31 Apple Watch tips and tricks you should know (2024)

31 Apple Watch tips and tricks you should know (1)

Jump to:

  • What you'll need
  • Display tips and tricks
  • Timekeeping tips and tricks
  • Communication tips and tricks
  • Productivity tips and tricks
  • Application tips and tricks
  • Activity tips and tricks

Apple Watch tips and tricks are the best way to get the most out of Apple's iconic wearables line. Whether you are a Watch beginner or a timekeeping expert, there are tips and tricks out there to make your little device just a tad more efficient.

watchOS 10 made a significant amount of changes to the formatting of the software, how some buttons work, and a few shortcuts so now is the perfect time to brush up on your knowledge once you have upgraded to watchOS 10.

The thing about Apple Watches is they are such impressive devices that some of their best features can be spotted without a good eye. If you want to get a little more out of it, here are Apple Watch tips and tricks you should know.

What you'll need

These Apple Watch tips and tricks are awesome but you might want to pick yourself up one of the newer models to make the most of watchOS 10. Here are our favorites:

31 Apple Watch tips and tricks you should know (2)

Apple Watch SE | $249 at Apple

The Apple Watch SE is the most affordable Apple Watch, and it's fantastic for anyone wanting to try a smartwatch without breaking the bank.

31 Apple Watch tips and tricks you should know (3)

Apple Watch Series 9 | $399 at Apple

The Series 9 with GPS is a great Apple Watch, filled with all the features you could possibly want. If you're looking for the best bang for your buck, this is it.

Apple Watch tips and tricks: Display

1. Return to Clock

If you have an app that you would like to display as soon as you hold your wrist up, it doesn't always have to show you your clock. Regardless of if you have an always-on display or not, you can change the app on screen by clicking Settings > General > Return to Clock

From here, scroll down to the section On Screen Raise Show Last. Choices include While in Sessions, Within 2 Minutes of Last Use, Within 1 Hour of Last Use, and Always.

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2. Make the on-screen text larger

If you'd prefer larger text on your relatively tiny device, Apple has made the accessibility setting. Go to Settings > Display & Brightness, and adjust to your liking.

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You can also choose a specialty Big Text watch face if all you're interested in is seeing the time in large numerals.

3. Mute alerts with your palm

If you have sound enabled on the Watch, you can keep it from annoying the outside world with notification sounds.

If it goes off in a place you'd rather it didn't, you can cover the display with your hand for three seconds or more to instantly mute any new sounds. To enable the setting, you'll need to visit the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, then go to My Watch > Gestures > Cover to Mute.

4. Hide watch apps

If you don't want all third-party apps to be visible on your Apple Watch, go into the Apple Watch app on your iPhone and make sure you're in the My Watch section. Scroll down to the section called Installed on Apple Watch. Tap the apps you want to delete and toggle them to the off position. Even though you've removed their Watch interfaces, these apps will remain installed on your iPhone unless you delete them from that device too.

31 Apple Watch tips and tricks you should know (6)

5. Find your iPhone with your Watch

Can't find your iPhone? Fortunately, the Apple Watch can help you track it down. On your Apple Watch, tap the side button. From here, tap the Ping iPhone button in blue to have it make a noise so you can discover it easily. It's even easier to find your iPhone with Apple Watch in watchOS 10.

31 Apple Watch tips and tricks you should know (7)

6. Quickly access Zoom and VoiceOver

If Zoom or VoiceOver are essential features on your iPhone, you can easily make them available on your Apple Watch. Turn on the triple-click Accessibility shortcut to automatically activate either Zoom mode or VoiceOver. To do so, go to the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, then tap My Watch > Accessibility > Accessibility Shortcut. From here, you can choose which you'd like to activate on triple-click automatically.

Siri can also turn VoiceOver on or off with a verbal command — ask your Watch.

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7. Take a screenshot

Want to take a screenshot of your Activity achievement or simply a fun drawing you've concocted on Digital Touch? Simply take a screenshot by quickly and simultaneously pressing both the side button and Digital Crown.

