Apple or Android watch alone with Dexcom G6?

Is it possible to have only an Apple Watch or Android Watch (both with cellular data) and a Dexcom G6.
This would allow my kid to only wear a watch. There would be no need for a phone/receiver nearby. My wife and I would be able to see readings from pretty much anywhere, and my kid wouldn’t have to carry around a phone everywhere. This process currently works great with a phone nearby. But my 7 y/o, is a 7 y/o they leave the phone places, they mess with it, etc.

I am not asking if it currently an available option. I am trying to learn specifically what is the reason why this isn’t possible.

In my head it follows the basic path below.
Dexcom G6 transmitter sends out a bluetooth signal > Watch receives signal > Display levels for kid to see > Transmits data to internet, so that Parents/Doc can see

Am I missing something?


Many of us are waiting for this capability to become a common one.

That I know, today there is only one way to make this work: Sony Smartwatch 3 (Android Wear) + Xdrip + Dexcom (any version). The Sony watch is discontinued but still available for purchase from 3rd parties on the net. The whole system integration is not always totally trivial, even for tech-savvy people.

The Apple iWatch Series 3 demonstrated this capability in a famous tech demo, but, I think over a year later, we still have not seen an FDA approval for this capability. I understand it needs a Dexcom G6 firmware release that needs FDA approval. The iWatch series 4 would also work for that. For our purposes, there are no differences that I can see between the two series: same watch OS (WatchOS 5), same LTE capability. The Series 4 supports Bluetooth 5 vs Bluetooth 4.2 for the Series 3, but I don’t believe it makes any difference to us, except, possibly, in future proofing.

@docslotnick, @Aaron, @Sam (I know you were looking for that): any corrections to my statement above?


@anneteeter There is no way around having a phone in the equation. As @Michel said you can have a Sony smartwatch 3 as a stand alone receiver, but due to limitations of the Android wear version it uses and the lack of internet connectivity with it, you will need to have a phone to send the Bg reading to you.

That said, some people have had limited success with the Finow watch, which is basically a full fledged wrist phone, but it is pretty finnicky.

An option is a Jelly phone which is ultra small. That has been used with xDrip+ successfully. It’s a project, but you can make it work with some effort.

I don’t think your problem will be easily solved until the new Apple Watch with 4G can connect with the Dexcom receiver.


This is the heart of my question. Why can’t a watch connect directly with the dexcom transmitter?

As mentioned above. Does the transmitter need a physical update to connect to a watch? If so what is different about connecting to a watch Vs. phone?

FDA approval? For what? If the app is approved and good to go on a phone, why not a watch? Example - Google maps on a phone Vs. on a watch is essentially the same program with obvious format changes to fit and operate in the different formats. Why can’t Dexcome be formatted for a watch?

Is this something that Dexcom really wants? If you don’t need one of their receivers any longer and can cut them out. You are taking away a revenue stream from them.

I am not trying to be dismissive about other setups or work arounds such as Xdrip, jelly phones, Sony watches etc. Those are all great for what they do. However, they are a 3 step solution to a 2 step problem.


Because (1) it requires the Dexcom app to run on it if you want it to run out of the box. But—there is no Android or Apple watch that runs a full phone OS: they all run on wear OS: big difference. Also, (2) it needs full broadband+wifi to give access to the follow app (since it must send measurements to the server for that): only latest generation watches can do that (older watches are connecting to a phone for which they are accessories).

Because the FDA must approve every change, be it ONE line of code, ONE pixel of screen real estate, and, in general (but not always) hardware changes.

Dexcom is already formatted for a watch, since you can use its notifications on watches used alongside a phone. But it does not run on a watch.

What you are asking for does not exist today.

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There are many of us that are waiting anxiously for this update from Dexcom and FDA, and who have been disappointed that it hasn’t been completed.


@anneteeter There are many implementations of Bluetooth low energy (BLE) on many different Android phones and watches. The SSW3 just happens to have the Bluetooth implentation to communicate with the Dexcom transmitter. No other Android watch has that out of the box.

Unfortunately, Android and Apple do not exist to support every need of every user, so we have to jump through hoops to make this stuff work for us. Thankfully there are a lot of talented people in the open source world who can help us.


I’m going to nit-pick with Michel on this one. WatchOS is a “full” OS and can run an app - if Dexcom writes it. Take a look at the other full apps on WatchOS 5, and all the things mentioned are doable. It has broadband+wifi (802.11 b/g/n) - so via the LTE and Wifi it has all the same network connectivity as the phone.

Meaning Series 3 or Series 4 Apple Watches.

