1. What does the Apple Watch do?
  2. Hacks and tricks new to watchOS 10
  3. Gesture control
  4. Access SmartStack
  5. App tray and settings changes
  6. Get offline maps
  7. Share live location
  8. Find iPhone 
  9. Create a Portrait watch face
  10. Use Low Power Mode for longer battery
  11. Make notifications less annoying
  12. Optimize it for left-handedness 
  13. Make the app menu more usable
  14. Set multiple Apple Watch timers
  15. Siren for help (Apple Watch Ultra)
  16. Stay focused
  17. Navigate to a waypoint
  18. Make the Side Button more useful
  19. Customize the Action Button (Apple Watch Ultra)
  20. Track sleep with Apple Watch 
  21. Turn off the always-on display
  22. Check your VO2 Max
  23. Get Cardio Fitness alerts
  24. Share watch faces
  25. Share photos
  26. Unlock your Mac from your Watch
  27. Turn your watch into a bedside clock
  28. Get the latest Apple Watch features
  29. Turn on auto-pause for cycling workouts
  30. Clear all notifications
  31. Set an alarm to wake up to
  32. Use Siri to its full potential
  33. Turn off Siri on your Apple Watch
  34. Take a screenshot
  35. Take an ECG reading
  36. Discreetly view the time
  37. Unpair your Apple Watch
  38. Swap and change bands
  39. Use Running Auto Pause
  40. Precision Start
  41. Pair a playlist for workouts
  42. Unlock your Watch from your iPhone
  43. Use an old Apple Watch as a kid's tracker
  44. Measure your blood oxygen
  45. Don't miss an alert with Prominent Haptic
  46. Turn on heart rate notifications
  47. Use the Breathe app
  48. Chain together your workouts
  49. Share Activity rings
  50. Change the move goal
  51. Change AirPods volume
  52. Enable Fall Detection
  53. Change text size
  54. Check your data usage
  55. Check-in on the storage
  56. Unlock your iPhone while wearing a mask
  57. Eject water after a swim
  58. Reply from the wrist
  59. Force restart
  60. Cover to dim
  61. Use third-party complications
  62. Use Theater Mode
  63. Do some gym-based cardio
  64. Get your podcast on
  65. Transfer a call to your iPhone
  66. Master automatic workout tracking
  67. Trim your watch face collection
  68. Wash your hands properly
  69. Delete those unused Apple apps
  70. Set up Apple Pay Cash
  71. Make Mickey and Minnie Mouse speak
  72. Send your location from messages
  73. Flag an email for later
  74. Choose mailboxes for notifications
  75. Understand Apple Watch turn-by-turn directions

73 Apple Watch tips, hacks and hidden features

Discover what Apple's smartwatches can do
Wareable apple watch features
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Getting the most out of your Apple Watch is all about knowing how to use it, which is why it's essential to learn some tricks.

The Apple Watch is one of the most versatile gadgets you can buy, and no two people use it quite the same way. 

This means there are scores of hidden features to explore, many of which go unnoticed by the large majority of watch owners.

We've spent years curating this list of top Apple Watch tips for you to digest - read on to become the master of your smartwatch.

What does the Apple Watch do?

  • Notifications and messages on the wrist
  • Daily activity tracking (calories, exercise minutes, standing)
  • GPS workout tracking (running, cycling, swimming, and more)
  • Sleep tracking and insights
  • Women's health features (Cycle Tracking)
  • Heart rate monitoring
  • High/low heart rate notifications
  • Fall Detection and Crash Detection (Series 8 & Series 9)
  • ECG readings (Series 4-9 and Ultra/Ultra 2)
  • Blood oxygen tracking (Series 6 and later)
  • Make and take calls (Cellular versions enable this without iPhone)
  • Turn-by-turn navigation
  • Siri commands – alarms, timers, reminders
  • Payments, tickets, and boarding passes
  • Offline music playback from Apple Music, Spotify and more
  • Tell the time


Hacks and tricks new to watchOS 10

You can get the most out of the latest features that landed through watchOS 10 by accessing the tips below, but check out our full guide for all the new additions.