8. Force Apple Watch to restart

If your Watch is misbehaving, you can turn it off by pressing and holding the side button until you see the emergency commands. Tap the power button in the right hand corner then slide the Power Off toggle. For a Watch that's entirely frozen, perform a force reboot by holding both the side button and Digital Crown for at least ten seconds until you see the Apple logo.

Apple Watch tips and tricks: Timekeeping

9. Save custom watch faces

Not only can you customize Apple's default Watch faces by using Force Touch on the Watch display, but you can also save customized faces for future use. If that's your intention, Force Touch on the Watch display once more, then swipe all the way to the left and tap the New button. You can now customise the new version of your watch face just how you like it.

To delete a custom watch face, swipe up.

31 Apple Watch tips and tricks you should know (9)

10. Set your watch five minutes fast

If you're a fan of being early for all your appointments and meetings, you can make that possible with your Apple Watch. Like being early for your appointments? Manually set the watch face to display five minutes fast (or more) and it won't even affect your alarms, notifications, or clocks from other countries. It just shows on your Watch face. To do this, go to Settings > Clock > +0 min, then turn the Digital crown to advance the time ahead up to 59 minutes.

11. Turn off snooze for your alarms

If you don't trust yourself to wake up on time, you can disable the snooze button to force you to get up. Go into the Alarm app on the device and tap on the alarm time you'd like to change. Toggle the snooze option so you have no choice but to get moving.

31 Apple Watch tips and tricks you should know (10)

Apple watch tips and tricks: Communication

12. Pre-compose custom Messages responses

It's not possible to directly type on most Apple Watches, but you can set up a few pre-composed responses via your iPhone that you can tap on during conversations to auto-send. To do so, head to the Apple Watch app, then go to My Watch > Messages > Default Replies. You can change the list and add/remove pre-composed responses at any time.

31 Apple Watch tips and tricks you should know (11)

Want to send your friend your current location while you're out and about? From your Messages conversation, tap the App Store button and tap the green Share Location button to share your location or request it from the other person in the chat.

14. Hold a call until you can find your iPhone

While taking phone calls on the Apple Watch is pretty futuristic-feeling, it's not always practical. If you get a call on your Watch that you want to pick up, but your phone's not in easy reach, and you don't want to start it on your Watch, you can tap Answer on iPhone to place the call on hold until you can find your device. On the other end, the person will hear a repeated sound until you can get to your iPhone.

15. Turn on Walkie-Talkie

The Walkie-Talkie feature lets you talk to others with Apple Watches but you'll need to activate it. Go to the Walkie-Talkie app on your Watch and toggle Available to on. Otherwise, people won't be able to reach you using the tool.

Apple watch tips and tricks: Productivity

16. Clear all your notifications with Force Touch

It's possible to swipe left to delete an individual notification from the Notifications screen, but what's simpler is to get rid of all your notification alerts in one tap. First, swipe down from the display to access Notifications, then Force Touch the display to bring up the Clear All option.

17. Flag Mail messages with Force Touch

There's no way to compose a new email on the Watch owing to its relative impracticability as an email machine. If you're planning ahead though, you can flag messages you want to reply to later with ease. Swipe to the right to bring up the flag then tap it to make sure you're reminded to read it 'properly' on the big screen later.

18. Choose what mailboxes show up on your Watch

If you don't want to be inundated with notifications and info from all your mailboxes, you can make adjustments. Choose specific mailboxes to show up on the Watch from the iPhone app. Just go to My Watch > Mail > Include Mail.

31 Apple Watch tips and tricks you should know (12)

19. Switch between Day and List views in Calendar

Want to see what your day looks like — but also view items in a list? You can switch between Day and List views in the Calendar by using a Force Touch gesture on the screen while in the app.

20. Build your leaving time into your Calendar alerts

If a location has been added to your calendar event, you can get an alert that tells you when to leave based on driving or walking distance, tied into expected traffic. To do so, make sure the individual event has the Travel Time switch enabled. This is done on your iPhone by going to the Calendar app, then tapping the event in question, and going to Edit > Travel Time.

