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You might not realize it, but if you wear an Apple Watch, that handy wearable can help you a lot throughout your workday. Sure, you might use it to check emails, view your appointments, and even answer calls if your iPhone isn’t nearby. But with some of the built-in apps and features, your Apple Watch can be a helpful tool for getting through a stressful day of work.
Like many of us, you may do most, if not all, of your work behind a desk. And when you’re focused on what you’re doing, it can be easy to forget to stretch. This is important to your health and can help if you struggle with back problems.
The Stand Reminder on Apple Watch will give you a gentle tap every 50 minutes to let you know it’s time to stand up.
To enable the feature, open the Watch app on your iPhone and select Activity. Then, enable the toggle for Stand Reminders.
Now when you receive that reminder, stand up and stretch.
Work Break Reminders
Along with reminders to stand up, you may benefit from reminders to take a break. If you use the Pomorodo technique while you work, then you can easily set a timer on your Apple Watch for 25 minutes. When the timer goes off, take a break for five minutes. Then go back to work for another 25 minutes and continue this pattern.
Open the Timer app on your Apple Watch.
Enter 25 minutes and tap Start. (You can also use 20 or 30 minutes.)
If you’re not keen on the Pomodoro method, you can still use the alarm to remind you to take a break. Plan to work until a time and set the alarm. Then take a break and do the same for another break later.
Open the Alarms app on your Apple Watch.
Use the Digital Crown to scroll down and select Add Alarm.
Enter the time and tap Set or the green checkmark. The toggle for the alarm will automatically turn on.
When time’s up, take your break and set another alarm for later.
Tip: Each time you add an alarm in the app, it will be on the list. So, you can easily set a few for throughout the day and enable them. Then every day, those same alarms will repeat for you. Additionally, you can tap an existing alarm and set it to repeat every day, on weekdays, or on selected days!
Another helpful tool on Apple Watch is the Breathe app. With it, you spend just a few minutes taking some deep breaths. You can close your eyes, breathe deeply, and hopefully wash away some of your stress or anxiety.
To enable these reminders, open the Watch app on your iPhone and select Mindfulness. Then, do the following:
Select Allow Notifications or Send to Notification Center at the top, depending on how you want to receive your reminders.
Your watch will notify you at the start of the day and the end. Besides that, you can tap Add Reminder to set a custom time when you want a break. You can even set it to repeat every day.
Optionally, you can go down and tap Breath Rate and select how many breaths per minute you want the app to instruct you to take, from four to 10.
Tap the arrow to head back or close the app.
Then when you receive your Breathe reminder, just follow the prompts on your watch.
One more way that your Apple Watch can help you with your workday is with the Reminders app. Whether you set up task reminders directly on your watch or on your iPhone, you can receive those notifications on your wrist.
Open the Watch app on your iPhone and tap Notifications.
Choose to either Mirror my iPhone or set up a Custom notification. For Custom, pick either Allow Notifications or Send to Notification Center, depending on how you want to see the alerts.
Optionally, you can enable the toggles for Sound and Haptic to go along with the notification you receive.
Getting through your workday can be a lot easier with these tips for apps on your Apple Watch. Whether you need a reminder to take a short break or take a deep breath, you have the tools you need on your wrist.
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AirPlay on Apple devices lets you stream songs and videos to other AirPlay-compatible speakers and TV. But here’s the less-known fact: you can also use AirPlay on your Apple Watch.
Your Apple Watch has an AirPlay audio icon in its Control Center (accessed by swiping up from the watch screen’s bottom). This makes it possible to choose which device you want to play music from. Here’s how to use AirPlay on your Apple Watch.
Understand what AirPlay on Apple Watch is and its limitations
Background: The tiny speaker on your Apple Watch gives Siri answers, system feedback, etc. But it cannot use this speaker to play music. Thus, you always have to connect your Apple Watch to a compatible device like AirPods, AirPods Max, Beats headphones, third-party Bluetooth headphones, speakers, or Apple TV.
This may also make you think that you can AirPlay directly from your watch to other AirPlay devices. But you must understand that it’s just a button to choose audio output to the limited devices mentioned above. You can’t use this to connect to AirPlay Speakers, etc.
You’re limited to Bluetooth devices. This fact can be confirmed when you tap the watch’s AirPlay icon from Control Center → tap Connect a Device → it opens the Bluetooth pairing screen of the watch Settings.
Apple Insider says that AirPlay is limited on the watch to preserve battery life. I couldn’t agree more.
One more thing: You cannot stream (AirPlay) songs directly from your Apple Watch to HomePod. But if the HomePod is playing songs via, say, iPhone, you can control it using your Apple Watch.
Conclusion: AirPlay on Apple Watch is limited in functionality. It is a “select Bluetooth output device” button.
Now that you understand the crux, here’s how to use that Apple Watch AirPlay icon to select or change the audio output from your wrist.
How to use AirPlay in WatchOS
Press the Digital Crown and tap Music.
