The Galaxy Watch 4's best new features only work with Samsung Galaxy phones

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic BIA Sensor reading
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic BIA Sensor reading (Image credit: Daniel Bader / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 comes with a new 3-in-1 sensor to measure several health statistics.
  • Data from this sensor can only be read by the Samsung Health Monitor app on a Samsung Galaxy smartphone.
  • The Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic won't work with iOS devices at all.

Samsung just announced a pair of amazing new watches, but both new Galaxy Watch 4 models have one big downside that's going to limit their market share a bit: all those fancy new health-tracking features only work when you pair your Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 with a Samsung Galaxy smartphone. Samsung also confirmed to Android Central that the Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic will not work with iOS devices at all. In other words, iPhone owners won't be able to use the first Wear OS 3 watch.

Samsung Galaxy smartphone users will need the Samsung Health Monitor app installed on their phone to track data from the new 3-in-1 health sensor on the Galaxy Watch 4. More specifically, that includes historic measurement tracking of your blood pressure, blood oxygen level (SpO2), VO2 Max, irregular heartbeats, body composition, and even sleep tracking.

This is certainly a setback for folks looking to take advantage of those great Galaxy Watch 4 deals that Samsung is running. Still, it also shows that Samsung is primarily focused on its existing Galaxy ecosystem for the time being. When questioned, Samsung representatives weren't able to comment on future plans for expansion beyond the Galaxy ecosystem, meaning there's still hope if you really want Samsung's hardware running Wear OS 3.

If your hopes of owning one of Samsung's latest smartwatches have been dashed, don't worry: plenty of Wear OS 3 smartwatches are coming very soon. Time will tell if other companies deliver smartwatches with similar health tracking features, but, for now, Samsung is leading the pack for Android-compatible smartwatches.

Nicholas Sutrich
Senior Content Producer — Smartphones & VR
Nick started with DOS and NES and uses those fond memories of floppy disks and cartridges to fuel his opinions on modern tech. Whether it's VR, smart home gadgets, or something else that beeps and boops, he's been writing about it since 2011. Reach him on Twitter or Instagram @Gwanatu