Saturday, June 20, 2015

Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Apple Watch Experience

The Apple Watch

Now that I've had my Apple Watch for a few weeks, I've finally got it tweaked and adjusted just right so that I truly can "live a better day." But it definitely takes some work.

Right out of the box, the Apple Watch is actually kind of annoying. Well, maybe not right out of the box, because just like every other Apple product unboxing, it feels like Christmas morning and love at first sight. The packaging is just as thoughtful as the product design. And the setup process is actually very cool. But once you put the watch you'll be immediately bombarded by buzzes and dings. So here is my advice to improve your new Apple Watch experience once it's on your wrist:
  1. Silent Mode: First thing you'll probably want to do is turn on "Silent Mode" under the new Apple Watch app on your iPhone > Sound & Haptics. 
  2. VIP Mailbox: If you haven't already done this on your iPhone you can thank me later, but it's even more important once you own an Apple Watch. Go into your iPhone Mail > Mailboxes > and click the small "i" next to VIP. Then simply "Add VIP" contacts to your list. Then setup special "VIP Alerts" under Settings > Notifications > Mail > VIP so that you only receive banner notifications for VIP contacts. Once this is done on your phone you won't get an annoying pop-up every time you get new junk mail. Then under your Apple Watch settings > Mail you just need to make sure you've selected "Mirror My iPhone" (which is the default setting).
  3. App Layout: Next, you probably need to delete apps. First, go back into your Apple Watch app on your iPhone and go to General > App Install > and turn off automatic app install. Now go back and delete apps you don't need on your wrist from the bottom of the main menu of your Apple Watch > My Watch app on your iPhone. Then finally go back to "App Layout" from the main menu of your Apple Watch app on your iPhone and rearrange the apps in some logical groupings. Hint: The clock app is always in the middle. So arrange the most important apps in a honeycomb around that clock app and work your way out.
  4. Customized Watch Faces: Now that you're not overwhelmed by beeping, buzzing apps take a moment to customize your Apple Watch face so that it displays useful information for you at a glance. I actually setup 3 separate faces with different "complications" based on the type of day I have ahead of me. For a busy day at the office, I typically use the large complication box to display my next meeting. For weekends at home, working on the house, and morning exercises I switch my Apple Watch face to one of the modular designs and include complications with all the workout and exercise data. And then for weekend getaways or relaxing afternoons I utilize the weather, sunset, and sunrise complications.
  5. Glances: Now that you have an Apple Watch face with all the most pertinent info appearing on wrist raise, next you'll want to create & customize your "glances." Glances are what Apple calls the new "pages" of info that appear when you swipe up on your Apple Watch face. You can add, delete and rearrange your glances on your iPhone Apple Watch App. My advice here is to only include the next most important info in glances. First, delete apps that you don't need on your wrist. Then include the most important info in Apple Watch face complications. And then see what else you really want to be able to access quickly and add it to your list of glances.
  6. Friends: Again, if you haven't setup your "Favorites" on your iPhone, you can thank me later. Favorites appear on the far left tab when you open up your phone app on your iPhone. They also now appear on the top of the iPhone when you enter "multitasking mode." Now, with your Apple Watch, your "best friends" or favorites appear when you click the big home button on the side of your watch (not to be confused with the digital crown).
  7. Fitness: Before you go for a run, bike road, or even want to track your daily activity, be sure you open your "Activity" app and enter your height & weight info. Fitness tracking and fitness motivation are actually the most useful features of your Apple Watch (especially if you've never worn a Nike Fuelband or FitBit in the past). 
  8. Music: The next thing you'll want to do is choose a playlist to sync to your iPhone so that you can go for a run or mow the lawn without your iPhone in your pocket. To do this, simply go into your Apple Watch app on your iPhone > Music > and select a "Synced Playlist." Hint: When you're ready to listen to music straight from your Apple Watch to bluetooth headphones, you'll need to force touch the screen within the music app to select which source to play music to.
  9. Apple Pay: One of the really "neat" features of your Apple Watch is being able to pay for something without taking your wallet or even your iPhone out of your pocket. But first you have to setup a credit/debit card within the Apple Pay settings on your Apple Watch app.
  10. New Apps: Lastly, there are a few apps you probably hadn't downloaded on your iPhone that you will definitely want on your new Apple Watch. Here are some suggestions for really cool apps to show off the "cool factor" of your new gadget to friends and family:
    • Dark Sky: Will notify you if it is about to rain.
    • Pacemaker: Creates a music mix for you.
    • Power: Shows you how much battery life you have left on your iPhone.
    • Trivia Crack: Play trivia on your wrist against friends. 
    • Four Letters: A fun word game designed specifically for the Apple Watch.
    • Yahoo Weather: A beautiful weather app for your wrist.
    • Cruncher: Turn your brand new Apple Watch into an 1980s Timex calculator watch. 
    • Chipotle: It has a burrito button. 'nuf said.

Got other Apple Watch tips & tricks I forgot? Add them in the comments below: