The budget-conscious Apple Watch SE. Photo (Photo: Apple, Inc)
Whether you’ve been an Apple Watch wearer for several years or just unwrapped one, chances are you stick to the features you know.
You’re not alone.
In fact, this is common with all our tech, as it’s estimated we only use about 10% of what our devices are capable of. And so we aim to fill in the blanks in this column.
An Apple Watch is an extraordinary tool, but it can do so much more than show your steps, remind you of an upcoming appointment, and, yes, even tell time!
The following are a few tips, tricks and shortcuts to help you get the most of your smartwatch – regardless of which model you own.
1. Immediately mute Apple Watch
In an important business meeting? At the movies? If you don’t want your Apple Watch to chime loudly, simply swipe up from the bottom of your Apple Watch when on your main clock face. This will open the Control Center. Tap on the icon that looks like a bell. This will turn your watch into Silent Mode. You will still receive haptic notifications (slight vibrations on your wrist).
Even better, Apple introduced a “Cover to Mute” feature. Simply hold your hand over the watch face for three seconds to enter Silent Mode.
To enable this feature, open the Apple Watch app on your paired iPhone, tap My Watch, followed by Sounds & Haptics. Enable “Cover to Mute” (so the slider button is green).
2. Take a screenshot on Apple Watch
I once saw a jogger panting on a park bench, who then took out his iPhone and snapped a picture of his Apple Watch. A little embarrassed, he told me he wanted to share his exercise goal with a friend.
I politely suggested a better way: to take a screenshot on Apple Watch itself, which is faster and with better quality, and also easy to share with others.
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All you need to do is press both the Digital Crown and the side button at the same time. You’ll hear the familiar camera shutter sound effect and see a flash of white. The screenshot will be automatically saved to your Photos album on your paired iPhone.
You first need to allow for Apple Watch screenshots, though, but you only need to do this once. To do so, open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, tap General, and then scroll down to toggle Enable Screenshots (so that you see the green tab).
3. Make the on-screen text larger
Even with good eyesight, it could be tough seeing tiny text on a small smartwatch.
Apple Watch owners may not know there is a pretty easy fix – and it takes about 10 seconds.
On the Apple Watch home screen, tap the Settings icon (the grey gear), and scroll down to where it says Display & Brightness. Tap it and you’ll see Text Size as an option. Once you select this, tap the larger or smaller icon until you end up on a font size that’s comfortable for you.
While you’re at it, enable the Bold text option here, too.
And on a related note, one of your digital watch face options is aptly called X-Large, which you might enable, as well.
4. Quickly access the last app you used
Over the years, Apple has added several handy Apple Watch apps for us to use, all of which are littered on the home screen. As a result, it could take a while to find the app you want to use, represented by a small circular icon, since you likely need to move the home screen around with your finger to locate one app in particular.
But did you know there’s a super fast way to open the last app you used on Apple Watch? In fact, there are two ways.
One, is to simply double-press on your Apple Watch’s Digital Crown and it will open the last app you were using!
Alternatively, raise your wrist and tell Siri to open a specific app.
5. Use Apple Watch to find your iPhone
We all know how easy it is to misplace an iPhone around your home. Instead of wasting your time by searching room by room, simply use your trusty Apple Watch to make your iPhone ring and flash. (Photo: Screenshot)
If you can’t find your iPhone – perhaps it slipped between the sofa cushions while you binge-watched a new TV show – your trusty Apple Watch can help you locate it.
All you need to do is swipe up from the bottom of your main clock face to open the Control Center. Here, you’ll see the “Ping” icon, which looks like an iPhone ringing. Tapping this prompts your iPhone emit a noise, in order for you to track it down.
Pro tip: If you’re in the dark, touch and hold the Ping iPhone button on your Apple Watch for a few seconds, and iPhone will flash, as well!
If your iPhone isn’t in range of your Apple Watch, you’ll need to go to iCloud.com and try using the Find My feature.
If you have your iPhone, but can’t find your Apple Watch, open the Find My app on your iPhone, then tap Devices, and select your Apple Watch from the list. From here you can select to play a sound on your watch, see it on a map, mark it as lost, or erase the contents of it.
Marc Saltzman is the author of Apple Watch For Dummies 4th Edition (Wiley). Follow Marc on Twitter: @marc_saltzman. Subscribe to his Tech It Out podcast here.
The views and opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY.
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