How to set up a Samsung Gear smartwatch on iPhone
Before you begin, make sure that your iPhone’s Bluetooth is turned on. What follows it a step by step set up guide – at the foot of this article are our impressions of the actual experience of using the devices together. Click here to jump down to that.
If your watch is brand new, you need only turn it on. If you have been using it with another device, you’ll have to perform a Light Reset or a Factory Reset on the watch in order to pair it with an iPhone. To do this, tap Settings > Gear Info > Reset Gear, and then choose which reset to perform. Light Reset will allow you to pair but keeps some personal data already on the device, a Factory Reset will completely reset it as thought it were brand new.
The watch screen will prompt you to install the Gear app onto your iPhone:
Go to the App Store on your phone and type ‘Samsung Gear S’ into the search bar.
Download the app to your phone and open it when complete.
The app will prompt you to allow quite a few permissions in order for the software to communicate with your Gear smartwatch. There are quite a few, such as the below, but make sure you tap ‘OK’ or ‘Allow’ to all of them.
Then tap ‘Connect to Gear’. Your iPhone will scan for your device and find it. Then tap on the name of your device. This will pair the watch to your phone:
Both your watch and your iPhone will then ask you to confirm they are pairing with each other. Tap the tick icon on your watch and tap ‘Pair’ on your iPhone:
You must then allow private data usage for Location, Calendar and Photos. We strongly advice saying yes to all, as removing any of these permissions will severely limit the functionality of your Gear. Tap ‘Enable’ and then tap ‘Allow’.
The app will then ask you to tap ‘OK’ to each permission:
After this, accept all the terms and conditions by ticking each box and tapping ‘Done’.
A pop up will then state that in order to keep all the functions working between your Gear and iPhone, you have to keep the Gear app open on your iPhone at all times:
Your Gear and iPhone will now be paired:
Remember to keep the app open and the Bluetooth of both devices on, and you can now enjoy notifications, weather, calendar appointments on more just like you would on a Samsung phone.
You can read our sister title PC Advisor’s reviews of the Gear S2 here and the Gear S3 here.
However be aware, much like with non-Samsung Android handsets, the Messages and Email apps are not compatible with iPhone. You will receive notifications from your messages and email apps, but you cannot compose either direct from the watch, nor even auto reply with templates or emojis like on Android.
We also found our couple (Gear S2 and iPhone 7) to be quite buggy and a slightly disappointing marriage of tech. We are inclined to blame this on Apple’s walled garden; because it doesn’t allow the purchase of apps onto its hardware outside of the App Store, you can only get access to free apps and watch faces here.
Having said that, we couldn’t get any to download – which is really bad! Therefore at the stage unfortunately we’d have to recommend not buying a Gear watch for an iPhone – there are too many compromises and the software still feels like it’s in beta.