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August 11, 2017

These 30 essential Apple Watch tips and tricks will help you master it

by John_A

The Apple Watch is one of the most personal wearables on the planet. Aside from being the best selling smartwatch available, it features a host of unique communication methods, an attractive design, and a host of third-party apps. However, navigating and making use of its many features is easier said than done, and muting notifications and setting custom responses is only the beginning. How about using Apple Pay, setting your own pictures as your wallpaper, or transferring music? Below, we’ve compiled a list of Apple Watch tips for carrying out the aforementioned actions, as well as others.

Are you still using Apple’s first generation Apple Watch and want to upgrade? We reviewed the Apple Watch Series 2 to help you decide. 

How to switch and edit watch faces, use Control Center, Tapback, and more

How to switch between faces

Switching watch faces is as easy as switching between screens on your iPhone. Simply swipe left and right. Each watch face is different, so a good way to enhance the way you use the watch is to set up different faces to accomplish different tasks. When you swipe, make sure you start the swipe from the curved edge of the screen and not from the middle.

How to edit your watch face

To edit a watch face, press firmly on the screen, which Apple calls a Force Touch. Swipe through the host of options and tap Customize on the face you want to edit. Swipe again to select features, and then change them with the crown. If you don’t want to fiddle with complications on a small screen, however, you can use the Watch app on your iPhone to accomplish the same task. On the Watch app, you will find a Watch Face Gallery, where you can pick and create your own watch faces. There is a section called My Faces that shows all the faces you’ve picked, and this is where you can customize the faces, change the order of the faces, and remove them entirely. Once done, the changes will immediately sync with your Apple Watch.

How to get to Control Center

Yes, the Apple Watch has a control center, just like the iPhone. You can get to it by swiping up, just like on the iPhone. This is useful because it will grant you access to things such as airplane mode and Do Not Disturb mode, and allow you to switch the watch to vibrate. If you have an Apple Watch Series 2, you can also activate a feature that will eject water from the watch.

How to reply to messages with Scribble

A quick “OK” or “I’ll call you back” isn’t always enough. Thankfully, a new feature in WatchOS 3 lets you reply to a message by writing on the screen. When you reply to a message, choose Scribble and write each letter in the space provided. You will do this by writing with your finger, one letter at a time, one on top of each other. The software will read each letter and type the sentence on your behalf. The software will keep up with you, too, so you don’t need to wait for it to type the letter for you to move on to the next one. Just go ahead and keep writing what you want to write and the software will type it for you. It’s that simple.

How to Tapback in iMessage

One of the new features introduced with iOS 10 was the ability to tap on a message and quickly reply with a thumbs up or a heart. It works exactly the same way on the Apple Watch. Instead of replying with an “OK” or another word, you can acknowledge someone’s message by liking it or sending a heart. The Tapback emojis will pop up if you long press on a speech bubble, much in the same way they do in iOS.

How to access the application dock

In WatchOS 3, the side button below the crown activates the dock housing all of your favorite applications. It’s just like the dock in MacOS, or the taskbar on Windows, where you pin your most-used apps. The caveat here is that you can only pin 10 apps to your watch at any given time. If you tap the side button when using an app, it will show the last app you used, and it will ask you if you want to add it to your dock. If you already have 10, then you’ll need to replace one of your apps. You can also swipe up to remove an app from the dock, and you can do all of this with the Watch app on your iPhone if it’s easier for you.

How to set your pictures as wallpaper

Yes, the Apple Watch has some cool wallpapers, but sometimes you’ll want to use a picture of your own as the background. The question is, how? The process is surprisingly easy, but it requires you to take a few steps on your iPhone first. Go to Photos > Camera Roll, and after selecting a suitable picture, tap the heart icon to favorite it.

The iPhone syncs your favorite pictures with your Apple Watch. To set them as your wallpaper, press hard on the Apple Watch screen and slide through the option to find the Photo Album, or Photo option. Tap Customize, then use the Digital Crown to zoom in and out of the photos. If you’d rather sync another album, then go to the Apple Watch app on your phone, find Photos and Synced Album. Careful, though, there’s only so much storage space on the Watch.

How to use Time Travel

If you’re using a watch face with the calendar complication, such as Utility or Modular, then it’s possible to travel forward in time to check upcoming appointments, the weather, and certain notifications. Just a twist of the Digital Crown will activate the feature, which also works when you need to go back in time. To return to the present, just press the Digital Crown to exit Time Travel.

How to transfer music

Apple puts aside up to 2GB of the Apple Watch’s 8GB space for your pictures and music. Having room for some music comes in handy when you want to workout without your phone. First, you’ll need to sync some music with your Apple Watch, which is partially performed on your iPhone. It utilizes playlists from the Music app, so make sure you’ve got some ready, then launch the Apple Watch app.

Here, scroll down to the Music app menu, tap it, and then select Synced Playlist. Now, choose which playlist you’d like to sync with your Apple Watch. If you change your mind, select the None option at the bottom of the list. Once you’re back in the main Music menu, go ahead and check how much space you’ve allocated for playlists. The default is often 1GB, but you can adjust it if you want more. Keep in mind that if you want to play music directly from your watch, you need to pair it with some Bluetooth headphones.

How to pair a Bluetooth device

This tip applies to Bluetooth headphones, heart rate monitors, or any other compatible wireless device that works with Bluetooth. To connect the two, make sure the device is ready to pair, and go to Settings on the Apple Watch. Once there, tap Bluetooth and the Watch will begin to search for nearby devices. Select the accessory from the resulting list, and complete the setup using a passcode if one is required. To forget a device, tap the “i” in the list of Bluetooth devices under the Settings menu, and tap Forget.

How to use nightstand Mode

You may already know about this feature given it was heavily publicized after the release of WatchOS 2, but did you know it needs to be activated before it works? Nightstand mode showcases the Apple Watch’s display in landscape mode, so can see the time, date, and alarm settings when the watch is charging.

To activate the feature, launch Settings on your Watch, go to General, and toggle the switch beside Nightstand Mode. Keep in mind that, for Nightstand Mode to work, your Watch needs to be charging and placed on its side. The Digital Crown should be placed face up, as it’s used for activating snooze when the alarm sounds.

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