Apple Watch FAQ: Everything you need to know about the smartwatch range

No matter the Series, we can answer your queries

When you're looking to buy a new smartwatch, it's normal to have a few questions about what exactly you're getting.

And with the Apple Watch this year helping Apple become the number one watchmaker in the world, you might have decided now is the time to delve deeper into the device. But the questions don't end once you've picked up one of the company's smartwatches - in fact, that's really just the beginning.

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Below, we'll provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding Apple's smartwatch line. Anything you feel that we've missed off? Let us know in the comments section below.

Apple Watch 101

Apple Watch FAQ: Everything you need to know about the smartwatch range

We'll delve into specific Apple Watch models further down, but here we'll go through exactly what the Apple Watch can do, how it does it and how to choose the right one for your needs.

Which Apple Watch is best for me?

This really comes down to personal preference, but there are a number of key distinctions between each device that will help you narrow down which is the best fit for your wrist. We won't get into the finer details here, but head to our Apple Watch buying guide for more help on which Apple Watch is best for you.

What can the Apple Watch do?

This isn't exactly an easy one to answer. In a word, lots. With the smartwatch one of the more rounded in the entire industry, there's something for everyone — whether that's in activity tracking, health monitoring, notification support or simply its time-telling capabilities. For more on the basics, read our Apple Watch super guide.

What size can I get the Apple Watch in?

All generations of the Apple Watch have come with the same sizing options — a case of 38mm or a 42mm. Within the box, you'll also receive a small band attached, as well as the medium/large equivalent.

Where is the Apple Watch battery indicator?

Similar to how you can swipe up and down through iOS, watchOS also allows you to do this in order to access certain settings of the Apple Watch. If you swipe down, you'll notice a percentage icon on the left side, alongside tabs for Airplane Mode, Do Not Disturb, Vibration, Sound and Waterproofing. If you don't fancy swiping every time you want to check your battery, you can install the battery widget on certain customisable watch faces.

How do I view my Apple Watch workout and activity?

While the Apple Watch's Workout app will give you a brief look at your last session and the three rings give you an insight into daily progress, you can only dig into your history through the iPhone's Activity app. From here, you can view the calendar to remind yourself how you performed on that morning run last week, or simply how many days in a row you were able to close all your rings. For more on this, read our Apple Watch Workout and Activity guide.

Which Apple Watch bands are best?

Though Apple's own bands are varied, and strong options for you to take a look at, there's also a boatload of third-party Apple Watch straps for you to consider. And keep in mind that no matter which Apple Watch you're rocking, all bands should fit all models. The only thing you need to choose is whether you want it for the 38mm or 42mm Watch.

How does the Apple Watch count steps?

Through the daily wear and when using the Workout app, your Apple Watch tracks your arm motion, measured by the built-in accelerometer.

Can the Apple Watch play music?

Yes. All models of the Apple Watch can play music, but to what extent depends on which model you opt for. If you choose the Series 3, you can stream on demand from Apple Music, though older generations will see you either tethered to your phone or needing to transfer a playlist over through the Watch smartphone app.

Read next: This is what it's like to stream music on the Apple Watch Series 3

Is the Apple Watch compatible with my smartphone?

The minimum requirements for an iPhone user are that you have an iPhone 5 or later running at least iOS 8.2. Android phones are not compatible with any Apple Watch.

Will the Apple Watch connect to wireless headphones?

Yes. Simply head into the settings section of the Watch, before selecting Bluetooth and the device which you are looking to pair. We've found some issues with the Watch pairing to headphones when a set is already known to our iPhone, but this has varied depending on which headphones we've been using.

How can I add watch faces to the Apple Watch?

You can add faces to the Apple Watch by heading to the Watch app in your iPhone and hitting the Face Gallery tab at the bottom of the screen. Here you can pick from a range of faces, which you can then personalise with complications (such as your battery percentage, or a shortcut to Strava) through the Watch itself. You can also edit which watch faces appear through the My Faces section of the app.

If you want to add something from your Photos, simply add it to the Favourites album. Once done, it will appear for syncing in the Face Gallery section of the app.

Related: Best Apple Watch faces and complications

How do I add complications to the Apple Watch?

Firstly, you'll need to make sure you're selecting a watch face which already has complications for you to edit. From there, simply hold down the screen on your Watch, tap which green box you want to edit and use the Digital Crown to scroll through which options you want on your face.

Can I use Apple Pay on the Apple Watch?

Yes. No matter which Apple Watch model you have, double-tapping the side button will bring up your card and a tap of the reader will let you utilise Apple Pay on the device. Through a recent software update, Watch users can now also send money to their friends using Apple Pay Cash. For more, including how to set up Apple Pay, read our guide on how to pay using an Apple Watch.

Apple Watch Series 3

Apple Watch FAQ: Everything you need to know about the smartwatch range

Apple's third generation smartwatch opted for a relatively identical design to its predecessors, while adding LTE and giving things a speed boost internally. The device was used to debut watchOS 4, which allows users to stream music and tap into more advanced heart rate metrics.

How does the Apple Watch Series 3's LTE work?

The Apple Watch Series 3 has a built-in eSIM, essentially giving you the same cellular capabilities as on your smartphone — even when that's not around. Both devices will share the same phone number, and you'll get all the same notifications you would when connected to your iPhone over Bluetooth.

For example, if someone calls you and your phone is miles away, you can still answer the call and speak through your Bluetooth headphones. If someone texts, you can also text them back from the wrist.

