Parents can now manage children's Apple Watches with Family Setup

Posted:
in General Discussion edited September 2020
Announced at Apple's September 15 event, cellular Apple Watch Series 4 and later can now be worn by children and managed by their parents.

The new Family Setup on Apple Watch
The new Family Setup on Apple Watch


The new Family Setup feature from Apple means that children can wear an Apple Watch giving what Apple calls "greater independence," while "you have the comfort of knowing they're just a call away." Children no longer need an iPhone in order to use an Apple Watch, as features including location tracking use the cellular connection of LTE models.

Apple says that children using an LTE Apple Watch and Family Setup will have their own phone number, and their own Apple ID. This will let them use the calendar, including sharing events with the family, plus talk over Walkie-Talkie.

"So whether it's grandma's house school or basketball practice, you will get the reassurance your child is exactly where you expect them to be," said Deidre Caldbeck, Director, Apple Watch. "To help them stay active kids can now track movements, and use all the other great features of activity and workout in a way that works best for them."

For parents, Family Setup means that they can have location notifications so that they know when their children arrive where they're supposed to be going. Parents will also be able to securely send money to their children's Apple Watches, so that they can then be spent via Apple Pay.

Families can also share Apple Music with Family Setup and Family Sharing. For the children, the Watch offers most of the functions of a regular Apple Watch including health tracking and fitness workouts.

There's also a special Do Not Disturb option called School Time mode, which restricts the use of the Watch in order to help kids concentrate on their work. As part of that, parents can set limits on who their child can use the Watch to communicate with at any time.

"You get the safety communication features that technology can deliver in a device that can be managed responsibly," continued Caldbeck. "For example, you can specify which contacts your kids can communicate with when using messages and more."

Beyond those limits, children will have full access to being able to customize the appearance of their Watch. "Kids can create an emoji with just their watch and charity stickers and messages or in the new emoji watch face," said Caldbeck.

The children don't have to have an iPhone, but the Family Setup option requires a cellular Apple Watch running watchOS 7.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 10
    razorpitrazorpit Posts: 1,796member
    Nice idea, shame you can't use an Apple Watch 3 for that service. Wonder what in the world Apple Watch 4 has that supports it but the 3 doesn't?
    aderuttermbenz1962watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 10
    At launch only available in:
     
    1. China mainland,
    2. France,
    3. Germany,
    4. Hong Kong,
    5. Japan, 
    6. Poland,
    7. Spain,
    8. Switzerland,
    9. Taiwan,
    10. Thailand,
    11. United Kingdom,
    12. United States.

    Usually we Canadians aren't excluded from international launch events. Other countries will be added "later this year".

    Sorry for the lack of bullets above, the AI website doesn't seem to be allowing me to enter bullets or numbered paragraphs. CORRECTION: it doesn't let me view the bullets in PREVIEW mode but it does insert them when I post the message.
    edited September 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 10
    razorpit said:
    Nice idea, shame you can't use an Apple Watch 3 for that service. Wonder what in the world Apple Watch 4 has that supports it but the 3 doesn't?
    Family setup requires cellular. Not sure what else. The current Series 3 doesn't come with cellular; just GPS.
    edited September 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 10
    jdb8167 said:
    razorpit said:
    Nice idea, shame you can't use an Apple Watch 3 for that service. Wonder what in the world Apple Watch 4 has that supports it but the 3 doesn't?
    Family setup requires cellular. Not sure what else. The current Series 3 doesn't come with cellular; just GPS.
    So you are saying my AW3 that I have is a one of a kind?  It has the big red dot and everything.  

    Because it isn't.  AW3 had cellular service.  
    edited September 2020 mbenz1962watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 10
    I've thought of a way to exploit Family Sharing. Let's say you have 4 friends (they don't even have to be in the same city) who want a cellular Apple Watch but don't want an iPhone because a cellular Watch is all they need. Just sign up as a "family". The first person has to sign up with the phone company for a $50/month service charge, and each cellular Watch added to that plan should be roughly $10/month extra. Currently I think I'm paying about $50/month for my phone and $10/month for the extra feature that supports my Watch's cellular ability. I presume Family Sharing would roughly cost the same rates. Altogether you and your four friends would end up paying only $20/month on average. That's a deal !!

    Now I'll be honest, using just a cellular Watch is nowhere near as fun and useful as carrying a phone with you, so this won't be for everyone. The phone's big screen can do things like web browsing that you just can't do on a Watch (so your friends shouldn't have to contribute to your $50/month minimum if you're the one with the iPhone.) But how would Apple or the Phone Company stop this kind of exploit?
  • Reply 6 of 10
    razorpitrazorpit Posts: 1,796member
    jdb8167 said:
    razorpit said:
    Nice idea, shame you can't use an Apple Watch 3 for that service. Wonder what in the world Apple Watch 4 has that supports it but the 3 doesn't?
    Family setup requires cellular. Not sure what else. The current Series 3 doesn't come with cellular; just GPS.
    I have cellular on my 3 Use it quite a bit actually.

    It was going to get handed down to my son and I was going to get a 6. Looks like I'll be using the 3 for another year.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 10
    razorpit said:
    It was going to get handed down to my son and I was going to get a 6. Looks like I'll be using the 3 for another year.
    Is that because the Watch Series 6 doesn't have what you want or because your son has been bad?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 10
    razorpit said:
    It was going to get handed down to my son and I was going to get a 6. Looks like I'll be using the 3 for another year.
    Is that because the Watch Series 6 doesn't have what you want or because your son has been bad?
    I was hoping to give my old 3 to my son, but can't.  I have a cell AW5 and wasn't planning on upgrading.  But I don't think my son is ready for an iPhone, so the idea of him having just the watch was appealing.  I'm sure there is a valid reason AW3 isn't supported, but oh well.  
    razorpitwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 10
    airnerd said:
    razorpit said:
    It was going to get handed down to my son and I was going to get a 6. Looks like I'll be using the 3 for another year.
    Is that because the Watch Series 6 doesn't have what you want or because your son has been bad?
    I was hoping to give my old 3 to my son, but can't.  I have a cell AW5 and wasn't planning on upgrading.  But I don't think my son is ready for an iPhone, so the idea of him having just the watch was appealing.  I'm sure there is a valid reason AW3 isn't supported, but oh well.  
    I get your point now. Fair enough. But I don't know if a 3 year old would be able to use an Apple Watch to call 911 when he's under duress. At age 3 most kids can't form complete sentences. I've seen adults who panic in times of emergency (for others, not even for themselves) and can't make phone calls.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 10
    razorpitrazorpit Posts: 1,796member
    razorpit said:
    It was going to get handed down to my son and I was going to get a 6. Looks like I'll be using the 3 for another year.
    Is that because the Watch Series 6 doesn't have what you want or because your son has been bad?
     :D  He’s a good kid. Surprisingly mature for his age when I look back at how I was. My 3 is holding up well. I wear it practically 24/7. The 6 would be a nice upgrade but it’s not a must have for me. With that said if something were to happen to my 3 I would certainly replace it with a 6. We just dug out my wife’s old iPhone 6. For as little as he uses it he’ll be fine with that for now. I think Apple missed the boat by not allowing parents make their 3’s a hand me down like the we were able to with the phone. I’m guessing it had something to do with battery life or some low power function that was not available on the 3 die.
    edited September 2020 watto_cobra
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