21. Set up gestures

If you can't easily access your Apple Watch because it's under your coat or your arms are busy and hands full, set up a gesture. Go to the Watch app on your iPhone, then tap My Watch > Gestures and toggle Double Tap on. Tapping Double Tap allows you to pick what actions are performed on your Watch when tapping your index finger and thumb together.

Apple watch tips and tricks: Apps

22. Use the Taptic Engine when you're getting directions

Your Apple Watch offers various beeps, buzzes, and movements to get your attention, but it doesn't stop with notifications. You can also use the Taptic Engine to help navigate you around a city. When getting directions via the Watch, you'll feel a series of taps when you need to make a turn.

For a left turn, you'll get a series of two taps, played three times: tap-tap — tap-tap — tap-tap.

For a right turn, you'll get a steady beat of 12 taps: tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap.

You'll also get a long vibration when you're on the last leg of your journey and when you arrive at your destination.

23. Stop directions with Force Touch

Want your Watch to stop navigating? Use a Force Touch gesture at any point on the Maps app to stop receiving directions.

24. Review your iPhone photos from your watch

The Camera app on your Watch allows you to use it as a remote display and shutter for photos. You can also use it to quickly review any recent shots to check they're up to scratch. It's perfect for checking you got the ideal group shot before sending everyone on their way and grabbing your iPhone.

25. Set a default city for your weather

It's possible to use the Weather app on your Watch to check a number of cities, including your current location. If you need to change the default location, go to the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, then tap My Watch > Weather > Default City.

Apple watch tips and tricks: Activity

26. Close your rings

The Exercise app and exercise rings system is a great motivator when going about your day. To find out more about how you're doing and what you may need to work on, don't forget to tap the Exercise app once in a while throughout the day to see what to focus on next.

27. How's your ECG?

Since the fourth-generation Apple Watch, you can now check your ECG from your wearable device. To do so, tap on the ECG app on your watch, then hold your finger on the digital crown to see what your heart rate is.

28. Concentrate

The Mindfulness app is a great way to give you a moment's calm and encourage you to relax for a moment. Pick a short exercise to take a moment to rest and relax.

29. Send your favorite watch face

Since watchOS 7, it's been possible to share watch faces with friends. If you want to, Force Touch on the Watch display, then select the face you wish to share. Tap the New Message icon to send your face and show off your creation.

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30. Change your strap

Apple makes it very simple to remove and install new straps on your Watch. To do so, hold down one of the two band release buttons on the back of the Watch. From there, slide the band across to remove it, then slide the new bands in with ease. The method works for all types of Apple Watch so you'll soon master how to do it within moments.

31. Pairing problems

If you're looking to unpair your Apple Watch, you simply have to open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, go to 'My Watch', hit 'info', and click unpair. If you have come across a problem you can't fix, this is a great way of solving it.

Once you have unpaired your Apple Watch, you are going to want to pair your Apple Watch again. To do that, pop the Apple Watch on your wrist, hold it close to your iPhone, and let your iPhone pick it up. From here, you should be able to link to your Apple ID, make a passcode, and customize it.

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Bryan M Wolfe

Staff Writer

Bryan M. Wolfe has written about technology for over a decade on various websites, including TechRadar, AppAdvice, and many more. Before this, he worked in the technology field across different industries, including healthcare and education. He’s currently iMore’s lead on all things Mac and macOS, although he also loves covering iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Bryan enjoys watching his favorite sports teams, traveling, and driving around his teenage daughter to her latest stage show, audition, or school event in his spare time. He also keeps busy walking his black and white co*cker spaniel, Izzy, and trying new coffees and liquid grapes.

With contributions from

  • James Bentley
  • John-Anthony DisottoHow To Editor

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    31 Apple Watch tips and tricks you should know (2024)


    How do I get the best out of my Apple Watch? ›

    You can further improve its accuracy by using these tips.
    1. Keep your personal information up to date. ...
    2. Make sure you earn Move and Exercise credit. ...
    3. Make sure Wrist Detection is turned on. ...
    4. Check the fit. ...
    5. Get the most accurate heart rate measurement. ...
    6. Choose the best workout. ...
    7. Calibrate your Apple Watch.

