It is generally not possible to use a Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 with an iPhone. After Google dropped Wear OS support for iOS devices following Wear OS 2, it is now impossible to pair a Wear OS 3 or 4 device with an iPhone through the official application via the App Store. This holds true for recent released Samsung Watches as well. Although previous Samsung Galaxy Watch models did work with iPhones, that’s no longer the case since the Galaxy Watch 4. In fact, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6, 5, and 4 models do not work with iPhones.

Although the older Samsung Galaxy Watch models like the Galaxy Watch, Galaxy Watch Active, Galaxy Watch Active 2, and Galaxy Watch 3 will work with iOS, their functionalities are limited due to multiple factors, such as the ecosystem of Tizen. As an iPhone user, buying an Apple Watch seems to be the smartest choice if you want a smartwatch. However, some people really do not like the square design of Apple Watches. Furthermore, Samsung Watch classic models provide a bezel that helps interact with the watch, which is awesome! It would be perfect if Samsung Watch could work with an iPhone.

After some research, it is definitely possible to connect a Samsung Watch to an iPhone! Let me introduce the steps first and then provide fundamental insights into the workaround.

Pairing an IPhone via Merge on Wear OS

There is a team called Merge that developed a Merge application for Wear OS to communicate with an IPhone. Simply install the Merge application from Google PlayStore on your Samsung Watch 6.Then, make sure Bluetooth is enabled on both devices to pair the Samsung Watch 6 with the IPhone. When a notification on the IPhone regarding wheter to share system notifications appears, toggle ‘yes’ to enable system notifications that can be pushed to the watch. That’s it, almost done!

Merge Sleeping Optimisation

To optimise the user expereince, it is advisable to remove the Merge app from the sleep list - Settings->Battery and device care->Battery->Sleeping apps->Merge->Remove from list After that, the Merge app and its service will not be killed by the operating system for battery saving purpose.

Persistent Notification Elimination

After successfully pairing, there should be a persistent notification from Merge on the watch, which might be annoying for some people. This can be hidden through another workaround. Firstly, enable Developer mode through Settings -> About watch -> Software info -> Tap “Software version” several times until “Developer mode turned on” appears. Then, follow Settings -> Developer options->App notifications > All watch apps->Merge-> toggle off “Background Service Notification”.

Bluetooth Connection Optimisation

Sometimes the Bluetooth connection can be unstable, for example, it connects but instantly disconnects, or after taking devices out of range, it may not reconnect when entering Bluetooth range again. In these circumstances, uninstalling the Merge app and reinstalling it should fix the issues. However, this is annoying, as we cannot expect to do the reset several times in a single day! To make the connection more stable, simply download an iOS application called simple download an IOS application called BlueTools from the App Store and manage the connection in BlueTools instead of from iOS’s Bluetooth settings. As introduced in the application description, “BlueTools Bluetooth Assistant is a powerful generic tool that can connect you to all of your devices that use Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)”.

Although these steps have been tested on a Samsung Watch 6 and an iPhone 15 with iOS 17 installed, they should also work for all versions of Samsung Watch 4 and 5!

Why It Works?

Why does the Merge application make it possible to get notifications from the paired iOS device? As just mentioned, it communicates over Bluetooth, or more specifically, BLE. BLE is a wireless communication technology designed for short-range communication between devices. It’s a variant of the classic Bluetooth technology but optimized for low power consumption and low data rate applications. BLE is widely used in various industries, including consumer electronics, healthcare, fitness, automotive, and smart home devices.

As for the Samsung Watch 6, it supports Bluetooth v5.3, which comes with BLE. The same is true for a recent iOS device that also supports BLE, as long as its Bluetooth version is later than v4.0.

But how can the Merge get notifications from its paired iPhone through BLE? We all know iOS is a much-closed ecosystem. The fact is they communicate over BLE through the Apple Notification Center Service (ANCS). ANCS is a protocol developed by Apple that allows Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) devices to receive notifications from iOS devices such as iPhones and iPads. It enables third-party accessories, like smartwatches, fitness trackers, and other wearable devices, to seamlessly integrate with iOS and display notifications from compatible apps. Below are some key points about ANCS:

  • Notification Forwarding: ANCS enables iOS devices to forward notifications to BLE-enabled accessories.
  • Notification Attributes: ANCS provides detailed information about notifications, including the app name, title, message, priority, and other relevant data.
  • User Interaction: ANCS supports user interaction with notifications on wearable devices. Users can view, dismiss, or take action on notifications directly from their smartwatches or other accessories, without needing to interact with their iPhones.
  • Privacy and Security: ANCS prioritizes user privacy and security by ensuring that notifications are transmitted securely over Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). It employs encryption and authentication mechanisms to protect sensitive data and prevent unauthorized access.
  • Compatibility: ANCS is compatible with a wide range of BLE-enabled accessories, including smartwatches, fitness trackers, and other wearable devices.

That’s it! Now, you can enjoy the mighty design of a Samsung Watch while keeping your iPhone! I will introduce more information on how to use a Samsung Watch with an iPhone, so keep an eye out!