At its virtual event today, Apple announced a new feature of watchOS 7 that allows parents or guardians to pair a single iPhone with multiple Apple Watch devices of family members. The Family Setup will let you give your kids access to the communication, health, fitness, and safety features of their smartwatch without having to own an iPhone.
With the new feature, you can setup your kids' smartwatches and control which contacts they can call or message from their Watch. You can also keep tabs of your kids' locations through the Find People app. However, family members must have their own phone number through a separate cellular plan in order to use Family Setup.
There's also a new Apple Cash Family feature that alerts parents when family members make payments using Apple Pay and view their purchase history. Kids can also create their own Memoji that they can share in messages or use as a watch face. The "Schooltime" mode also lets you adjust downtime settings on the paired Watch from your iPhone and control your kids' interactions to help them focus on their classes or school activities.
Apple has also improved the Activity rings experience to track Move minutes of family members instead of measuring calories burned. There is workout integration as well. In addition, kids can use their Watch to contact emergency services via the Emergency SOS feature.
Family Setup will be available starting September 16 at 18 carriers in 12 territories worldwide. However, it will require cellular models of Apple Watch Series 4 or later such as the Watch Series 6 or Watch SE running watchOS 7, paired with iPhone 6s or later running iOS 14. In the U.S., supported carriers include Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile.