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12 lesser-known Apple Watch features you should start using

Macworld | May 23, 2019

Some of the Apple Watch’s best features and most useful controls are not obvious to the casual user

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The Apple Watch can do so much. It’s no wonder it’s now the most popular watch in the world.

But many of the most useful features and controls for your Apple Watch are, not exactly hidden, but hard to discover.

So here we go, rapid-fire, a DOZEN helpful tips for using your Apple Watch.


First, screenshots. You take a screenshot by holding down the side button and clicking the digital crown. Pressing both at once usually works fine.

You’ll have to enable this first in the Watch app on your iPhone. Look for the toggle in the General section.

Number 2, change the app list from the hexagonal grid to a list view. Just force-press on the app grid, and you’ll get an option to display it as a grid or a list. I find the list a lot easier to manage.

Number 3 is just for the Apple Watch Series 4 or newer. They have a really great fall detection feature, but it’s only on by default if you’re 65 or older. To enable it for any age, go to the Watch app on your iPhone, and look in the Emergency SOS section.

Four, covering and muting the display. Just cover your watch with your palm for a second to quickly turn off the display. When you get a notification, you can mute your watch by holding your palm over it for three seconds, until you feel a buzz.

Five, send an incoming call straight to voicemail by double-tapping the side button.

Speaking of calls, tip number six lets you answer a call on your iPhone. Swipe up on the incoming call screen, and choose Answer on iPhone. Your iPhone will answer but place the call on hold until you can go pick it up.

Tip number seven: You can quickly hop between your current app (or watch face) and the last app you had open by double-tapping the digital crown. It’s just like double-tapping the home button on an iPhone.

Eight: If you have a lot of notifications, you don’t have to swipe them away one at a time. Just force-press the notifications list, and you’ll see a Clear All option.

Nine: You can send a map with your location on it in a in a text message. With the message thread open, force-touch the screen and tap Send Location.

Tip number 10: If you’re having trouble reading your tiny watch screen, here are a couple options to help you out. In the Watch app on your iPhone, go to General, then Accessibility. You’ll see an option for Bold Text. There’s also a Zoom option you can enable. To use zoom, double-tap your watch using two fingers to zoom in and out, and use two fingers to pan around.

Can’t find your phone? Tip number 11 is to swipe up on your watch to show the control center, and tap the “Ping iPhone” button to make your phone emit a loud sound. And if you hold down this button, your iPhone will flash, so you can find it in the dark.

And finally, our last tip: You know all those stats that show when you’re doing a workout? Well, you can customize those for each individual type of workout.

Open the Watch app on your iPhone, tap on Workout, then Workout View. You’ll see a list of workouts. Tap one, then tap the Edit button in the upper right to change it up.

Obviously, there’s so much more your Apple Watch can do. But hopefully these tips will get you to start using yours in a way that you never knew you could.
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