    What are the best things you can do with an Apple Watch? ›

    If your Apple Watch is connected to Wi-Fi or cellular
    • Make and answer phone calls. Send and receive messages. ...
    • Check the weather. Track your stocks. ...
    • Find your friends, devices, and items. ...
    • Use Walkie-Talkie. ...
    • Send and read email. ...
    • Track your workouts. ...
    • Display photos from synced photo albums. ...
    • Check your heart rate.
    Apr 24, 2024

    What should be your first Apple Watch? ›

    We recommend the Apple Watch SE for younger people and first-time smartwatch buyers. If you're upgrading from an earlier Apple Watch, you want an always-on display, or you want more advanced health tracking, you should consider the Series 9.

    Are you supposed to sleep with your Apple Watch on? ›

    With the Sleep app on Apple Watch, you can create sleep schedules to help you meet your sleep goals. Wear your watch to bed, and Apple Watch can estimate the time you spent in each sleep stage—REM, Core, and Deep—as well as when you might have woken up.

    Can you shower with an Apple Watch? ›

    The following can affect the water resistance of your Apple Watch and should be avoided: Dropping Apple Watch or subjecting it to other impacts. Exposing Apple Watch to soap or soapy water (for example, while showering or bathing)

    Does the Apple Watch have a camera? ›

    No, the device does not have a camera. However, there is a Camera app on the device. You can set your iPhone's camera timer for a photo using the app on your Watch.

    What is the 20 20 20 rule on Apple Watch? ›

    To prevent digital eye strain, follow the “20-20-20” rule: every 20 minutes, look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Using artificial tears and a humidifier indoors can also help. For extra support, consider free apps like F. lux (iOS) or Screen Shader to adjust your display's color temperature.

    What is the number 1 Apple Watch? ›

    The best Apple Watch for everyone else

    The Apple Watch Series 9 is the quintessential all-rounder: not as high-powered and pricey as the Ultra 2, but better build quality than the SE. Apple's flagship wearable has never been better.

    What hand should I wear my Apple Watch on? ›

    Just make sure your watch strap fits snugly. However, with all of that said, technically speaking, you should wear your watch on your non-dominant hand. That is to say, wear it on whatever hand you do not write with.

    Are there any side effects to wearing an Apple Watch? ›

    Apple Watch and its bands are designed so that parts containing acrylates and methacrylates are not in direct contact with your skin. Another potential cause of discomfort is wearing your Apple Watch too tightly or loosely. An overly tight band can cause skin irritation. A band that's too loose can cause rubbing.

    Can an Apple Watch detect sleep apnea? ›

    The Takeaway. The new Apple Watch won't be able to diagnose sleep apnea. However, it may be able to detect sleep apnea symptoms, alerting you to contact your doctor for further testing. From there, an in-lab sleep study or home sleep test will be required to diagnose sleep apnea accurately.

    How do I get the most out of my Apple Watch exercise? ›

    Choose the best workout

    When you use the Workout app, choose the option that best matches what you're doing. For example, if you're running on a treadmill, choose Indoor Run. If you're doing a workout that isn't listed, tap Add Workout and choose the workout that best matches the activity you're doing.

    How do I clean up my Apple Watch? ›

    Clean and dry your Apple Watch
    1. Turn off your Apple Watch and remove it from the charger.
    2. If you have a leather band, remove it from your Apple Watch.
    3. Wipe your Apple Watch clean with a nonabrasive, lint-free cloth. ...
    4. Dry your Apple Watch with a nonabrasive, lint-free cloth, including the surface of the back crystal.

    What is the best way to wear the Apple Watch? ›

    For best results, the back of your Apple Watch needs skin contact for features like Wrist Detect, the Taptic Engine, and the electrical and optical heart sensors. To maximize skin contact with the sensors, wear your Apple Watch above the wrist bone (towards your elbow, not your hand).

    How do I declutter my Apple Watch? ›

    Organize apps on Apple Watch
    1. On your Apple Watch, press the Digital Crown to go to the Home Screen. If the screen is in list view, swipe to the bottom of the screen, then tap Grid View. ...
    2. Touch and hold an app, then drag the app to a new location.
    3. Press the Digital Crown when you're done.


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