Yes and no. The FDA doesn’t approve changes to the iPhone hardware changes. Regardless, the Apple Watch Series 4 is FDA approved as a medical device. But I think your point is, any app that Dexcom writes has to be FDA approved on the watch + a specific iOs version.

Only because Dexcom has not updated their app - it does have to be installed via a phone, but it could run without the phone nearby. Local transmitter to watch readings would take place, but the potential problem is the Share.

Share might need the phone connected to Cellular or Wifi somewhere (tho not necessarily near the watch) to work, much like 3rd party SMS apps. But it is possible to run a properly written watch app without the phone nearby, as long as you have a cellular connection via the watch.


@kmichel. what a pleasure to read you!

True, but it is not the app Dexcom has. It is a different OS from the OS used by the Dexcom app right now (iOS for the Apple iPhone), and what the OP asks (“why can’t the dexcom app run on it?”) is because it is not written for WatchOS.

You are correct :slight_smile:

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Bottom line is Dexcom needs to release something. What they need or don’t need for FDA approval is between them and the FDA.

From our point of view as consumers, we are waiting for Dexcom to say they have a properly approved software product which has been launched and is available for use.

Dexcom has stated they have this in their pipeline. But as far as I know there is no public timeframe.

I am actually quite surprised it was not already launched. This has gone on far longer than I would have expected from Dexcom.


Same here. I was expecting it shortly after Apple’s public demo. I think that was 15 months ago?


I lose track once it exceeds how many fingers I have. Then it is just “too long” and “overdue”. And I get disappointed.

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Actually, his question was why the transmitter can’t connect directly to the watch. No mention of the app was made. There is a Dexcom app for the watch, the problem is that the app does not support direct connection to the watch. Thus, I would restate your statement (“because it is not written for WatchOS”) to "because the Dexcom app isn’t written to support direct connection to the watch.

@kmichel But the xDrip+ app that is written for the SSW3 is merely a shadow of the full phone app. Until watches have a full phone OS, this will always be the case. The watch just doesn’t have the horsepower.

I agree with your statement partially. Watch apps are stripped down versions of the full iOS apps. But beyond needing to display glucose and upload data, is there much more needed on a watch? I mean, you can read your email or browse web links on the watch, but do you really want to? Is setting up a new sensor realistic on a watch? I don’t think watches will ever support as much as a phone, just like some things require a computer over a phone.

Apple Watch 4 has as much processing power as an Apple iPhone 5s. It is a 64-bit processor dual core processor with 1G RAM and PowerVR GPU included. Benchmarks show it can do the same 60fps video as an iPhone 7.

The iPhone 6 has a 64-bit processor with only 1G memory (7 has 3G) and a custom graphics chip. Benchmarks show 30fps.

So, there is some RAM limitation, and screen size limitation, but again, the OP wanted to know about glucose readings and Share. The only thing Dexcom is missing is the support for the direct connect to the transmitter, which the Watch already supports with BT connections to external devices already. It’s not that much more to add the upload of the data via Wifi/Cellular, since the watch already supports that, too.

@kmichel I agree with you as far as Dexcom is concerned. It a fairly simplistic app on the phone. Doesn’t do much except read the transmitter, display the Bg, and upload it somewhere. But if you’ve ever seen the app xDrip+, you would certainly know that there’s not a snowball’s chance that the phone app could run on a watch OS.

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I don’t disagree at all, @docslotnick. But would you want to run the whole app on the watch?

Well, ok… you would :smiley:

I don’t… but for my son, I would like it all on a watch so I do not need the phone as well. :slight_smile:

I would have to find exactly what Dexcom said to be sure.

But roughly from memory, Dexcom does not intend the watch to be able to act as a full featured Receiver including all functionality.

The idea would be to allow direct data communication from the transmitter to the watch without needing to hop through the phone.

However the watch would not be able to completely control the transmitter. You would still need another full featured device such as the Tandem X2 pump, the Dexcom Receiver or the Dexcom Mobile App running on a smartphone. (ignoring the non-Dexcom apps).

With it being so long since Dexcom was initially actively talking about this, who knows how much has changed in terms of what Dexcom is actually intending to release. Assuming they still are intending to release the required software.

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What I’ve realized in using the Dexcom app on the Apple Watch is that the alarm function might not be able to be as loud/dramatic as what has been approved on iPhones. I just don’t think the watches can make as much noise as a phone and be as reliable to wake you up from a deep sleep if operating at stand alone. I bought the Apple Watch in anticipation of running it solo from just the sensor/transmitter (no phone), but I do think there would be limitations in doing it now. Jessica