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Family setup: Apple turns the Apple Watch into a children’s watch

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Family setup: Apple turns the Apple Watch into a children's watch Apple Watch as a children's watch.  © Apple

Family setup: Apple Watch as a children’s watch.

A.During Apple Keynote on Apple Watch 6 and Apple Watch SE, the new Family setupThe function has spoken. But they had it all – at least for the parents. Because with watchOS 7, the Apple Watch is transformed into a smartwatch for children. What features does the family setup offer? And what conditions must be met?

Apple Watch for kids: for the first time without an iPhone

Just as important as the new family features is the fact that for the first time, the Apple Watch can also be purchased by family members who do not have iPhones. Of course, this only works under two conditions:

  • The Apple Watch must be a “cellular” model, that is to say with an integrated cellular functionality (LTE)
  • A mobile phone contract with eSIM activation is required for this watch. The Apple Watch does not have a slot for plastic SIM cards.
  • Parents need an iPhone with iOS 14 (i.e. at least iPhone 6S), which is used to set up the family setup.

How does family setup help parents?

Parents can restrict what their children can use and also have access to health and safety features. In this way, parents can determine which contacts children can call. A family member’s location can be shared with parents or guardians. The locate request can also be automated in such a way that parents receive a notification when the child has arrived at a certain location – or the location can be sent at a certain time.

Home setup: Apple turns the Apple Watch into a children's watch in School Time Mode.  © Apple

School time mode ensures peace and quiet.

What are the emergency call functions?

Children, the elderly, or other family members can easily trigger an emergency call using the side button on Apple Watch. Emergency services are then alerted and parents are automatically notified if they are registered as emergency contacts. Important medical information about allergies or medications, for example, is stored in the emergency pass. With approval, guardians or caregivers can even gain access to health functions and activities of family members. And: Since the Apple Watch has a cellular module, parents can call children anytime, send them a message, or start a Facetime audio call.

What can children do – and what not?

Not all functions and apps can be used on Apple Watch, and usage times, app access, and contact options for legal guardians or caregivers may be limited. They can view their appointments and family calendar, manage reminders and tasks, view photo albums (which have been synced from their parents’ iPhone). You can use the “Apple Cash Family” feature to pay with the watch in the store via Apple Pay, as long as your parents have sent you the money beforehand. Kids can listen to Apple Music through Bluetooth headphones without iPhone or use Siri. Navigation via the map app is also enabled. The usual fitness and activity functions are also available, and there are even specific coaching functions and fitness goals. Children can challenge their friends in fitness duels. In addition, third-party vendors are developing special applications for children or learning.

What are AppleWatch school days?

Apple introduced a special mode called “school time” in the family setup. This is to prevent children from being distracted by Apple Watch during their studies. During school hours, a striking yellow dial is displayed, from which teachers and parents can easily see that application access is largely blocked and all sounds are muted (“do not disturb”). School timetables can be activated automatically at certain times or by the child himself via the control center. The screen time already known for the iPhone will be extended to the Apple Watch (timeout).

Family setup: Apple turns Apple Watch into a children's watch © Apple

Kids can make their own memoji on Apple Wartch.

What price do children need for the watch?

Technically, it should be possible to use any tariff where you can use an eSIM as your primary SIM card. Apple itself says, “The family setup is dependent on regional carrier support and will be available at launch from 18 carriers in 12 countries and regions around the world.” It remains to be seen whether the function is really linked to certain tariffs.

When will the family setup be available?

Family setup will be available as a free software update starting Wednesday, September 16. For family members it requires a cellular model of the Apple Watch (Series 4) with Watch OS 7, and for legal guardians an iPhone with iOS 14.


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I am Robert C. James. A student of MSc in Computing (Applied) from Technological University Dublin (Dublin). I am a Computer Research Technologist, a Journalist and a Writer. I am mainly a Blogger Vlogger and a Creative Writer of all fields.

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