This week I took a look at iOS 17 – now it’s time to focus on the best bits in the new watch OS
Finally, Apple Watch has been shown some love.
After years of pretty much seemingly standing still watchOS this year has had some meaningful updates that make using the Apple Watch quicker, easier and more intuitive.
I have been wearing an Apple Watch now for exactly one year as I bought mine right after last September’s iPhone event. It was a slow burner and took me some time to get to fully understand the benefits, but now, I wouldn’t want to be without it.
Having spent the past few days getting used to the latest OS I thought it might help you if I highlighted some of my favourite features that I’ve come across so far.
Smart Stacks for Apple Watch
This is one of those features that makes more sense once you get to use it.
Smart Stacks makes choosing the apps you want to use much quicker and it makes more use of the watch’s available space. To get to it, swipe up or twist the crown. First, you’ll be greeted with the date & time at the top of the screen and after that a cascade of widgets in a card style and even a button at the bottom of the screen to show all apps.
To scroll through the apps you can either use your finger to swipe or use the digital crown if you prefer. The Activities App gives a good example of how Apple has cleaned things up this year.
When you select that from the Smart Stacks, you’ll notice there are now complications in the corners. When you tap the icon you can take a quick overview of your rings or by turning the crown instead, you can get a more detailed look at your Move, Exercise and Stand goals.
Likewise, the Weather app is now a useful app to use. Again initially it simply gives you an easy-to-read overview but by tapping the icon in the top right-hand corner, you can drill down on specific details – temperature, conditions, precipitation and so on.
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If you scroll all the way to the bottom of the Stacks, just above the All Apps option, you’ll notice a set of three icons – this is another shortcut to get to your favourite apps quickly – but that too is editable.
Long press on any of those icons and then you’ll be able to delete them as you wish and add the ones that suit you better.
Pinning & adding Apps
WatchOS 10 comes pre-loaded with the widgets & apps Apple thinks you’ll want the most.
To tailor the experience though, when in the Smart Stack mode just long press on the screen. A plus sign will come up and by tapping that you can add widgets that you want. To pin one of those to the top of the stack just press the yellow pin icon to the left of any of the cards. You can add up to eight of your own widgets.
In watchOS 10 to get to the newly laid out App Grid all you have to do is press and release the Digital Crown. The layout is much cleaner in this version of watchOS and nowhere near as daunting. You can of course still use the list view if you prefer that style.
Whilst in the App grid if you double press the crown that will show you in a cascade style the apps you currently have open in the background. To close those down just swipe to the left and tap the large cross to close down any apps you aren’t using.
Control Centre is now re-mapped to the side button.
New Apple Watch Faces
A huge emphasis has been placed on livening up the watch faces this year with pretty much something for everyone. WatchOS 10 shipped with even more faces than Apple had originally promised.
Headlining these new faces is the collection featuring Snoopy & Woodstock which alone has over a hundred animations. The characters interact with one another and play with the watch’s hands. They react to weather conditions and even react if you start a workout.
The Palette face shows time in a vast array of colours – as the time changes so to does the display. Other new faces include Solar Analogue, Nike Globe and for Watch Ultra users a Modular Ultra face too.
To add new faces long press your current watch face, swipe left and tap new.
Ping Apple Watch
As you probably know, from the Control Centre on your watch you can ping your iPhone if you’ve misplaced it. Did you know, you can also do it the other way around though?
On your iPhone go to Settings > Control Centre > More Controls and add the Ping My Apple Watch to the list of functions. You’ll now see the icon added in your iPhone’s Control Centre to ping your watch should you misplace it.
Apple made a big play on the new Double Tap feature in the recent event.
Although technically it is only available on Apple Watch Series 9 it has already been a function that you can enable on your currentwatch.
On your watch go to Settings > Accessibility > Assistive Touch. Turn on Assistive Touch and Hand Gestures then choose your preferences for pinch, double pinch, clench & double clench.
The feature is a little temperamental and will doubtless work better on the Series 9 watch, but the feature isn’t even shipping until late October anyway for the latest watch. So, if you want to play around and get used to it, you can on your current Apple Watch.
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