Wierd Watch S7 behavior

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Just took delivery this week of my first Apple Watch (Series 7) thanks to the Amazon Prime Day sale. Still trying to figure it out but there's a few odd behaviors.
  1. I have 5 gmail accounts yet only one is having issues...the AW keeps saying "Cannot Get Mail...No Connection available to retrieve messages for <email account name>". Other accounts are working fine
  2. I sent a text message via my iPhone to my son (he also has an iPhones so it went via "Messages" rather than SMS). The message did not appear on my AW but his reply did.
  3. When trying to use my watch to unlock my iMac, the iMac states that it can't communicate with the watch (WiFi, Bluetooth, and and 2FA are all enabled per the instructions). Somes the "Waiting" wheel spins for several minutes and sometimes the error message responds immediately
I reset and re-paired my watch, but nothing improved. Ideas?
 
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What Mac? What OS? Have you restarted your Mac?
 
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Sorry, I thought I'd get en email when someone responded...
Monterey 12.6, and yes it's been rebooted.

What I've seen since.
  1. The Mail problem is mostly gone but still intermittently happens.
  2. Haven't been able to reproduce the missing message on my AW
  3. I realized that even though my iMac is hardwired to the same network, for the watch to talk to the iMac I have to have WiFi on. That seems silly to me. That said, connection is still unreliable. Sometimes yes, mostly no. For example right now the AW was not unlocking my iMac. I cycled the wifi on my iMac and went back to the security tab and it appeared to connect to the watch (i.e. the spinning wheel did not appear). But the iMac still insists on a password and will not talk to the watch (which is unlocked).
Bottom line, Apple seems to have lost their way. All these types of features used to work seamlessly, now I find myself constantly fighting the system.
 
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Regarding 1... see this discussion on Apple's forums. The fact that your other gmail accounts work fine suggests you simply don't have this one account set up properly.

Regarding 2... well since you can't replicate it, I think this can easily be chalked up to a one-time glitch. It happens.

Regarding 3.... you didn't say what Mac you have. I can only suggest reading over this Apple guide on how to use this feature. Pay special attention to the part about needing to be logged in to the same Apple ID, since we already know you ran into issues with this via another discussion.
 
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I realized that even though my iMac is hardwired to the same network, for the watch to talk to the iMac I have to have WiFi on. That seems silly to me. That said, connection is still unreliable. Sometimes yes, mostly no. For example right now the AW was not unlocking my iMac. I cycled the wifi on my iMac and went back to the security tab and it appeared to connect to the watch (i.e. the spinning wheel did not appear). But the iMac still insists on a password and will not talk to the watch (which is unlocked).
I use the AW to unlock my MBP. Yes, both need to be in the same WiFi network because the iPhone, AW and Mac exchange information before the Mac is unlocked. It all has to do with providing that you ARE you. So the iPhone needs a strong lock, the AW has to be paired to the iPhone and the iPhone has to be trusted by the Mac. I think all three need to have BlueTooth on as well, as I think part of the handshaking is done over a BT net.

The service is not perfect. If any link between the three fails, it doesn't work. If you follow the setup, the password it will ask for may be the login password, or the iCloud AppleID password. Read the prompts carefully as both passwords are involved.

Finally, about once a week, I get prompted that unlock with the AW won't work unless I provide the login password. I think that is another security backstop, although I've not seen it written anywhere.
 
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I use the AW to unlock my MBP. Yes, both need to be in the same WiFi network because the iPhone, AW and Mac exchange information before the Mac is unlocked. It all has to do with providing that you ARE you. So the iPhone needs a strong lock, the AW has to be paired to the iPhone and the iPhone has to be trusted by the Mac. I think all three need to have BlueTooth on as well, as I think part of the handshaking is done over a BT net.

The service is not perfect. If any link between the three fails, it doesn't work. If you follow the setup, the password it will ask for may be the login password, or the iCloud AppleID password. Read the prompts carefully as both passwords are involved.

Finally, about once a week, I get prompted that unlock with the AW won't work unless I provide the login password. I think that is another security backstop, although I've not seen it written anywhere.

I believe AirDrop is in the same boat, probably for similar reasons. From what I read, Bluetooth is used to create a peer-to-peer Wi-Fi connection between the two devices. Presumably, Apple doesn't trust Bluetooth on its own to be secure enough to do the unlocking, and the same goes for over a router on a local network (how would the devices know that network isn't compromised?). So, a more secure Wi-Fi connection has to be established direct between the two devices.
 
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I only have one iCloud account and everything else works on all devices so I don't think that's the issue. I get that the devices handshake over BT, but that's different than networking. My iMac (2019) has always communicated just fine with my iPhone without WiFi being on (recall...hardwired to the router that is 5 feet away) so the fact that the AW requires the iMac to be on WiFi (and hardwired to the same network has NEVER worked) still strikes me as odd.

BTW still not unblocking from AW. It's not why I bought it but still...
 
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Regarding 3.... you didn't say what Mac you have. I can only suggest reading over this Apple guide on how to use this feature. Pay special attention to the part about needing to be logged in to the same Apple ID, since we already know you ran into issues with this via another discussion.
I read that more times than I could count when I first set it up. I finally got it working (intermittently) but now it won't work at all. Nothing has changed.
 
