The Best Features to Make Your Apple Watch Faster at Doing Everyday Tasks

The Best Features to Make Your Apple Watch Faster at Doing Everyday Tasks
Photo: charnsitr, Shutterstock

The Apple Watch’s portability is both a boon and a curse. It’s an excellent little computer on your wrist, but at the same time, it occasionally takes a bit too long for basic tasks, such as switching between apps. We’re going to show you a few hidden Apple Watch tricks to help you speed up some of its standard functions.

Quickly check the time

Not everyone enables the Always-On Display feature of the Apple Watch. Some people have older Apple Watch models that don’t support it, while others disable Always-On Display to save battery life. If you’re among those people, you can slowly rotate the Digital Crown on your Apple Watch to reveal the time and rotate it back to switch off the display.

This helps you check the time quickly without even rotating your wrist — and it is more battery efficient, too. That’s because it wakes the display at a lower brightness level for a short duration of time.

The fastest ways to change watch faces

If you have multiple watch faces, you can use two methods to switch between them quickly. The first is to swipe left or right on your current watch face, and the Apple Watch will switch to a different face. You can change the order of these watch faces by opening the Watch app on your iPhone and tapping the Edit button next to My Faces. This action will open a new page with all of your watch faces and you can drag the three-line icons (on the right) upwards or downwards to change the order.

The second method to change watch faces is to use Apple’s Shortcuts app to automatically change your Apple Watch face at a particular time of the day or when you’re in a specific location. For example, whenever you reach the neighbourhood park, your Apple Watch can automatically switch to a workout-oriented watch face.

A better way to switch between two apps

If you accidentally tapped a notification while using another app, returning to the previous app takes one tap too many. You can speed this process up by double-pressing the Digital Crown on your Apple Watch. This action will always take you back to the most recently opened app. The limitation here is that it can only switch between any two apps, so if you want to continuously move between more than two apps, you’re out of luck.

Open notifications and Control Centre within other apps

When you’ve got a watch face open on the Apple Watch, you can swipe upwards from the bottom to launch Control Centre. Similarly, you can swipe downwards from the top to check your notifications. However, this set of gestures stops working when you’ve opened an app on your watch.

There is a workaround for this issue, too. When you have an app open, tap and hold the bottom of the screen to make the Control Centre appear. Swipe upwards to open it, or tap and hold the top of the screen to make the Notification Centre appear, and swipe downwards to view all notifications.

Control music while you’re working out

When you’re logging any workout on the Workout app on your Apple Watch, you can easily control music without leaving the app. Swipe toward the left from the screen that shows workout data and you’ll see music playback controls. We’ve found this method to be a lot less cumbersome to access during strenuous workouts, as compared to fiddling with the watch to find the Now Playing screen.

While you’re at it, consider changing the stats you see while working out.

Cover the Apple Watch’s display to silence or decline calls

Your Apple Watch will buzz or ring when you get a phone call, and if you want to silence or decline it, you can use a couple quick tricks. To silence the call, just cover your Apple Watch’s screen with your palm for a second. The call will end only when the caller disconnects.

To decline an incoming call, you can cover the Apple Watch’s screen for three seconds. You’ll feel a couple of strong vibrations and the call will be declined. If this feature isn’t working for you, open the Watch app on your iPhone and go to Sounds & Haptics. Ensure that Cover to Mute is enabled.

Use your Apple Watch to unlock your iPhone

Your Apple Watch can also help you unlock your iPhone when you’re wearing a mask. Once you enable this, it’s hard to go back to entering passcodes to unlock your iPhone. The only annoyance is that if you use Face ID to unlock third-party apps such as 1Password or Apollo for Reddit, your Apple Watch won’t be able to unlock those.

Unlock your Mac using the Apple Watch

You can also use your Apple Watch to automatically unlock your Mac. This feature saves a lot of time when it works. (It does have a tendency to stop working periodically; when this happens, your best bet is to restart your Mac and your Apple Watch.)

This feature also allows you to grant administrator permissions to perform certain actions on the Mac, such as deleting files from system folders. Apps such as 1Password on the Mac can be unlocked using the Apple Watch instead of a long password, too.

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