Seven Useful Tips Every Apple Watch Owner Should Know

There are lots of hidden shortcuts and features that have gone under the radar in watchOS, the operating system that runs on the Apple Watch.

In our latest video over on YouTube, we've rounded up some Apple Watch tips and tricks that every Apple Watch owner should know. You may already be aware of some of these tips, but there's likely to be a few new things here for MacRumors readers.

Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.

  • Get to Control Center/Notifications Quickly - Swiping down on the Apple Watch's screen opens Notifications while swiping up opens up the Control Center, which everyone knows. But you can also quickly get to Control Center or your Notifications when using an app by pressing at the edge of the screen, holding for a second, and then dragging upwards or downwards.
  • Locate a Missing iPhone - In the Control Center, if you press on the icon that looks like an iPhone, it will cause your ‌iPhone‌ to play a sound so you can find it if it's gone missing. If you long press on the button, it will also light up the flash, making it even easier to find a misplaced ‌iPhone‌.
  • Use Apple Watch as a TV Remote - If you've lost your Apple TV Remote, no worries. The Apple Watch works as a replacement if you download the Apple TV Remote app on your ‌iPhone‌. It's easier than using an ‌iPhone‌ because the watch is always right on your wrist.
  • Change Your App Layout - App grids look pretty on the Apple Watch, but can make it difficult when you just want to get to an app quickly. If you long press on the Apple Watch Home screen with the grid view open, you can swap over to a list view that lists all of the apps on your Apple Watch in alphabetical order. Scroll through them with a swipe or with the Digital Crown to find what you're seeking.
  • Unlock Your Mac With Apple Watch - If you have a mid-2013 or newer Mac you can set your Apple Watch to unlock it automatically, which means you don't need to enter your password. It's super handy and can be enabled in your Mac's settings under Security & Privacy. The Apple Watch needs to be unlocked for this to work and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth need to be enabled, as does two-factor authentication. Apple has a full list of requirements here.
  • Scribble Predictive Text - The Scribble feature in Messages lets you spell out words on your Apple Watch, but it can be a hassle to write out long messages. If you spell out a few letters of a word, though, you can turn the Digital Crown to get some text predictions to speed things up.
  • Turn Off Audio Controls - When you play audio on your ‌iPhone‌, your Apple Watch defaults to offering up music controls front and center, which can be annoying if you want to do other things on your Apple Watch. You can turn off this feature in the Settings app by going to General > Wake Screen > and disabling "Auto-Launch Audio Apps."

Know of other useful Apple Watch tips that we didn't share in today's article? Let us know in the comments and we might include them in future tips and tricks coverage.

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Series 6
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Buy Now)

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
20 months ago
My favorite tip not listed there is that you can use your nose to interact with your watch when your hands are full/messy.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
20 months ago
My favorite, 'Flashlight' from Control Center has come in handy on more than one occasion when trying to unlock a door in a dark area.

2nd favorite is using the Camera remote while slipping the iPhone camera into a hard to reach area, allowing you to view things you couldn't otherwise see.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
20 months ago

Thanks MR, I really dislike the honeycomb mode. The list mode is much better.

Here’s how I arrange the apps on my Apple Watch. Takes a bit of time, but I found it worth it for me.

Basically, my 6 most commonly used apps in the middle. Communication apps on the right, exercise / fitness apps on the left, social apps on the top, and productivity apps on the bottom.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
20 months ago

My favorite tip not listed there is that you can use your nose to interact with your watch when your hands are full/messy.

Truth. #powerusertip
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
20 months ago
Nice article and video. I wasn't aware of 2-3 tips!
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
20 months ago
Is the feature to access control center in an app exclusive to watchos 5 and up? Can’t do it on my series 0
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple References Unreleased 2020 16-Inch MacBook Pro in Boot Camp Update

Monday October 26, 2020 8:42 am PDT by
Last week, Apple released an update for Boot Camp, its utility for running Windows on a Mac. While this update would typically be unremarkable, several of our readers noticed that the release notes reference an unreleased 2020 model of the 16-inch MacBook Pro. While this could easily be a mistake, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is nearly a year old, so it is certainly a worthy candidate for a...