Gesture control

WareableApple Watch Double Tap gesture explained photo 2

Hot off the new watchOS 10 update, you can now control the Apple Watch hands-free with the double pinch gesture. It’s auto-enabled.

Turn the watch to raise-to-wake and then double pinch your thumb and forefinger to cancel timers, snooze alarms, and more. Try it from the watch face to activate SmartStack, and keep pinching to cycle through your widgets.

You can read our full guide to the Apple Watch Double Tap gesture here.

Access SmartStack

As mentioned above, SmartStack is one of the key additions. Just scroll the crown (or Double Tap) from the watch face to get a Rolodex of glanceable widgets, such as weather, notifications, and other data.

App tray and settings changes

The use of buttons in watchOS 10 has changed totally which can be bewildering. The side button now brings up the quick settings. You need to double-tap the crown to hot-switch between open apps.

We have a step-by-step guide for accessing the Control Center for more.

Get offline maps

You can now store offline Apple Maps on your Apple Watch, which is useful when exploring new places or taking your Watch out for adventures.

You can save an offline map in Maps on iOS 17 (touch and hold the map until a pin marker appears, then tap Download) and then any map can be loaded onto your Apple Watch via the companion app.

Alternatively, you can also get Google Maps for the Apple Watch.

Share live location

You can now share your location live from your Apple Watch, which can be an essential safety feature - or just a way of helping friends find you in busy surroundings.

You need to fire up the oft-neglected Find People app, choose Share Location, and then choose a contact. 

Find iPhone 

iPhone 15 users can now use the Apple Watch with watchOS 10 to locate a missing phone using the UWB chip.

Press and hold the Ping iPhone button in the Apple Watch settings tray to reveal the option and then navigate to your iPhone.

Learn how to use Precision Finding with our step-by-step guide.

Create a Portrait watch face

WareablePortrait watch faces

Apple has said that the Photos watch faces are one of the most popular on the Apple Watch, and, after first landing in watchOS 9, it extended the magical layers to pet photos, as well.

It takes the subject of a portrait photo and makes it more prominent, so the subject cuts in front of the time, as shown above. It looks great.

To create a Portrait watch face, you need an iPhone 7 or later - one that's capable of taking portrait photos - and an Apple Watch Series 4 or later. Then you need to do the following:

1. Go to the Watch app on your iPhone and tap on the 'Face Gallery'.

2. Scroll down to 'Portraits'. Choose the photos you want to use to turn into a watch face.

3. Select from 'Classic', 'Modern', or rounded face looks, and then choose your complication layout.

4. When you're done customizing, hit the 'Add' button and you have your Portrait watch face.

Learn: How to set a photo as an Apple Watch face

Use Low Power Mode for longer battery

In watchOS 9, Apple introduced Low Power Mode to all Apple Watch devices (from Series 4 onwards). 

You can launch it from the battery percentage icon on the control panel, and, when initiated, will turn off the always-on display, blood oxygen tracking, and heart rate monitor, and only fetch notifications once an hour. 

The upshot is an estimated 36 hours of battery life. 

Read our 18 tips for improving Apple Watch battery life.

Make notifications less annoying

By default, the Apple Watch will show any notification that appears on your iPhone, but you can turn each one off individually to quell the digital noise.

In the iPhone's Apple Watch app menu, tap 'Notifications' and scroll down to 'Mirror iPhone alerts from' and start turning off those annoying offenders.

Optimize it for left-handedness 

Wareableapple watch left handers

The Digital Crown isn't best placed for southpaws, who generally wear their watch on the right arm.

However, you can have the Apple Watch flip its controls so that the crown works on the bottom left instead of the top right.

On your Apple Watch head to Settings > General > Orientation and then choose your preferred wrist and Digital Crown position.

Make the app menu more usable

The grid of apps is synonymous with Apple Watch, but, for us, it can sometimes be a fiddly mess. Thankfully, there are a couple of different ways to organize your apps.

If you want to organize the honeycomb 'Grid View', the best way to do this is by firing up the companion app, heading over to' App Layout', and moving icons around there instead of on the watch itself.

Or, you can opt for the List View. On the Watch, just force touch on the app selection screen to choose this option.

Set multiple Apple Watch timers


Sometimes, it's the simplest features that make the biggest difference when using Apple's Watch day-to-day.

That's definitely how we see Apple's decision to finally make it possible to set up multiple timers on its smartwatch. To find the place to do that:

1. Push the Digital Crown to open up the app screen.

2. Select 'Timers' and scroll up and down to see a set of different popular timers you can pick from.

3. Tap 'Custom' if you need to make your own.

Siren for help (Apple Watch Ultra)

An exclusive feature on Apple's more outdoorsy smartwatch is the Siren App - and it can act as a serious tool for when you need to draw attention to yourself. 

Designed to be heard up to 180 meters away, it's one of the device's many great safety features. Just note that it will sound until you turn it off manually (or the battery runs out). 

Here's how to turn it on and off:

1. Press and hold the Action or Side button to bring up the menu of options.

2. On the 'Siren' option, slide this to begin a countdown.

3. Stop the siren sounding by pressing the red stop icon in the middle of the screen.

Stay focused


The 'Focus' mode is all about filtering out the distractions that kill productivity or interrupt sleep.

The idea is that you can set up Focus profiles to make sure your Watch recognizes the times when you need to focus. To turn on a Focus profile:

1. On your Apple Watch, press the Digital Crown to enter the app screen and tap 'Settings'.

2. Scroll to find the 'Focus' app, where you'll be able to set up do-not-disturb and sleep profiles.

3. You can also choose to mirror the Focus profiles you've set up on your iPhone.

After initially debuting on the Apple Watch Ultra, the improved Compass app can now be used to set GPS waypoints and navigate back to the start of hikes and routes. 

We've tested the Compass app on the Apple Watch Ultra during a few hikes, and, while we don't rate it as the most intuitive app to navigate from, it's a nice feature to have in your back pocket - well, on your wrist.

Make the Side Button more useful

Wareableapple watch dock

Double tapping the Digital Crown will open the App Dock, which allows you to easily switch between apps. 

By default, the App Dock lists the most recently used app, but you can customize it with your favorites to ensure that they're always within reach.

You can customize the dock in your companion Watch app - just head to 'Dock' and choose 'Recent' or 'Favorites'.

Customize the Action Button (Apple Watch Ultra)

That extra button on the Apple Watch Ultra adds a surprising amount of ease to the experience, and you can bolster this even further by customizing the direction it pings you.

You're prompted to set this up to your liking during the initial setup, but, as we found, you'll likely want to change this up after some initial wear. To do so:

1. Open the 'Settings' app, scroll down to 'Action Button' and tap 'Action'.

2. Choose which app you want the Action button to send you - Backtrack, Dive, Torch, Shortcut, Stopwatch, Workout, or Waypoint. Alternatively, tap 'App' and select an available one instead by hitting the '<' arrow.

3. Under the 'App menu', customize what different amounts of presses do.

Track sleep with Apple Watch 

WareableApple Watch sleep app

The Apple Watch can natively track sleep, and the experience was hugely improved through watchOS 9 to include sleep stages data. 

You need to set up Bedtime mode, which will put your iPhone and Apple Watch into a wind-down mode before bed, and stop you from being disturbed by notifications.

You can read our full guide to Apple Watch sleep tracking if you want a bit more information.

If you're not a big fan of Apple's app, we've also tested and lived with most of the best Apple Watch sleep tracking apps, and found Autosleep and Pillow to be the best options.

Turn off the always-on display

The 'Always On' mode available on some devices is useful for getting a sneak peek at the time and, well, making the Apple Watch feel more like a real watch, but there are occasions when you'll want to switch it off.

Here's how to do so:

1. Open the 'Settings' app on the Apple Watch.

2. Tap 'Display & Brightness'.

3. Tap 'Always On', then tap the switch from green to white.

Check your VO2 Max

Wareableapple watch VO2 Max

Your VO2 Max estimate is tracked in the Fitness app.

As part of your stats, you'll find your Cardio Fitness Score, which is a VO2 Max estimate based on your heart rate and pace on GPS-tracked outdoor runs.

VO2 Max is a distilled single score on your fitness, and there's no greater gauge of your current level.

The Apple Watch will also produce a warning if your VO2 Max starts dropping, as a little kick to lace up those sneakers and get out for a run.

Get Cardio Fitness alerts

Cardio Fitness score on Apple Watch brings the idea of VO2 Max to the masses, and can estimate it based on your daily lifestyle – and warn you if it deems your fitness to be dangerously low.

It’s an opt-in feature and Apple needs some information to start estimating Cardio Fitness. Head to the Apple Health app on your iPhone and go to Summary > Cardio Fitness > Set up.

Share watch faces

You can now also share your favorites with friends and family, complications and all.

Just press and hold on a watch face (as if to change it) and you'll see a share button. You can add a contact and even dictate a message.

Sharing a watch face isn't just about the custom picture you've used. It can also mean the exact selection of complications and adjustments, that make Apple Watch faces so personal and unique.

Check out our guide to the best Apple Watch faces.

Share photos

Wareablephotos  share

Apple revamped the Photos app through watchOS 8 in 2021 to make it easier to view images - and it also made it much easier to share photos.

To share a photo from the Photos app on your Apple Watch, you need to do the following:

1. Open the Photos app on your Apple Watch.

2. Scroll to find the photo you want to share and tap to select.

3. You will then see a small share button in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen.

4. You'll now see the option of where you can share that image. That might be through Apple's Message app, but you can also share via Apple's email client, too.

Unlock your Mac from your Watch

You can use your Apple Watch to skip typing in a password on your Mac to get access, so long as you have a mid-2013 or a newer Mac that's running macOS Sierra 10.12 or later.

If you want to pair the two together, the first thing you need to do is make sure that they're both signed into the same iCloud account.

Your next step is to head to your Mac and go from System Preferences > Security & Privacy > General. Here, you'll be able to set the Apple Watch to unlock your Mac.

Make sure two-factor authentication is enabled as well on your Mac by heading to System Preferences > iCloud > Account Details > Security.

If you need more info, check out our full guide on unlocking the Mac with Apple Watch.

Turn your watch into a bedside clock

Wareableapple watch nightstand mode

If you don't like wearing your Apple Watch for sleep tracking, it can double as a neat little bedside clock.

For those who opt to keep it on charge at night rather than on the wrist, simply turn it on its side when the cable is attached to enable Bedside Mode.

If you enjoy Bedside Mode you can even buy an Apple Watch charging stand to make it even easier and neater.

Get the latest Apple Watch features

To make sure you're getting the most out of your Apple Watch, you're going to want to update it regularly.

This is fairly straightforward to achieve, and you should get a pop-up on your iOS device each time there's an update ready. 

To check on iOS, head to the 'My Watch' tab in the Watch app, tap through to 'General' and then go to 'Software update'.

Follow the instructions and, voila, you should be on your way. Just make sure to keep the Apple Watch on charge throughout.

Also, considering there are different ways to force an update, and you may need some troubleshooting tips, check out our full guide on how to update your Apple Watch.

Turn on auto-pause for cycling workouts


Apple's range of cycling-focused features extends to the ability to turn on auto-pause - just like you can do when you're tracking outdoor runs.

To turn on auto-pause for cycling:

1. Go to 'Settings' on your Apple Watch.

2. Scroll down until you find the Workout app.

3. From here, you'll find the option to turn on auto-pause.

Clear all notifications

Wareableclear notifications

If you're overburdened by notifications, you can wipe your recent history by swiping down from the top of your screen to access a chronological list.

Once displayed, you can banish them all by long-pressing the screen and then tapping 'Clear All'.

If you're looking to manage your notifications and need more detailed help, check out our full guide on how to clear all notifications, which also includes tips on deleting texts and turning them off altogether.

Set an alarm to wake up to

You can easily set an alarm for any time by going to the Alarms app and setting the time. You can also toggle any past alarm on with a simple switch.

But, if you're setting your regular wake-up alarm, you want to head to the Sleep app.

From here you can set a full schedule of alarms for the week (and exclude weekends), and choose the type of sounds and haptics you want to rouse you.

In turn, the Sleep app will remind you when to go to bed (based on your target sleep goal) and wind down your devices, including your iPhone, 30 minutes before.

That means no notifications to rile you up before it's time to nod off. 

Use Siri to its full potential


Through the Siri watch face, the smart assistant is now able to serve up more contextual information, such as showing heart rate after a workout, or sports scores if your favorite team is playing.

Waking Siri and chatting with the assistant can also prove fruitful.

No longer do you activate things through "Hey Siri" – you simply need to enable the new wrist-raise option which automatically kickstarts the assistant. If that's a bit too Dick Tracy for you, pushing and holding the crown will also make Siri pipe up.

Read our full guide on things to ask Siri on your Apple Watch.

Turn off Siri on your Apple Watch

If you don't find Siri all that useful, you can turn it off from your Apple Watch.

Simply go to 'Settings' on your Watch and then go to 'General'.

Then, go to the 'Siri' option and then tap the toggle next to 'Hey, Siri' to turn it off.

Take a screenshot

All Apple Watch devices can take screenshots when you push the Digital Crown and the action button below it at the same time. Images are then saved to the camera roll on your iPhone.

This is not set as default, though. To enable screenshots, head to the Watch companion app and then go to General. There, you'll be able to toggle Enable Screenshots on or off.

Take an ECG reading

Wareableapple watch ecg

Introduced back in 2018, newer Apple Watch models can help detect atrial fibrillation via an electrocardiogram (ECG).

This is an irregular heart rhythm condition that goes undiagnosed in millions of people.

You can fire up the ECG app to take a reading - and check out our Apple Watch ECG guide for full information and steps.

Discreetly view the time

If you want to check in on the time without raising your wrist, you can slowly twist the digital crown upwards and it'll brighten up the screen gradually to let you peek, rather than fully illuminating the watch screen.

Unpair your Apple Watch

If you get a new iPhone or decide to give your old Apple Watch to someone else, you'll need to unpair your device so it can be reused elsewhere. 

You'll need to go to the iPhone connected to your Watch. Head to the Watch app and open the My Watch tab, tap the 'i' on the screen, and then hit 'Unpair Apple Watch'.

You can also erase your data (if you want) by heading to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings on the device itself.

Read our full guide to find out how to reset and unpair the Apple Watch.

Swap and change bands

Wareablechnage straps

There are new, official Apple Watch bands released every few months, with new colors to match the season and your wardrobe.

And if you don't want to splash the cash on Apple's bands, there are always third-party options.

Want to know which case sizes fit which bands? Check out our quick guide on how to change Apple Watch bands.

Use Running Auto Pause

As with many third-party apps, Apple also lets you halt run tracking when you get interrupted or have to stop at a set of traffic lights.

You can now enable automatic run pausing simply by heading to the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, heading to the My Watch section, and then selecting Workout. Here, you'll be able to toggle on Running Auto Pause.

Precision Start

The Apple Watch is designed to lock onto GPS automatically, and as soon as you start a workout, it will start tracking. But if you're waiting at the start line of a race, you might want to press GO.

Enable Precision Start in the Watch app > Workout > Precision Start.

Pair a playlist for workouts

If you have a go-to workout playlist, you can have it start automatically when you start your session. Just head to the Watch app > Workout > Workout Playlist and choose one from your list. This is one for Apple Music folks only.

Unlock your Watch from your iPhone

If you didn't do this in the initial setup process, you can still unlock your Apple Watch and iPhone at the same time without having to hammer in a passcode (if you've set one of those up).

To do this, go to the Watch companion app, where you can toggle the Unlock with iPhone feature on or off. You need to be wearing the Watch for this feature to work, though.

Use an old Apple Watch as a kid's tracker

A feature first introduced in watchOS 7 was the ability to add a second Apple Watch to your Apple ID and use it as a kid's watch.

This will let you check in on your child’s location, enable them to make calls to selected contacts and enjoy some fitness tracking data, too.

You need an LTE Apple Watch (Series 3 onwards) and have it erased ready to pair – and choose Tap Set Up for a Family Member during the process.

It needs a data plan (doesn’t have to be the same as yours) and the person you’re setting it up for name in your Family Group.

We've explained how to set up Family Setup in this guide.

Measure your blood oxygen

Wareableblood oxygen

If you’re the owner of an Apple Watch Series 6 or later, you can take advantage of its SpO2 sensor to check your blood oxygen levels.

Open the Blood Oxygen app and follow the instructions to take a spot check. Supported watches will also take automatic readings, which you can see recorded in Apple Health.

Don't miss an alert with Prominent Haptic

If you want to make sure you don’t miss a notification without alerting everyone in your vicinity with an aggressive ‘ding’ then you can set a Prominent Haptic.

This essentially pre-warms you of an alert with a gentle haptic tap, before the standard alert comes through. You can set this up by going to Settings > Sounds and Haptics > Prominent Haptic on the watch.

Turn on heart rate notifications

Wareablelow HR notification

Apple is taking heart health more seriously, and one of the newer features is a notification when your heart rate is detected as lower or higher than it should be. You can enable it in the heart rate section of the companion app.

When you turn it on, you'll be asked to choose a threshold. Then, your Apple Watch will only alert you when you go past the threshold and appear to have been inactive for about 10 minutes.

Read this: Apple Watch heart rate monitor essential guide

On top of that, it'll look for signs that your elevated/falling heart rate is a longer-term problem, rather than a temporary blip brought on by something terrifying – like a horror movie.

Use the Breathe app

If you find yourself getting stressed during the day, you may find it useful to tap into the Apple Watch Breathe app. This allows you to follow the on-screen instructions and focus on your breathing for a select amount of minutes.

It's a handy wellness feature from Apple, and you can edit details such as how many breaths per minute you want to take, how many notifications you receive, and how prominent the haptic feedback is through the Watch app on your iPhone.

Chain together your workouts

Wareablemove goal

You triathlete, you. On the Apple Watch, you can now chain together workouts, which means less time rubbing those sweaty fingers around the screen.

If you want to jump from one type of workout to another, rather than stopping the current one, swipe right and tap the + button to add a new one.

Share Activity rings

Wareableactivity rings

Apple's answer to Fitbit, Garmin, and the rest of the fitness tracker fraternity is its Activity platform. That's where all of your daily movements are recorded. In its latest iteration, you can now share activity progress with other Apple Watch users.

To do it, you need to add friends, which has to be done by going to the dedicated Activity app on your iPhone. You can then select Sharing and hit the + icon in the corner to add contacts.

Jog on: The best Apple Watch running apps

Back on the Apple Watch, go to the Activity app and swipe right to see Activity data from your friends. You can also comment on workouts to keep them motivated, or to make fun of them. Either way, it's your call.

Change the move goal

The move goal is your calorie benchmark for each day, and, while it's a satisfying one to tackle, that battle gets a little old if it's set too high or too low.

Every so often, the Watch will nudge you to let you know how you're getting on, but did you know you can alter the number directly from the watch?

Simply go to the Activity app and scroll to the bottom and choose 'Change Goals.'

Change AirPods volume

If you want to change the volume on the AirPods without taking out your iPhone, you have to ask Siri. Convoluted to say the least, but, if you have an Apple Watch, you're in luck.

When you're playing music on a Watch, whether it's from your iPhone or Watch, you can glance at your watch to see what's 'Now Playing'.

All you have to do is rotate the Digital Crown to raise and lower the volume. It couldn't be more convenient.

Enable Fall Detection

Wareableapple watch fall detection settings

The Apple Watch can detect falls and phone emergency contacts – and this is now enabled by default for all users. And in 2022, Apple also added the same feature for car crashes on Series 8 / Ultra / SE 2 models.

However, if the worst was to happen, make sure your details and emergency contact numbers are set up.

Go to the companion app and head to Emergency SOS > Health Profile. If this is already set up, you can choose to edit your emergency contacts.

Change text size

If you find yourself constantly squinting at your wrist to read the Watch's notifications, you can change the text size. Simply go to Settings > Brightness & Text Size then configure it to whatever's comfortable for you.

Check your data usage

Wareablewatch faces

If you've got an Apple Watch with a cellular connection, you may want to keep an eye on your data usage. You never know whether something will tip you over your monthly plan.

Alternatively, it's neat to see how little data the Apple Watch uses.

You'll have to head over to the companion app, checking in on the cellular menu option to see the information. Once you do, however, you'll find out how much data you've used in the current period and which apps are using that data.

Check-in on the storage

There's a decent amount of room on the Apple Watch to accommodate apps, emails, and music.

If you want to see how much storage you have to play with, head to the Apple Watch companion app, go to General and then select Usage. Here, you'll be able to get a breakdown of how much space apps are taking up.

Unlock your iPhone while wearing a mask

Wareableunlock with mask

Back when mask-wearing was at its height a few years ago, Apple added the ability to unlock your iPhone when you're wearing a mask - all through the power of your Watch.

The feature enables you to bypass the Face ID and passcode on your iPhone (only when wearing a face mask) as long as your Apple Watch is unlocked on your wrist. However, it won't be enabled automatically – do that:

1. On your iPhone head to 'Settings'.

2. Tap 'Face ID and Passcode'.

3. Turn on 'Unlock With Apple Watch'.

4. Accept the warning.

Eject water after a swim

From Series 2 and onwards, the Apple Watch has been waterproof and includes an eject mode to get rid of any water that's left lurking inside after you've gone swimming.

If you want to manually use this feature, access the Apple Watch Control Center. Look for the water droplet icon and press it. You'll then be prompted to twist the digital crown to eject the water.

It's a good idea to tap the droplet button before getting in the shower or pool (but don't worry if you forget) as it also locks the screen, preventing it from confusing water droplets for your fingers.

Reply from the wrist

Unless you have the Apple Watch Series 7-9 or Ultra 1-2, you don't have access to a keyboard on Apple's smartwatch.

If you don't like the idea of typing out replies, there are other ways you can respond to texts.

Apart from using custom responses, you can either tap the microphone to dictate replies with your voice or scribble them letter by letter.

That's a little tasking, but Siri is getting better at voice detection, and, when you're paired with some Bluetooth headphones with a mic, the experience is much smoother.

Force restart

Apple says to do this action as a last resort, so, if you're left with no choice, hold the Digital Crown and side button together for 10 seconds.

Just like restarting your iPhone, the Apple logo will pop up and your watch should restart.

Read our guide to restarting the Apple Watch for more.

Cover to dim

If your Watch is set to notify you or ring with sounds, but you're in the middle of a meeting or situation where loud dings are rude, you can turn on 'Cover to Mute' in the Sound & Haptics settings.

Then simply cover your watch for three seconds for it to take effect.

Use third-party complications


Handily, information can be drawn from third-party apps into watch faces on the Apple Watch.

Just how many complications you get to customize depends on your watch face, but this can range anywhere from a few to as many as eight in total.

Press and hold the watch face to cycle through the selection of faces, and tap 'Customize' to enter editing mode. Swipe to the right to make the areas that can be customized appear in boxes.

Tap the area you want to change, and then use the crown to scroll through options – this is where those third-party complications can be added. Most can be turned off if you prefer the minimalist look.

If you don't want to deal with the Watch's tiny display, you can also do this on your iPhone via the Face Gallery in the companion app.

Use Theater Mode

Wareabletheatre mode

Have you ever sat in a dark cinema, moved your arm to get a little more comfortable, and then seen a beacon go off on your wrist? That was your Apple Watch.

To avoid being a public nuisance in the cinema, just swipe up on the watch face and click the Greek theatre faces to enable Theater Mode, which will keep your Watch's display off during your film.

Do some gym-based cardio

Apple GymKit has been around for a while now, and, while it's not exactly prevalent in the real world, more and more equipment is becoming compatible all the time.

Essentially, GymKit allows you to tap your Apple Watch to an NFC terminal on cardio equipment, which will then perfectly sync up all your exercise data.

Get your podcast on


It's not just music that you're able to listen to from the Apple Watch - you're also able to enjoy podcasts, syncing up with your iPhone and Mac.

Handily, that means you can pause halfway through an episode on one device and pick up on another.

