12 cool Apple Watch tips and tricks

So, you finally bit the bullet and bought an Apple Watch. Once you have it charged and set up on your wrist, there are a few things you should do with an Apple Watch right away to make sure it’s perfectly suited to you and your needs. But once you’re done with the basics, like choosing a watch face, adjusting the app layout, setting activity goals, and adding your friends, it’s time to explore more!

There are plenty of cool Apple Watch tips and tricks that even long-time owners might not know about. Some might seem like common knowledge, but you’d be surprised how many Apple Watch users’ jaws drop when they learn something new, then grin from ear to ear with the declaration, “I didn’t know it could do that.”

So, what are the coolest Apple Watch tips and tricks you maybe didn’t even know about?

Check and be notified of high noise levels

apple watch noise notifications feature

If you have ever been in a noisy environment and wondered just how bad it might be for your hearing, you can find out. The Apple Watch can provide guidance. The Noise app doesn’t just monitor your surroundings and calculate noise levels, it will also provide details about how long is considered safe for you to be exposed to noise at that level. It might be while attending a concert, in a crowded setting, or even watching TV or listening to music at home. You can set your desired noise level limits based on the information provided, then receive alerts whenever your surroundings exceed them. See our guide on how to monitor safe hearing levels with Apple Watch for the full details on how to set up and use the Noise app.

Split bills, calculate tips

apple watch tip feature

It can be awkward when you’re out for brunch with friends or dinner with colleagues, and the bill comes. Everyone scrambles for their phones so they can pull up the calculator app and figure out what the tip should be and then how much each person should put in. You can figure this out right from the Apple Watch. In the Calculator app, there’s a handy tip calculator that lets you input the bill amount and then select the percentage tip you want to add. Once that amount pops up, you can enter the number of paying diners to get an instant calculation of what each person owes. See our guide on how to calculate tips and split bills on Apple Watch to learn how to do this step-by-step.

Once you have that process down pat, go the extra mile with this feature and use Apple Wallet on your Apple Watch to pay for your portion right from your wrist. Use Apple Cash, and one person can pay the bill. Then, other Apple Watch owners instantly transfer their portions directly to that person.

Set a customized timer

apple watch set timer feature

Every smartwatch and fitness tracker has a timer, a simple feature you can use to time things like laps around a track, how long it takes your child to clean their room, or your half-hour lunch break. But when you want to put that frozen pizza in the oven and you know it’s too crispy in 20 minutes but undercooked at 15, and the timer is offered in five-minute intervals, what do you do? The Apple Watch not only has a built-in timer feature but also an option to set custom timers, and even name them. You can set a timer for exactly 18 minutes so your frozen pie comes out perfect every time. Or maybe you want to input and save a custom time down to a second while you’re trying to beat your time for a relay race or 5K run. Sure, the fitness tracking features have specific functions for timing workouts. But if you’re timing other things, like a turkey in the oven, a child’s screen time, or pay-per-hour work, custom timers are great. See our guide on how to set a timer on Apple Watch, including custom timers.

Access Apple Pay

pay from apple watch feature

Once you set up Apple Pay and Apple Pay Cash on your iPhone, did you know you can access it on your Apple Watch, too? You can open the Apple Wallet app icon, scroll through the available credit and debit cards, double-click the side button then turn the watch face to the contactless reader to pay. It’s a simple way to pay for items like groceries, coffee, events, transit tickets, and more without having to fish for your phone, or grab it from your pocket, unlock it, and open the app. It’s the fastest way you’ll ever pay for something. See our guide on how to use Apple Pay on your Apple Watch.

Use a water lock


One of the great things about Apple Watch is that it’s water-resistant, which means you can shower, wash dishes, run in the rain, do snow sports, or even swim with it on. In fact, it even has specific fitness tracking for swimming. To prevent a function from accidentally activating on the watch while you’re deep in your ninth lap in the pool, you can use the water lock feature. Activating the water lock will effectively disable the watch’s screen so it doesn’t think that drops of water are actually finger touches. What’s more, once you turn Water Lock off, it ejects water from inside the speaker to prevent damage. You should still wipe the Watch down with a cloth, though, to keep it nice and dry. Learn how to use water lock on your Apple Watch in our handy guide.