Tested: We used the Apple Watch without an iPhone for a week

And if you want to listen to music, you're able to use your regular data plan to stream music from your iCloud library. It's like having a phone on your wrist, basically.

Is the Apple Watch Series 3 waterproof?

Yes. The Apple Watch Series 3 is waterproof up to 50 metres, meaning it can survive a dip in the pool and you don't have to take it off in the shower. Just remember to eke the water out once you're done by swiping down, tapping the water icon and twisting the Digital Crown.

Can the Apple Watch Series 3 stream music from Spotify?

No. With Apple Music being the company's proprietary music streaming service, it hasn't yet allowed Spotify users to run their tunes from the watch.

Will the Apple Watch Series 3 work with my network?

Naturally, this varies depending which territory you find yourself in. In the UK, for example, only EE users are able to tap into the cellular capabilities of the Watch. Apple itself lists all of its partners here.

Will Apple Watch Series 3 track my sleep?

No. Likely due to the Watch's limited battery life, Apple is yet to prioritise sleep tracking. However, if this improves in future generations, the tech would likely be in place.

Which Apple Watch Series 3 should I buy?

The Apple Watch Series 3 comes in two variations — with LTE and without. The non-LTE option comes without the red dot on the Digital Crown and is essentially a Series 2 with a more efficient and powerful processor. The LTE option, though, allows you to leave your smartphone behind and interact with calls, texts and third-party notifications all from the wrist. With a bit of a jump in price for this LTE functionality (and an additional monthly carrier fee), you'll have to work out just how much you value being untethered from your phone.

Can Apple Watch Series 3 take pictures?

No. Apple has yet to install camera control through the Apple Watch, despite its link via Bluetooth to iPhones. Apple seemingly has no plans to install a camera on the device itself, either.

Apple Watch Series 2

Apple Watch FAQ: Everything you need to know about the smartwatch range

Not overly dissimilar to its successor, the now-discontinued Apple Watch Series 2 marked the company's dive into the world of fitness. The first to include in-built GPS, the smartwatch allows users to exercise away from their phones, as well third-party apps to take advantage of the sensor for the same untethered tracking.

Is the Apple Watch Series 2 waterproof?

Yes. The first Apple Watch to feature waterproofing, the Series 2 is able to tolerate water up to 50 metres, meaning it can track your swims, join you in the shower and handle any sweat you build up during exercise.

Why was the Apple Watch Series 2 discontinued?

There's no official reason why Apple discontinued the Series 2, but a likely explanation is that Apple felt it couldn't justify keeping it around when it so closely resembles the features and specs of both models of the Apple Watch Series 3.

Can the Apple Watch Series 2 play music?

If you have a pair of Bluetooth headphones and have transferred playlists from the Watch app to your device, you can listen to music without your phone being connected. However, unlike the Series 3, you are unable to stream music from your iCloud library if you are an Apple Music subscriber.

Can the Apple Watch Series 2 make calls and texts?

If your Series 2 is connected to your smartphone, you are able to answer calls from the Watch and speak on your phone and reply to texts from the wrist.

Can the Apple Watch Series 2 use watchOS 4?

Yes. Providing your iOS device is up to date, you will be able to download the latest software for your Apple Watch Series 2.

Is the Apple Watch Series 2 able to wirelessly charge?

Yes. All models of the Apple Watch are able to wirelessly charge through a magnetic charging dock system. Apple, as well as many third-party sellers, offer docks for you to charge your Watch without the cable and puck, with the upcoming AirPower dock allowing you to charge compatible iPhones, AirPods and Watches at the same time.

Do Apple Watch Series 2 accessories fit Series 3?

Yes. Since the design of the Watch has changed only very slightly in throughout the four iterations, all bands and accessories are able to work across the spectrum.

Apple Watch Series 1

Apple Watch FAQ: Everything you need to know about the smartwatch range

Essentially the original Apple Watch with improved internals, the Apple Watch Series 1 is on the more basic end of the scale. There's no GPS or LTE to help you cut the cord from your phone, but you still get the same notification support and selection of apps to choose from.

Is the Apple Watch Series 1 waterproof?

No. Unlike newer generations, the Series 1 is unable to track swimming or tolerate submersion in water. However, it is able to deal with the odd bit of rain and splashing, as well as sweat during workouts.

Can the Apple Watch Series 1 play music?

Like the Series 2, if you have a pair of Bluetooth headphones and have transferred Apple Music playlists from the companion app to your Watch, you can listen to music without your phone being connected.

Will the Apple Watch Series 1 work with my phone?

We've mentioned it above, but it's worth repeating — the minimum requirements are that you have an iPhone 5 or later running at least iOS 8.2. Android phones are not compatible with any Apple Watch.

Can Apple Watch Series 1 make calls and reply to texts?

The Series 1 can't make calls or reply to texts independent from your phone, but you can answer/reject calls and reply if you are connected over Bluetooth.

Can Apple Watch Series 1 get watchOS 4?

Yes. Like with all models, providing your iOS device is up to date, you can download the latest software onto your Apple Watch.

Will Apple Watch Series 1 track my runs?

The Series 1 is able to log your activity, but it'll need to piggyback from the GPS on your phone in order to track just how far you ran, for example. If you're looking for a more untethered experience, newer models have an in-built GPS sensor which mean you can run without taking your phone for the ride.

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