluetooth headphones and speakers, and navigate with Maps. Using the App Store on Apple Watch, they can download third-party apps directly on device, and parents can manage what is available for download through Content Restrictions and Ask to Buy support.
The location can be shared with their guardian through the Find People app on Apple Watch, and location notifications are customizable, allowing the guardian to receive an update for one occasion, or on a recurring or time-based schedule.
Emergency SOS allows family members using Family Setup to easily access emergency services, and guardians will be automatically notified if they are listed as an emergency contact. Kids can also reference their Medical ID which includes important information such as medical conditions, allergies, and medications.
The Activity rings experience in Family Setup has been optimized so kids can track Move minutes instead of calories burned, customize goals for the Exercise and Stand rings, and receive accurate credit from Outdoor Walk, Outdoor Run, and Outdoor Cycle workouts specifically tuned for kids. Kids can enjoy Activity Sharing, receive tailored coaching notifications, challenge friends with Competitions, and celebrate Awards they’ve earned right on their wrist. With permission, guardians can see a full view of their family member’s health and activity through the Health app on iPhone.
Schooltime is a new mode in Family Setup that helps ensure kids stay focused and attentive while learning. During Schooltime, a distinctive yellow circle is displayed on the watch face for teachers and parents to easily recognize, signifying that access to apps is restricted and Do Not Disturb is turned on. For convenience, parents can set the schedule on their iPhone so Apple Watch automatically goes into Schooltime during certain hours, or turn it on from Control Center on the child’s watch. To support responsible usage of the device, the Downtime feature of Screen Time extends to Apple Watch.
With watchOS 7.2, you can also take advantage of optimized features for older adults, including fall detection and irregular heart rhythm notifications. The X-Large face shows the time and a rich complication at a glance, as well as an onboarding and configuration process designed with connection and accessibility in mind. Activity goals can be customized to help users stay motivated, while the new Health Checklist in the Health app on iPhone offers the ability to track whether health features like fall detection have been enabled in one centralized view.
Family Setup will be available in Canada in the next software update with iOS 14.3 and watchOS 7.2, on cellular models of Apple Watch Series 4 or later or Apple Watch SE paired with iPhone 6s or later.
Not all features will be available if Apple Watch is set up through Family Setup. A wireless service plan is required for cellular service, currently available through Bell in Canada. Check apple.com/ca/watch/cellular for updates to participating wireless carriers and eligibility.
To set up an Apple Watch with Family Setup, a new assistant guides you through the configuration steps on iPhone. Family Setup requires Family Sharing and an Apple ID for the child or older family member of the household, and cellular service enables all of its features. Apple Watch will support 14 hours of use with Family Setup.