Transfer a call to your iPhone

Have you received a call on your Watch but want to continue it on your actual phone? No problem.

While talking on your Apple Watch, unlock your iPhone, then tap the green button or bar at the top of the screen. Seamless.

Master automatic workout tracking

Wareableapple watch workout tracking

The Apple Watch's automatic workout tracking doesn't work quite how you would expect. Though it can sense what kind of workout you're doing, it won't automatically start tracking it without you confirming this.

Instead, it sends you a notification telling you that it thinks you're working out, and it'll remind you to start the tracking.

Once you've done so, it'll give you retroactive credit for the number of workouts you've already done. Similarly, if you forget to end a workout, it'll prompt you to do so.

Trim your watch face collection

While Mickey has been the face of Apple's marketing campaign, and he's a fun novelty, it's virtually impossible to tell the time from his stubby arms.

There are only three watch faces we actually can bear to use. Banish the rest by swiping up on any offending design. If you want one back, just press the + at the end of the list.

Wash your hands properly

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First introduced during the pandemic, the handwashing timer feature lives on.

When you start running the tap and rinsing your hands, a timer will start with a nice bubbly decal. It will count down from 20 seconds to make sure you're washing any nasties away.

You can also turn off handwashing reminders in Settings > General > Handwashing.

Delete those unused Apple apps

Unless you're constantly buying low and selling high, you probably haven't touched Apple's Stocks app on the iPhone. So why would you want it on your Apple Watch?

It took a while, but Apple now lets you remove stock apps from your iPhone. Lucky for you, deleting those apps also removes them from your Apple Watch.

Set up Apple Pay Cash

Apple Pay Cash is essentially a prepaid debit card that'll let you pay for things in stores as well as pay friends.

So, if you owe your friends for that lunch, for example, you can simply open the messages app on your Watch and pay them. You can also request money from friends if they're avoiding you.

Setting up Apple Pay Cash is simple.

 If you've got a debit card linked to your Apple Pay account, all you have to do is head to Settings > Wallet & Apple Pay > Apple Pay Cash. You simply agree to the terms and – voila – you're all set up.

Make Mickey and Minnie Mouse speak

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If you need a jolt of joy, you can head over to your Mickey or Minnie watch face and tap on them to hear them tell you the time in their trademark voices.

You'll need to make sure it's on by heading to 'Sounds & Haptics' in the companion and enabling 'Tap to Speak'.

Send your location from messages

Always late on your way to meet friends? Instead of wasting time replying to them from your phone, simply send your live location from your wrist and let them watch the drama unfold for themselves.

From a Messages conversation, Force Touch the display and tap 'Send Location'.

Flag an email for later

Even if you choose to have email notifications on your wrist, likely, you won't likely engage with them properly – and you can't compose replies. So, why not save the important ones for later?

To do so, use Force Touch on a message and tap Flag.

Choose mailboxes for notifications

Though you may want emails sent to your wrist, they might only be from a certain mailbox.

If you only want personal ones and don't want to be bombarded by work-related ones, head to the iPhone's Watch app.

From here, go to My Watch > Mail > Include Mail and select the mailboxes you want.

Understand Apple Watch turn-by-turn directions

If you're navigating a city using Apple Watch turn-by-turn walking directions then you don't even need to look at your smartwatch.

The Taptic Engine will direct you, albeit in a slightly bonkers way.

A left turn will be indicated by three sets of double 'taps'.

And a right one will be indicated by 12 taps. Yes, 12.

The first time we used the turn-by-turn we were confused by the sheer amount of tapping, so, hopefully, that adds some clarity.

How we test

James Stables


James is the co-founder of Wareable, and he has been a technology journalist for 15 years.

He started his career at Future Publishing, James became the features editor of T3 Magazine and T3.com and was a regular contributor to TechRadar – before leaving Future Publishing to found Wareable in 2014.

James has been at the helm of Wareable since 2014 and has become one of the leading experts in wearable technologies globally. He has reviewed, tested, and covered pretty much every wearable on the market, and is passionate about the evolving industry, and wearables helping people achieve healthier and happier lives.

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