Remotely control your phone’s camera

apple watch control phone camera feature

The iPhone has an up to a 10-second timer, so you can set up a shot before the shutter engages to snap the photo. But sometimes, 10 seconds isn’t enough. Maybe everyone is getting into a specific pose, and the photo is being taken from a further distance, so it takes you close to 10 seconds to even run into the shot. This is where using your Apple Watch can come in handy. You can use the Watch to remotely control your iPhone’s camera. Get into frame, and when you’re ready to take the photo, press the Camera button. You then have three seconds after that to fix yourself into the right spot. You can even press and hold the Shutter button to record a video and use the Digital Crown as a remote zoom.

Take an ECG test, check blood oxygen

apple watch ecg 6

Not only can you take a quick ECG reading from your Apple Watch, but you can also check your blood oxygen levels. It’s a simple process that can help those with concerns about their heart health keep on top of signs of atrial fibrillation, i.e. an irregular heartbeat (without a reasonable cause, like that you just did a workout). With blood oxygen, you can see how efficiently oxygen is being carried through your red blood cells and to your lungs. This reading, also known as Sp02, is especially informative for those who suffer from breathing issues or sleep disorders like sleep apnea. See our detailed visual guide on how to check ECG and blood oxygen with Apple Watch to learn how to do this.

Make your iPhone flash

flash iphone from watch feature

Have you ever lost your iPhone between the couch cushions, or it’s fallen under the bed in the middle of the night? Maybe you’re camping in a tent and can’t find the phone in the dark. Whatever the reason, you can use your Apple Watch to flash the phone, so it can be easily located. It’s a matter of pressing and holding a single button, and voilà, your iPhone will light up like a disco ball. Read our guide on how to make your iPhone flash to learn the few steps.

Set a bedtime and wake-up alarm

apple watch sleep feature

Everyone knows the Apple Watch finally has a built-in sleep app that can monitor your sleep. This includes not only the time you went to bed and the time you woke up but also the overall duration of your sleep as well as sleep quality. You’ll see how much time (and when) you spent in light, deep, and REM sleep, as well as how often and for how long you were awake during the night.

But you can also set a bedtime and wake-up alarm right from the watch, so it will vibrate or sound a tone to help ease you out of bed in the morning and then remind you when it’s time to wind down at night. If you’re trying to stick to a consistent bedtime schedule and get more hours of sleep, this simple feature can help.

Learn all about the Sleep app on Apple Watch in our handy guide, including how to set a bedtime and wake-up alarm.

Initiate meditations, breathing exercises

apple watch meditation app feature

We all need time to de-stress and relax. While the Apple Watch is great for initiating and tracking high-intensity exercise and activity, you can conversely use it to help you calm down and de-stress as well. The Watch has a dedicated Mindfulness app with audio meditations, a one-minute reflection, and a one-minute breathing exercise.

You can also leverage Apple Fitness+ (with a subscription) for lower energy, calming exercises, like yoga, Tai Chi, and fishing as well as audio workouts you can listen to while you go out for a walk or run.

Log and track menstrual cycles

cycle tracking iphone feature

For women and couples, tracking a menstrual cycle is important. You may simply want to have an idea of when your cycle will start to prepare accordingly, or maybe you’re trying to get pregnant and want to keep on top of your fertility calendar. It’s also useful for logging symptoms to present to a medical doctor at the next visit. Whatever way you use the feature, the Apple Watch can log and track your menstrual cycle.

You first need to set up Cycle Tracking in the Health app on iPhone. But once this is ready, you can use the watch to check when your period is coming, what day you are in your cycle, log symptoms, and more.

Log medications

iphone log medications feature

If you have prescribed medications you need to take daily, weekly, or even as needed, you can keep track of what you need to take and when right from the Apple Watch. Once again, this needs to be set up in the Health app on iPhone first. But once that’s done, you’ll receive reminders on the Watch when it’s time to take a specific medication and can log that you took it (or skipped it) right from your wrist.

Keep in mind that in addition to doctor-prescribed or over-the-counter medications, you can also use this feature to log vitamins and supplements. Fitness enthusiasts could even get creative and set it up to log things like protein shakes and workout supplements.

There’s so much to explore with the Apple Watch, including both new models like the Apple Watch Ultra as well as older models. Indeed, most (if not all) of these features work with Apple Watches dating back several years. There’s a good reason the Apple Watch is considered one of the best smartwatches you can buy.

Have fun exploring!

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