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11 tips for using your Apple Watch well

Whether you just picked up your Apple Watch or it's been on your wrist for months, it can do more than you think. Here are some of the best Apple Watch tips and tricks you probably didn't know about.

1. Unlock your Mac

One of the coolest features of the Apple Watch is undoubtedly the ability to unlock your Mac. Starting with macOS Sierra, Apple added a feature that lets you unlock your Mac when you get close enough to it with your watch. As long as you have a mid-2013 or newer Mac (running Sierra 10.12 or later) and a watch running watchOS 3 or later, you're in good shape.

Not as exciting as unlocking your Mac, the ability to take a screenshot might come in handy at some point. To do this on the Apple Watch, press the Digital Crown and the action button simultaneously. Once you've captured a photo, it's immediately saved to your iPhone's camera roll.

3. Put a call on hold

This is one of the most underrated Apple Watch tips. Say you're wearing your watch but you're not near your phone. When an incoming call comes in, tap “Answer on iPhone,” and the call will then be put on hold until you remove it from hold on your iPhone. The person on the other side of the line hears a short repeating sound until you pick it up.

4. Show time

Let's say you're in a movie theater and want to see the time without waking up the whole watch. Instead of lifting your wrist, slowly turn the Digital Crown clockwise (upward) and the screen brightens just enough to see the time. It's perfect for seeing the time without ruining the movie for anyone behind you.

5. Monitor noise levels

The release of watchOS 6 on the Apple Watch Series 4 or later introduced an important new feature. Ambient sound level monitoring is a cool tool on the watch that lets you monitor the sound levels around you. Are you in a loud place for more than three minutes? Apple Watch will notify you that your hearing may be at risk. You even have the option to add sound monitoring as a complication to certain Apple Watch faces so you can quickly see the decibel level.

6. You have fallen – Help

One of the best and most underrated safety features of the Apple Watch on Series 4 or later is detecting when you fall. When the watch detects a fall without movement, it automatically calls emergency services and emergency contacts. To enable this feature, go to the Apple Watch app on your iPhone and navigate to “My Watch -> Emergency SOS -> Fall Detection”.

7. Eject the water

Chances are, most owners of Apple Watch Series 2 and later have no idea about this feature. After swimming or wearing your Apple Watch in the bath or shower, you can eject water that gets inside the watch.

To do this, swipe from the main Home screen to the Control Center. Look for the water drop icon and tap on it. Then turn the Digital Crown and start ejecting water. Although the Apple Watch may be water resistant, it is NOT WATERPROOF, so this is an important step to ensure the longevity of your investment.

8. Theater Mode

One of the best additions to the Apple Watch is Cinema Mode. Like its name, this feature is best used for movies, but definitely has use cases outside of theater.

Swipe up from the bottom of the watch and touch the theater/comedy symbol to activate theater mode. Once activated, your watch will only turn on if you touch it. It also prevents the watch from ringing during a call when activated.

9. Lefties unite

The Apple Watch is best configured for people who wear their watches on their left wrist. This is bad news for lefties as it puts the crown in an awkward position. Fortunately, Apple thinks of everything.

Open the Apple Watch app on the iPhone and head to “General -> Watch Orientation” and choose the preferred orientation for the wrist and Digital Crown. Now it's perfect for lefties. Problem solved.

10. Ping your iPhone

At one time or another, everyone has forgotten where they put their iPhone. Hopefully the next time this happens you'll be wearing your Apple Watch.

Swipe up and you'll see a bell icon. Tap it and your iPhone will emit a loud chime that will continue to play until you locate the device. Once you find the watch, turn off the doorbell.

Also, if you've lost your Apple Watch, you can use the Find My app to locate it.

11. Change home screen

Did you know that the Apple Watch has not one, but two possible ways to show installed apps? Although the grid view gets all the attention and is enabled by default, the list view is just as good.

To enable List View, return to the Watch app on the iPhone and select “App Layout”. When list view is on, you can scroll through installed apps with the Digital Crown.

There are lots of things you can do with your Apple Watch, like start a workout, and the tips above are just the start. With watchOS 7 promised in 2020, Apple is sure to introduce even more exciting new features. Did we miss something? Sound off in the comments below with your favorite Apple Watch feature.

Contents1. Unlock your Mac2. Take a screenshot3. Putting a call on hold4. Show time5. Monitor noise levels6. You have fallen – Help7. Eject the water8. Theater Mode9. Left-handers unite. Ping your iPhone11. Change home screen