MagSafe Charger Only Charges at Full 15W Speeds With Apple's 20W Power Adapter [Updated]

Monday October 26, 2020 3:38 pm PDT by
Alongside the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro models, Apple introduced a new MagSafe charger that attaches to the magnetic ring in the back of the devices, providing up to 15W of charging power, which is double the speed of the 7.5W Qi-based wireless charging maximum. Apple does not provide a power adapter with the $39 MagSafe charger, requiring users to supply their own USB-C compatible option. Apple...

Google Reportedly Pays Apple $8-12 Billion Per Year to be Default iOS Search Engine

Sunday October 25, 2020 2:59 pm PDT by
The United States Justice Department is targeting a lucrative deal between Apple and Google as part of one of the U.S. government's largest antitrust cases, reports The New York Times. On Tuesday, the Justice Department filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google, claiming the Mountain View-based company used anticompetitive and exclusionary practices in the search and advertising markets to ...

After Mocking Apple, Samsung May Remove Power Adapter From Galaxy S21 Box

Tuesday October 27, 2020 4:29 pm PDT by
Samsung's Galaxy S21, coming in 2021, may not include a power adapter or headphones in the box, according to reports from Korean media sites highlighted by SamMobile. Rumors earlier this year also said that Samsung was considering removing these accessories from future smartphone models, but that didn't stop Samsung from mocking Apple for selling the iPhone 12 models without a power adapter...

Report: Apple Silicon iMac Featuring Desktop Class 'A14T' Chip Coming First Half of 2021

Tuesday October 27, 2020 4:14 am PDT by
The first iMac powered by Apple Silicon is set to arrive in the first half of next year and will feature a desktop class "A14T" chip, according to Chinese-language newspaper The China Times. Codenamed "Mt. Jade," Apple's first custom-made desktop processor will be twinned with its first self-developed GPU, codenamed "Lifuka," both of which are being produced using TSMC's 5-nanometer process, ...

iPhone 12 Six-Foot Drop Test Results: Ceramic Shield More Durable But Not Damage Proof

Monday October 26, 2020 5:00 am PDT by
Apple's new iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro feature a new Ceramic Shield screen that Apple says offers 4x better drop performance. To test that claim, Allstate Protection Plans put the two models through a range of breakability tests and recorded the results. In a face down sidewalk drop test at six feet, the iPhone 12 suffered small cracks and scuffed corners and edges, leaving sharp grooves in ...

Bloomberg: New AirPods and AirPods Pro Coming in 2021, AirPods Studio Delayed, Third HomePod Model Also Possible

Monday October 26, 2020 3:34 am PDT by
Apple plans to update its AirPods line next year with two new models including third-generation AirPods and second-generation AirPods Pro, according to a new report from Bloomberg. The Cupertino, California-based technology giant is working on two new models: third-generation entry-level AirPods and the second version of the AirPods Pro earbuds, according to people familiar with the plans. ...

2020 iPad Air vs. iPad Pro: Hands-On Comparison

Tuesday October 27, 2020 3:03 pm PDT by
Apple announced the new 2020 fourth-generation iPad Air in September, but the new tablets just started shipping out to customers last Friday. We picked one up and thought we'd do a hands-on comparison with the iPad Pro, which was last updated in March, because both tablets are about as powerful and share many similarities. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Design and ...

iPhone 12 Ceramic Shield Still 'Scratches at Level 6 With Deeper Grooves at Level 7' in Mohs Hardness Test

Wednesday October 28, 2020 7:10 am PDT by
iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro models feature a new Ceramic Shield front cover that is "tougher than any smartphone glass," according to Apple, but the displays on the devices still have similar scratch resistance as previous iPhones based on a new test. Zack Nelson today shared his much-anticipated iPhone 12 Pro durability test on his YouTube channel JerryRigEverything, and based on the Mohs...

Apple Files Mystery 'Personal Computer' With Placeholder 'B2002' Name in Bluetooth Product Database

Tuesday October 27, 2020 12:36 pm PDT by
Last week, a listing appeared in the Bluetooth product database for an Apple product with a placeholder name "B2002" and a model number of "TBD." MacRumors was alerted to the listing by health and fitness tech website MyHealthyApple. The product is filed under the "personal computer" category, which Apple has used for previous Mac and iPad listings in the database, so it is hard to pinpoint...