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9 Tricks Every Apple Watch Wearer Should Know

New to wearing an Apple Watch? Here are some of the best features and tricks that'll get your Apple Watch working for you.

apple iwatch

Not every Apple Watch is the same — the Series 7 is the current best and most feature-packed Apple Watch there is, more-so than the SE and the Series 3 (and previous models that Apple no longer sells) — but no matter which Apple Watch you have, they all have a lot in common. They have the same basic design and run the same operating system (watchOS). So if you're new to wearing an Apple Watch, or a season vet looking for some quick tips, we've got you covered.

How to change the layout of your Apple Watch

apple watch grid layout

When you first set up your Apple Watch, the default layout for its Home screen is a honeycomb of apps. Apple calls it the Grid View and it looks pretty, but it can be very frustrating to use — especially for new users who don't know what each app looks like and does.

This is why we suggest switching the layout to List View, which gets rid of the honeycomb and replaces it with a list of apps (in alphabetical order) that are scrollable and easy find. You'll thank us later. Here's how:

  1. Find the Settings app on your Apple Watch.
  2. Select App View.
  3. Select List View.

    How to hide the third-party Apple Watch apps

    iphone iwatch settings

    Sometimes third-party apps you download on your iPhone also appear on your Apple Watch. These are apps like Bank of America (or whatever your bank app is), Nike Training and Google Maps, which you might never intend to open on your Apple Watch. Fortunately you can declutter them for your app list quite easily.

    1. Open the Watch app on your iPhone.
    2. Make sure you're in the "My Watch" tab.
    3. Scroll down to the "Installed on Apple Watch" section.
    4. Toggle off the third-party apps that you'll never use.

      How to mute Apple Watch notifications

      apple mute settings

      If you're new to wearing a smartwatch, it could be quite jarring how many push notifications your Apple Watch actually receives — most people don't like their wrist vibrating that much. This is why you want to manage which push notifications you get on your Apple Watch, just like on your iPhone, so that you only get notifications from apps you want to get notifications from.

      1. Open the Watch app on your iPhone.
      2. Select Notifications.
      3. Under the "Mirror my iPhone" list, toggle off the button next to the app you don't want notifications from.
      4. For the apps not in the "Mirror my iPhone" list, select a specific app and select "Notifications Off."

        How to make your Apple Watch a few minutes fast, on purpose

        iwatch settings to add time

        It's not uncommon for people to adjust the time of their watch — or any clock that they use — so that it runs fast. That way, they're always early or ahead of schedule. By default, your Apple Watch pulls the time from your iPhone (or the internet), but you can manually set it so that it runs fast.

        1. Open the Settings app on your Apple Watch.
        2. Select Clock.
        3. Tap the "+0 min" bar and spin the digital crown.
        4. Set the number of minutes ahead that you want the time to display.

          You're able to set your clock so that it runs up 59 minutes fast. It's important to note that this will not change the clock on your iPhone. It also won't factor in when you set alarms — those times will continue to be set for the "real" time.

          How to use your Apple Watch as an alarm clock

          iwatch nightstand mode

          You can easily turn you Apple Watch into a digital alarm clock by putting into Nightstand mode, which displays the date and time while charging at night. The catch is that your Apple Watch needs to be charging for Nightstand Mode to work properly.

          1. Open the Settings app on your Apple Watch.
          2. Select General.
          3. Select Nightstand Mode and toggle it on.

            With Nightstand Mode turned on, every time you connect the Apple Watch to power it will display the date and time. If you've set an alarm, it will also display your alarm.

            LEARN MORE

            How to download music on your Apple Watch from Apple Music or Spotify

            iwatch with apple music and spotify
            Left: Apple music, Right: Spotify

            For years, Apple Music was the only service that allowed you to download music on your Apple Watch for offline listening. That's recently changed, thankfully, and today you can do the same if you're a paying subscriber to Spotify too.

            If you subscribe to Apple Music:

            1. Make sure your Apple Watch is nearby and connected to powered.
            2. Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
            3. Make sure you're in the "My Watch" tab. Select Music.
            4. Find the playlist or album you want to download. Select "Add Music."

              If you subscribe to Spotify:

              1. Open the Spotify app on your Apple Watch.
              2. Find the music and podcasts you want to download.
              3. Select the playlist, album or podcast and press the three dots (…) and choose "Download to Apple Watch."

                How to use to turn on auto pause for workouts

                how to use to turn on auto pause for workouts

                If you use your Apple Watch for running or cycling workouts (a lot of people do), but you find your data is a little off because you're constantly stopping for things like traffic, you'll want to enable the auto pause feature. It will detect when you're not moving during a workout, pause the time and then start it again when you start moving again. This way you get more accurate metrics (like pace and splits) when running or cycling outdoors.

                1. Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
                2. Scroll down and select the Workout tab.
                3. Select Auto-Pause and toggle it on.

                  How to use your Apple Watch as a running light at night

                  how to use your apple watch as a running light at night

                  If you run on the road at night, it's important to wear reflective gear or even a bring a flash light (or torch) to make sure that cars can see you. If you wear Apple Watch, you can also use the flashlight app and make it flicker (or strobe) to make yourself more visible as well.

                  (The only problem with using the flashlight app is that if you touch your Apple Watch, either to change music or check your workout progress, the flagship will automatically turn off and you'll have to manually turn it back on. It's not a huge deal as the flashlight app is easily accessible through the Control Center, but it can be a little annoying to do mid-run.)

                  1. Swipe up on your Apple Watch to get to the Control Center.
                  2. Scroll down and select the flashlight app.
                  3. Swipe right to make your flashlight to flicker.

                    How to unlock your iPhone with Apple Watch

                    how to unlock your iphone with apple watch

                    The pandemic has caused a huge problem for iPhone owners, as Face ID doesn't work if you're wearing a mask. However, Apple created a work-around for people wearing an Apple Watch (running watchOS 7.4 or later) that allows them to unlock their iPhone via their Apple Watch. Here's how:

                    1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
                    2. Scroll down and select "Face ID & Passcode."
                    3. Type in your passcode when prompted.
                    4. Scroll down and toggle on "Unlock with Apple Watch."

                      Once turned on, when Face ID doesn't work you'll get a quick prompt on your Apple Watch and you'll then be able to quickly swipe up from the bottom of your iPhone screen to unlock it.

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