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I read that more times than I could count when I first set it up. I finally got it working (intermittently) but now it won't work at all. Nothing has changed.

So let's think about this logically. One option would be hardware or software incompatibility. Meaning, either the Watch only works with newer (or older) Mac hardware, or only with a newer (or older) version of macOS. Since it's working intermittently, I think it's safe to say this isn't the issue, or it wouldn't work at all.

Second option: a configuration problem. Again, working intermittently, so it should be configured correctly or it wouldn't work at all. Although I have one question... does the iPhone have to be in a certain proximity to the Watch for unlocking of a Mac? I don't know myself, maybe someone else can answer, or you can consider this in your experiences. EDIT: side note... the iPhone that your Watch is paired to has to be on iOS 15 or later. I assume it must be, or you couldn't have set it up.

Third option: software bugginess. This is a very real possibility. Just as an example... early on with Catalina, I had rampant issues, part of which were persistent requests to enter my password to authorize iCloud. I was only able to resolve by reinstalling Catalina clean, then manually migrating all my user data and apps back in.

Fourth option: failing hardware. It could be that the Bluetooth or Wi-Fi hardware in your Mac is failing. Glitchy hardware absolutely can be behind intermittent problems.

So... what to do? The simplest thing would be to act on the possibility that your installation of macOS is buggy. Before jumping to a clean install, just reinstall Monterey over itself. Tutorial linked below. See if that helps.
 
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I'll consider that...since everything else is working and this is not a "must have", not sure I want to break something else. For what it's worth, my iPhone 12, iMac (2019 w/Monterey), and AW are all up to date on software
 
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My iMac (2019) has always communicated just fine with my iPhone without WiFi being on (recall...hardwired to the router that is 5 feet away) so the fact that the AW requires the iMac to be on WiFi (and hardwired to the same network has NEVER worked) still strikes me as odd.
Maybe, but that is how it is designed. The AW has no hardware connection, so WiFi and BT are all it has. The iPhone also is WiFi and BT, plus cellular. So, the Mac has to be in the "pool" to play, and the Ethernet isn't how Apple designed it.
 
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But the Wifi is connecting to the same network that the iMac is hardwired to...it makes no difference. I think Apple requires the WiFi to be turned because...well because. I don't think there's a valid technical reason to require that.
 
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I don't think there's a valid technical reason to require that.
You are entitled to that opinion, but have you turned wifi on on the Mac to test if they will all communicate properly and do what you expect it to do?
 

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@maclover9771

Surely the best way to prove your point, or otherwise of course, is to turn on WiFi on your iMac. This does NOT interfere with your Ethernet connection nor does it conflict with anything else.

To do so, click on the WiFi icon adjacent to your name in the top menu bar and slide the button to On. (I guess you know that:))

Just for info: I use an app called iMazing to backup my iPhone and iPad. This can be done by attaching these devices via USB to my iMac - BUT - I can achieve the same result via WiFi from several yards away, once I turn on WiFi on my iMac - which is much easier and more convenient.

I urge you to try it.

Ian
 
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But the Wifi is connecting to the same network that the iMac is hardwired to...it makes no difference. I think Apple requires the WiFi to be turned because...well because. I don't think there's a valid technical reason to require that.

You should take the very obvious technical prowess that you have demonstrated here and take it to Apple then. Maybe they will learn a thing or two. 🙄

In the meanwhile, let's try not to belabor things we can't control. It's the fastest way to convincing us to move on to helping someone else.
 
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it makes no difference.
Not true. It does make a difference. The objective is to make sure that the iPhone, Watch and Mac are all in proximity, which a wired connection would not require. Consider a Mac in a network, Ethernet wired, but in a different room, or different building, even, and then a person with an AW and iPhone in a different location, but all in the same LAN. If the Mac has someone press a key, and then it unlocks because it's on the same LAN, even if it's not in proximity, there is a potential security breach. So, Apple requires all to be close proximity for it to work. No ethernet.
 
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The objective is to make sure that the iPhone, Watch and Mac are all in proximity, which a wired connection would not require. Consider a Mac in a network, Ethernet wired, but in a different room, or different building, even, and then a person with an AW and iPhone in a different location, but all in the same LAN. If the Mac has someone press a key, and then it unlocks because it's on the same LAN, even if it's not in proximity, there is a potential security breach. So, Apple requires all to be close proximity for it to work. No ethernet.
That's the first explanation that made sense regarding WiFi (although I think BT would serve that purpose better :)). Thanks!

All that said, I'm sorry that everyone assumed that my WiFi or BT was not turned on (I never stated that it wasn't, merely questioned the need for it). Both have been on from the very beginning because well, the instructions said so. And it has worked before (albeit intermittently), but nothing that I can tell has changed on my end, and now it isn't working at all.

Thanks for your help.
 
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That's the first explanation that made sense regarding WiFi (although I think BT would serve that purpose better :)). Thanks!

All that said, I'm sorry that everyone assumed that my WiFi or BT was not turned on (I never stated that it wasn't, merely questioned the need for it). Both have been on from the very beginning because well, the instructions said so. And it has worked before (albeit intermittently), but nothing that I can tell has changed on my end, and now it isn't working at all.

Thanks for your help.
BOTH Wifi AND BT are needed. Both are used to confirm proximity and authenticity of the signals. Lots of handshaking going on before opening the Mac for you.
 

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