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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.

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  • 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 Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 5, watchOS 6
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)


Top Rated Comments

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9 weeks 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.
Rating: 25 Votes
9 weeks 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.
Rating: 15 Votes
9 weeks 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.
Rating: 8 Votes
9 weeks 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
Rating: 6 Votes
9 weeks ago
Nice article and video. I wasn't aware of 2-3 tips!
Rating: 5 Votes
9 weeks 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
Rating: 4 Votes
9 weeks 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.


Finally!
I thought I was the only “nosy” one
Rating: 3 Votes
9 weeks ago
How do you get seconds on the Modular face? (Spoiler: you can't... for no good reason at all.)

The fact there's no face designer software is the biggest miss right now... I'm sure they're holding onto that for when they think they have nothing new.
Rating: 3 Votes
9 weeks ago
Apple UI designers are pushing for a new iMac without giant bezels :p

Rating: 3 Votes
9 weeks ago

Does anyone else have issues with the Mac unlock feature? It only works for me some of the time and I cannot pinpoint why or what the difference is in the situations.

Agreed, very flaky. It won’t work on the first ‘unlock’ of the day, and seems a bit hit and miss after that.
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I can't for the life of me get this to work! Trying with a Series 2 with an iPhone 7.

Works on my S2 watch and iPhone X.
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Flashlight then swipe it to the red light is great for poking around in the dark without waking your partner..!:)
[doublepost=1555531989][/doublepost]I just wish they'd bring time travel back. I miss so much the ability to scroll through my meetings by "time travelling" with the digital crown.. It was such a great feature.. I'm still on the series 2 because they removed this as i just don't rely on the watch as much to spend so much to upgrade. Please Apple. If you read this, bring it back? :)

In ‘Theatre’ mode Red is the default flashlight colour.
Rating: 2 Votes

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