30+ Apple Watch Tips & Tricks to Make your Life Better

9 Min Read

Have you purchased a brand new Apple Watch or you have an Apple Watch but wants to get most of it? Here are the Best Apple Watch tips and tricks that will help you to get the most out of your Apple Watch in 2020.

Apple Watch

The smartwatch did not dramatically change the lives of people when compared to the personal computer or smartphone. However, the smartwatch has optimised how we use technology in everyday life. Here are 36 tips and tricks to use your Apple Watch effectively.

Apple Watch

General tips

1. Wake to your last-used app

By default, when you flick your wrist, Apple Watch will wake and show the time. If you’d instead rather it go back to whatever you were doing before it going to sleep, you can change that setting by heading over to Settings > General > Wake Screen.

Now, scroll down to the section On Screen Raise Show Last. The available options include While in Sessions, Within two Minutes of Last Use, Within one Hour of Last Use, and Always.

2. Make the on-screen text larger

With such a small accessory, sometimes you want the option for bigger text at your disposal. Apple has included this feature in its accessibility settings; to change the text on your Apple Watch, simply head over to Settings > Brightness & Text Size, and adjust as per your preference.

In addition, you can choose a specialty Big Text watch face if you want to see the time in large numerals.

3. Mute alerts with your palm

If the sounds on your Apple Watch are enabled, you can keep it from annoying the people around you with notification sounds: If it goes off in a place, you’d rather it not, you can cover the screen with your palm for about 3 seconds to instantly mute any new sounds. To enable this setting, you’ll need to launch the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, then head over to My Watch > Sounds & Haptics > Cover to Mute.

4. Hide watch apps

To hide third-party apps from showing up on your Apple Watch, launch the Apple Watch app on your iPhone and ensure you’re in the My Watch section. Now, scroll down to the section called Installed on Apple Watch. Tap the apps you wish to delete by toggling to the off position. Although you’ve removed their Watch interfaces, those apps will remain installed on your iPhone unless you delete them from that device, too.

Apple Watch

5. Quickly access Zoom and VoiceOver

Want to set up shortcut for Zoom or VoiceOver on your Apple Watch? You can turn on the triple-click Accessibility shortcut to automatically activate either Zoom mode or VoiceOver. To enable this setting, launch the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, then head over to My Watch > General > Accessibility > Accessibility Shortcut. From here, you can choose which you’d like to automatically activate on triple-click.

Siri can also turn VoiceOver on or off with a verbal command — simply ask your Watch.

6. Take a screenshot

Want to memorialize that Digital Touch drawing or Activity achievement? You can take a screenshot on your Apple Watch by quickly pressing both the side button and Digital Crown at the same time.

7. Force Apple Watch to restart

Is your Watch acting up? you can turn it off by pressing and holding the side button until the Power Off slider appears, then drag it across the screen. If your Watch is completely frozen, you can perform a force reboot by holding down both the side button and Digital Crown until the Apple logo appears.

At home

8. Unlock your Mac with your Apple Watch

You made the right choice when you bought the Macbook Pro WITHOUT the touch bar. Now you envy your friend because he can unlock his Macbook with Touch ID. Relax! You can unlock your Mac when you’re wearing your unlocked watch and very close to your Mac.

9. Set up timers for laundry or cooking

Every time you do the laundry or prepare a quick meal, you either completely forgot your clothes in the laundry or your pasta is well overcooked because you end up watching a Netflix episode or a ‘short’ youtube video. The good news is that you can set up a timer on your Apple Watch and enjoy your favourite Netflix series without worrying about your chore.
Tip: Ask Siri on your Apple watch to set up a timer and your Apple Watch will notify you when the timer is over.

10. Find your iPhone

So, you are in a hurry to leave home and you can’t find your iPhone. In the good old days, you had to grab your land-line or ask someone to dial your number. With your Apple Watch, you can quickly ping your iPhone from the control centre. And there you go!
Tip: Sometimes the echoed-ping is not enough to find your iPhone. Tap and hold the Find iPhone button on your Apple Watch to flash the iPhone’s LED while pinging.

