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How to get the most out of your Apple Watch

Lucie Spraggs's picture

So you've got a fancy new Apple Watch – congratulations. Now prepare to supercharge your experience with our list of essential Apple Watch features, hacks and tips.

The good news is that watchOS 6, Apple's latest smartwatch operating system, is one of the more comprehensive on the market. This makes for a steep learning curve, but there's a great amount of opportunity for customisation.

Ping your iPhone

Lose your iPhone? Good thing you have your Apple Watch on because it can help you find your handset in a pinch. Swipe up to bring up the Control Center, look for the 'Ping iPhone' button and tap to be reunited with your iPhone. If you tap and hold the 'Ping iPhone' button, your iPhone's LED flash will blink, giving you a visual guide in case the speaker gets too muffled.

Enable Fall Detection

Apple Watch - fall notification
 

Apple made a big deal about Fall Detection during the Series 4 unveiling, but the feature actually isn't turned on by default. When it is, the Watch is able to detect falls and offer automatic assistance.

However, unless you're above 65 years old, or you haven’t specified your age inside the Health app, taking a hard fall won't activate the new feature. To enable it no matter your age, head to the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, tap the My Watch tab, go through to Emergency SOS and toggle the Fall Detection option.

Apple itself indicates that physically active people are more likely to trigger false positives, but only you can decide whether the potentially incessant notifications are worth it.

Discreetly view the time

If you want to check in on the time without raising your wrist, you can slowly twist the digital crown upwards and it'll brighten up the screen gradually to let you peek in, rather than fully illuminating the watch screen.

Clear all notifications

Clear all notifications on your Apple watch
 

If you're overburdened by notifications, you can wipe your recent history by swiping down from the top of your screen to access a chronological list.

Once displayed, you can banish them all by long-pressing the screen then tapping Clear All.

Unpair your Apple Watch

It happens. Maybe you get a new iPhone or you decide to give your old Apple Watch to someone else because you've upgraded. You'll need to go through this process, which thankfully is pretty straightforward to do.

You'll need to go to the iPhone connected to your Watch. Head to the Watch app and open the My Watch tab, tap the 'I' on the screen and then hit Unpair Apple Watch.

You can also erase your data (if you want) by heading to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings on the device itself.

Use pictures as watch face

By default, the Apple Watch selects images from the Favorites folder on your iPhone – something we'd never thought to use before.

So go and tag some images in iOS using the heart button at the bottom. When you use the photo album watch face it will randomly select photos from the folder. You can tap the face to cycle through images.

Alternatively, you can now turn those photos into trippy designs with the kaleidoscope face. On your iPhone, you should now see a 'Create Watch Face' option in the action menu on any picture. This will let you stick a picture on your Watch either as is, or in kaleidoscope form.

Cover to dim

If your Watch is set to notify you or ring with sounds, but you're in the middle of a meeting or situation where loud dings are rude, you can turn on 'Cover to Mute' in the Sound & Haptics settings. Then simply cover your watch for three seconds for it take effect.

Use Theatre Mode

Have you ever sat in a dark cinema, moved your arm to get a little more comfortable and then seen a beacon go off on your wrist? That was your Apple Watch.

To avoid being a public nuisance in the cinema, just swipe up on the watch face and click the Greek theatre faces to enable Theater Mode, which will keep your Watch's display off during your film.

 

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