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.

  • 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.
  • 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 7
Related Forum: Apple Watch

Top Rated Comments

jim001 Avatar
32 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)
Cmd-Z Avatar
32 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)
Abazigal Avatar
32 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)
Unity451 Avatar
32 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)
otozuz Avatar
32 months ago
Nice article and video. I wasn't aware of 2-3 tips!
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Swimrlad Avatar
32 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

m1x mac mini screen feature

High-End 'M1X' Mac Mini With New Design and Additional Ports Expected to Launch in the 'Next Several Months'

Sunday August 22, 2021 5:59 am PDT by
Apple can be expected to launch an updated high-end Mac mini with a new design and a faster "M1X" Apple silicon processor in the "next several months," Bloomberg's Mark Gurman reports. In the latest publication of his Power On newsletter, Gurman writes that a new high-end Mac mini, which has previously been reported to feature a new design with additional ports, can be expected to replace...
mac scanner permission error

Apple Says Fix Planned for 'You Do Not Have Permission to Open the Application' Error When Using a Scanner on Mac

Saturday August 14, 2021 6:15 am PDT by
In a newly published support document on its website, Apple has acknowledged an error that some users may receive when they try to use a scanner with a Mac in the Image Capture app, Preview app, or the Printers & Scanners section of System Preferences. A screenshot of the error message from the HP Support Community When attempting to use a scanner with a Mac, Apple said users might get an...
iCloud General Feature

iCloud+'s New Custom Email Domain Feature Now Available in Beta

Wednesday August 25, 2021 7:48 am PDT by
Starting with iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey, users with a paid iCloud+ storage plan can personalize their iCloud email address with a custom domain name, such as johnny@appleseed.com, and the feature is now available in beta. iCloud+ subscribers interested in setting up a custom email domain can visit the beta.icloud.com website, select "Account Settings" under their name, and select ...
original iphone

Phil Schiller Says iPhone Was 'Earth-Shattering' Ten Years Ago and Remains 'Unmatched' Today

Monday January 9, 2017 7:15 am PST by
To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the iPhone, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller sat down with tech journalist Steven Levy for a wide-ranging interview about the smartphone's past, present, and future. The report first reflects upon the iPhone's lack of support for third-party apps in its first year. The argument inside Apple was split between whether the iPhone should be a closed...
macbookpro13large

macOS Big Sur Update Bricking Some Older MacBook Pro Models

Sunday November 15, 2020 5:33 am PST by
A large number of late 2013 and mid 2014 13-inch MacBook Pro owners are reporting that the macOS Big Sur update is bricking their machines. A MacRumors forum thread contains a significant number of users reporting the issue, and similar problems are being reported across Reddit and the Apple Support Communities, suggesting the problem is widespread. Users are reporting that during the...
m1 imac orange

New iMac Tidbits: Headphone Jack on Side, Ethernet Port on Power Adapter, Spatial Audio and WiFi 6 Support, No SD Card Slot

Wednesday April 21, 2021 6:38 am PDT by
Apple yesterday announced a completely redesigned 24-inch iMac with the M1 Apple silicon chip. The new iMac, the first major redesign of the Mac desktop computer since 2012, has several changes compared to the previous generation. In the aftermath of the event, a few new features and tidbits may have slipped under the radar, so we’ve compiled this list of some of the less-talked-about...
General YouTube Feature 1

YouTube Premium and Music Surpass 50 Million Subscribers

Friday September 3, 2021 2:19 am PDT by
YouTube says it has passed 50 million subscribers for its Premium and Music subscriptions, making it the "fastest growing music subscription" service in the world, according to YouTube's global head of music, Lyor Cohen. YouTube says that it has more than 50 million paying subscribers collectively across YouTube Premium and YouTube Music. The Google-owned service says it attributes this...
Top Stories 75 Thumbnail

Top Stories: Last-Minute iPhone 13 Rumors, Apple Announces App Store Changes, and More

Saturday September 4, 2021 6:00 am PDT by
The finish line is in sight! Apple's annual iPhone event is likely just a week or so away and all eyes will be on the company as it unveils the next version of its most popular product line. With any luck, we'll also see the next-generation Apple Watch and perhaps even some new AirPods. Other news this week saw Apple making some more changes to its App Store policies in response to a...
omg lightning cable comparison

Security Researcher Develops Lightning Cable With Hidden Chip to Steal Passwords

Thursday September 2, 2021 6:59 am PDT by
A normal-looking Lightning cable that can used to steal data like passwords and send it to a hacker has been developed, Vice reports. The "OMG Cable" compared to Apple's Lightning to USB cable. The "OMG Cable" works exactly like a normal Lightning to USB cable and can log keystrokes from connected Mac keyboards, iPads, and iPhones, and then send this data to a bad actor who could be over a...
studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...