11. Check the weather before leaving home

It’s always good to check the weather forecast before leaving home. Thanks to the Apple Watch, you can quickly check the weather before leaving home.
Tip: I find it very useful to have a watch face with the weather complication (Complication is simply a fancy name for a face widget).

While commuting or exercising

12. View your notifications

Reaching for your iPhone to check a notification while driving or cycling is a bit risky. However, checking the notification on your watch is a safe alternative.

Tip: Some apps such as Messages, Whatsapp, Slack and Messenger offers you the ability to reply directly from your watch. This option comes in handy when you want to reply with an emoji or dictate a reply with Siri.

13. Take phone calls

Sometimes, you hurry to your favorite shop before it closes. Once you leave home, your spouse wants something else but she can’t reach you on the phone because you are running to the shop. Taking calls on the go is another useful feature of the Apple Watch.

14. Track your activity and exercise

Have you ever found yourself hooked on a Netflix series (say Money Heist…) and end up watching the whole series in a weekend? Maybe, the Apple Watch will make you guilty and you go for a walk or run instead of spending the whole weekend inside.

Tip: Every week, your Apple Watch will suggest a Smart Move Goal. Take the opportunity to exercise as much as you can!

While shopping at a store

15. Tick off a shopping list at the supermarket

After spending long time preparing a shopping list and arriving at the grocery store, you realise that you forgot to bring your to-do list. Naturally, you bought more stuff than planned but you still forgot to buy the carrots and tomatoes. Listing your shopping items on the reminders app on your iPhone and tracking them on your Apple Watch is a great way to become a smart shopper.

Tip: If your better-half is an iOS user as well, share the reminders list with them and don’t worry about the to-do list on your paper anymore.

16. Scan your loyalty cards at checkout

It is a good idea to use loyalty cards to get more from your shopping. It can be cumbersome to keep track of all physical loyalty cards. Stocard wallet is a super handy Apple Watch app to store your loyalty card and scan them at checkout.

Tip: Don’t worry if you forgot your wallet when shopping. Check out the next tip!

17. Pay with Apple Pay

OK, so you scanned your loyalty card with your watch. Should you reach for your bank card to pay? Absolute NOT! The best function of the Apple Watch is Apple Pay because you don’t have to take out phone or card from your pocket.

Tip: If you forgot your iPhone, don’t worry. Your Apple Pay on your watch will work like a magic, you don’t have to be connected to the Internet.


18. Save custom watch faces

Besides customizing Apple’s default Watch faces by performing Force Touch on the Watch display, you can also save customized faces for future use. Simply force Touch on the Watch display once more, then swipe all the way to the left and tap the New button. From there, you can customize the new version of your watch face per your preference.

If you want to delete a custom watch face, simplyswipe up.

Apple Watch

19. Set your watch five minutes fast

Like being early for your appointments? You can manually set the watch face to show 5 minutes fast — it won’t affect your alarms, notifications, or clocks from other countries, but it’ll show Display the Watch face. Here’s how to do it: head over to Settings > Time > +0 min, then turn the Digital crown to advance the time ahead up to 59 minutes.

20. Turn off snooze for your alarms

Don’t trust yourself to wake up on time? You can easily disable the Snooze button on Apple Watch. To do so: head over to Alarm app on the device and tapp on the alarm time you’d like to change. Toggle so snooze isn’t an option.


21. Pre-compose custom Messages responses

It’s not possible to type directly on your Apple Watch, however, you can set up a few pre-composed responses through your iPhone that you can tap on during conversations to auto-send. Here is how to do it: Launch the Apple Watch app, then head over to My Watch > Messages > Default Replies. You can change this list and add/remove pre-composed responses any time you want.

22. Always send your dictated text as audio

When you reply to a message with your voice, your Apple Watch presents you with one of two choices: sending it as dictated text or sending your dictation as an audio clip. If you’d like your messages to always send as audio clips or always as dication, you can set up your preference by launching the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, then heading to My Watch > Messages > Audio Messages.

23. Share your location in Messages with Force Touch

Want to send your friend your current location while on the go? Within your Messages conversation, Force Touch the screen and tap Send Location.

