The Apple Watch is now kinda mature. It’s been around for awhile, Apple’s sold millions of them, and the space – which Apple joined late – is now all-but dominated by the company’s riff on the smart watch.
Whether you just want a watch with more functionality, or a fitness tracking AND a watch, Apple Watch has you covered. As is often the case, the Apple Watch has grown and developed over the years. Apple added in plenty of revisions and optimisations through the generations, refining the experience and making the battery life better.
But if you’re new to Apple Watch, you might be wondering about whether you’re using it to its full potential… For this reason, we decided to put together a guide to getting the most out of the Apple Watch by looking at some things you might have missed.
What follows is a newbie guide to the Apple Watch that is designed to help new users find their feet when using the device.
If you don’t have an Apple Watch and are looking at picking one up on the cheap, you should definitely check out Tech Trade, which specialises in selling refurbished Apple Watch devices (and other tech as well). You could save A LOT of money going the refurb route, which is why more and more people are doing it every year.
Use Your Voice To Launch Apps
The Apple Watch home screen presents apps as icons in a cluster. It’s a clever way to arrange apps, but some users find tapping the small icon touch zones a bit cumbersome. Apple understands that, which is why they’ve added the ability to launch apps by using your voice.
Simply press and hold the Digital Crown to activate Siri, then speak your command to launch an app. You can say “Launch [app name]” or “Open [app name]” and the app will immediately open.
AirPlay Music From Your Apple Watch To External Speakers Or The Apple TV
The Apple Watch allows you to store music directly on the device, which you can then play via its speaker or Bluetooth headphones. But not many people know you can actually AirPlay your tunes in the Apple Watch to the Apple TV or AirPlay-compatible Bluetooth speakers.
The reason not many people know this is because Apple has done a terrific job at hiding this. You can only access this feature from one place in your Watch–on a specific screen in the Music app. Open the Music app and go to the song-playing screen. Now Force Touch on the display until a new menu appears. You’ll see four buttons appear, one of which says AirPlay. Tap this button and on the next menu tap the AirPlay source you would like to send the music to.
Quickly Switch Between Apps
A screen as small as the one found on the Apple watch can make navigation cumbersome, which is why most people want to keep it to a minimum. But Apple has built in a clever physical button trick that can help you speed up app switching. If you double-press the Digital Crown you’ll be taken from the screen you’re currently on–this can be an app screen or the home screen–and taken to the last screen you were on.
So, if you’re on the home screen and double-press the Digital Crown you’ll be taken to the previous screen you were on, say, a screen in the Music app. Double-press the Digital Crown again to quickly return to the home screen.
This is my favorite hidden feature. As a tech journalist, I find this extremely handy, especially when reviewing apps. But non-journalists find screenshots just as helpful as well. Sometimes it’s fun to share screenshots of your home screen arrangement. Other times a screenshot can help you tell a developer where you’ve found a bug in their app.
To take a screenshot you simply need to press the Digital Crown and the Side button (the one below the Digital Crown) at the same time. The screen will flash white and the screenshot will be saved to your iPhone’s Photos library.
Clear All Notifications At Once
I’m a big believer you should keep notifications on the Apple Watch to a minimum. The more notifications you allow, the quicker your battery drains. But even if you love getting notifications, too many of them can be overwhelming. Thankfully Apple has created a way to clear them all at once. Simply swipe down from the top of the Apple Watch’s display to show all your notifications. If you want to clear them all at once, tap and hold on (also known as Force Touch) a notification to bring up a “Clear All” button. Tap it and every notification will be cleared.
Access Shortcuts To Control Apple Watch Modes And Conserve Battery
From any watch face screen you can access a Control Center panel by swiping up. On this pane,l you’ll first find shortcuts to turn on Airplane mode, enable Do Not Disturb mode, and mute sounds. Swipe to your left to see a battery meter screen. This shows you how much power you have left. If the battery life is getting too low for your liking you can tap the Power Reserve button to automatically enter Power Reserve mode to save precious battery life.
Eject Water From Apple Watch After a Swim
Since Series 2 you’ve been able to take the Apple Watch for a swim. But while the Watch is water resistant, when you go for a swim water can get into the microphone or speaker port, which could mess up not only audio but barometer altitude measurements. Thankfully, Apple has an “eject water” feature for the Watch.
This feature makes the Watch vibrate to shuffle the water out of the ports. To access it, swipe up to access the Control Center and then tap the water droplet icon to initiate the process.
Use the Watch As A Shutter Control To Take A Picture With Your iPhone
This is a great feature for iPhone photographers. The Watch can be used as an independent shutter control switch for the iPhone’s camera. Great when you want to be in the shot without wanting to set a timer.
To do this, set up your iPhone for the shot and make sure the Camera app is open on both the iPhone and Watch. Now just press the shutter button on the Watch and the picture will be taken.
View Your Apple Watch In List View
Lots of people don’t like the circular grid view on the Apple Watch. But not many know you can change this to a List view. To do this, do a hard press on the home menu. You’ll then be presented with the option for the circular grid view or a list view. Choose list view and from now on you’ll see all your apps in a list.
Force A Restart
If you Apple Watch becomes frozen (hey, it happens) or is otherwise acting weirdly, you can force a restart. Many times this is all you need to do to resolve any issues. To force a restart just hold down the side button and digital crown for 10 seconds. The screen will go blank and when you see the Apple logo again, your Watch will be restarting.