24. Hold a call until you can find your iPhone

While answering phone calls on the Apple Watch is quite futuristic-feeling, it’s not always practical. If you receive a call on your Apple Watch that you want to answer, but your iPhone’s not in easy reach, and you don’t want to start it on your Watch, you can tap Answer on iPhone to place the call on hold until you can find your device. The caller will hear a short repeated sound until you can get to your iPhone.

25. Turn on Walkie-Talkie

You need to activate the Walkie-Talkie feature on Apple Watch to use it. Here is how to do it, head over to the Walkie-Talk app on the Apple Watch, and switch on the Available toggle. Otherwise, people won’t be able to reach you using the tool.


26. Clear all your notifications with Force Touch

Although you can swipe left to delete an individual notification from the Notifications screen, you can also delete all the notifications on your Apple Watch in a single tap. First, swipe down on your watch to reveal Notifications, then Force Touch the display to show the Clear All option.

27. Flag Mail messages with Force Touch

It’s not possible to compose a new email on the Apple Watch owing to its relative impracticability as an email machine, however, Apple makes it easy to flag messages you want to reply to later. Simply Force Touch on a mail message, then tap Flag.

28. Choose what mailboxes show up on your Watch

Don’t want to be bombarded with notifications and info from all your mailboxes? Well, you can choose specific mailboxes to show up on the Watch from the iPhone app. Here is how to do it: head over to My Watch > Mail > Include Mail.

29. Switch between Day and List views in Calendar

Sometimes you may want to see what your day looks like — but also view items in a list. Well, you can jump between Day and List views in the Calendar by using a Force Touch gesture on the Display while in the app.

30. Build your leaving time into your Calendar alerts

If there’s a location added to your event, you can easily create an alert to notify you when to leave that factors in driving or walking distance along with traffic. To do this, ensure the individual event has the Travel Time switch turned on; you can set up this on your iPhone by heading over to the Calendar app, tapping the event in question, and going to Edit > Travel Time.

31. Use the Taptic Engine when you’re getting directions

Your Apple Watch offers a variety of beeps, buzzes, and movements to capture your attention, but it doesn’t stop with notifications. You can also use the Taptic Engine to help navigate you around a city. When you’re getting directions via the Watch, you’ll get a series of taps when you have to make a turn.

For a left turn, you’ll receive a series of two taps, played three times: tap-tap — tap-tap — tap-tap.

For a right turn, you’ll receive a steady beat of 12 taps: tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap.

You’ll also receive a long vibration when you’re on your last leg of the journey, and when you arrive at your destination.

32. Stop directions with Force Touch

Want your Watch to stop navigating? Simply use the Force Touch gesture at any given point on the Maps app to cease directions.

33. Review your iPhone photos from your watch

The Camera app on your Apple Watch allows you to use it as a remote display and shutter for photos, but you can also quickly review any recent shots. As such, you can make sure you’ve gotten the perfect group shot before retrieving your iPhone.

34. Set a default city for your weather

The Weather app on your Apple Watch can check a variety of cities, including your immediate location. To change the default location, launch the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, then head over to My Watch > Weather > Default City.

Stay active

35. How’s your ECG?

On the fourth-generation Apple Watch, Apple has added the ability to check your ECG straight from your watch. Here is how: tap on the ECG app on your watch, then hold your finger on the digital crown for 30 seconds while electrical signals are measured.

36. Concentrate

Lastly, you can use the Breathe app on your Apple Watch to relax. In the app, use the Digital Crown to set how many minutes of breaths you would like to keep track. Next, tap on the Start button and relax.

Bonus tip: Post-Corona

Board a flight with your watch

Many people like traveling but they hate the security and boarding drills. Yet, they flock to the check-in line with a printed boarding pass as soon as boarding is open. The good news is that the Apple Watch makes the airport drills a bit pleasant as you can pass through security and board the plane with just your watch. Sounds good, right?
Need more tips? Try our guide to
amazing iPhone tips and tricks
And that covers everything about Apple Watch tips and tricks 2020. Have we missed some Apple Watch tips and tricks here? let us know in the comments section below.

Share This Article
GeeksModo Staff is a team of iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch experts led by Moses Johnson. We're passionate about all things Apple!
Leave a comment