Scenario 1: If no Bluetooth devices are connected, you’ll see a screen that says “Choose where to play audio.” Tap on a device name. (left image below)
To change the sound output from your wrist, tap the AirPlay icon at the bottom left.
You can do the same process from the watch Control Center.
If music is playing from your Apple Watch, you may not see HomePod as one of the options in AirPlay. But if music is playing on the iPhone, and you’re controlling it with your Apple Watch, you may see the option for HomePod. (see the steps and image below)How to use AirPlay icon to choose devices connected to iPhone
Open Music on your watch.
Tap On iPhone.
Control HomePod using Apple Watch
Open Now Playing on your Apple Watch.
If you see Watch or iPhone at the top left, tap < to go back.
Scroll to choose HomePod from the Now Playing screen.
Note: Make sure your HomePod, iPhone, and Apple Watch are all connected to the same Wi-Fi.
Enjoy AirPlaying audio content on your Apple Watch!
This is how you can use the AirPlay icon on your Apple Watch. I hope this guide helps answer your questions.
Marcus is a freelance tech writer/editor with a focus on succinctly explaining consumer devices and their software. His previous work has been published on MakeUseOf where he covered everything from iOS to Git and UI design.
Although the Digital Crown on the Apple Watch steals the spotlight, the Side button is equally—if not more—important. You can get a lot more out of a watchOS device if you know its capabilities.
Not only is the Side button convenient for everyday actions like switching among recent apps or making purchases over Apple Pay, but it’s also vital when troubleshooting the device or during emergencies. We’ll show you multiple ways to use the Apple Watch’s Side button.
Table of ContentsOpen the Apple Watch’s Dock
Your Apple Watch (Amazon, Best Buy) comes with a Dock that displays a list of ten recently-opened apps. Just press the Side button once, and you can invoke it anywhere—from the watch face, the Home Screen, or while inside an app.
You can also customize the Dock by displaying a list of your favorite apps. To do that:
Open the Watch app on your iPhone and tap
and add the apps you want.Restart Your Apple Watch
Every now and again, Apple’s smartwatch will encounter technical glitches preventing it from working correctly. The best way to fix that is to restart the device. The Side button can help you with that.
Press and hold the
button until you see the power and emergency options screen.
icon on the top right.
slider to the right.
Wait 30 seconds.
button again until you see the Apple logo.
Note: If your Apple Watch runs watchOS 8 or older, you’ll see the Power Off slider immediately after holding down the Side button.Force-Restart Your Apple Watch
A force-restart goes beyond a conventional restart by rebooting the Apple Watch at the hardware level. It’s useful when you encounter freezes and crashes preventing your watchOS device from working. Again, the Side button comes in handy, but you must also throw the Digital Crown into the mix.
Press and hold both the
button and the
Wait until the screen turns off and the Apple logo appears. That could take 15-20 seconds.
Release both buttons.Force-Quit Apple Watch Apps
Like on the iPhone, iPad, and Mac, it’s common to run into instances where Apple Watch apps freeze as you interact with them. When that happens, you don’t always have to force-restart the device.
Instead, forcibly close the app, and it’ll likely work after you relaunch it. You must use the Side button in combination with the Digital Crown for that.
Press and hold the
button until you see your Apple Watch’s power and emergency options screen.
Press and hold the
until you see the watch face.
Visit the Home Screen and relaunch the app.Go to the watchOS Home Screen
If the Digital Crown on your Apple Watch fails to work, you can still get to the Home Screen using the Side button. But how?
button to open the Dock.
Scroll all the way to the bottom.
.Make Purchases Using Apple Pay
Assuming you’ve taken the time to set up Apple Pay on your Apple Watch, you can use the Side button to pay for purchases in a store. Just:
Pick a card or use the default that’s on the screen.
Hold your wrist over the contactless reader.
To use Apple Pay while making a purchase within an app:
Review your billing and shipping information.View the Time in Power Reserve Mode
If your Apple Watch runs watchOS 8 or earlier, a feature called Power Reserve helps conserve battery life. To invoke it:
Open the Control Center (swipe up from the bottom of the Apple Watch screen).
icon to the right.Dial Emergency SOS
Emergency SOS is baked right into the Apple Watch in case of an emergency. Just press and hold the Side button until you get to the power and emergency options screen, and keep holding to begin a countdown and dial emergency services.
Emergency responders can also hold the Side button and use the Medical ID option to check your health profile.
By the way, did you know that your Apple Watch can automatically dial emergency services if you have a hard fall? Learn how Fall Detection in watchOS works.Activate and Use Compass Backtrack
If you use an Apple Watch Ultra, Apple Watch SE, or Apple Watch Series 6 or later running watchOS 9, you can use a feature called Compass Backtrack to retrace your steps and stop yourself from getting lost.
Before you begin your route:
Press and hold the
button until you see the power and emergency options screen.
Drag the icon next to
When you’re ready to return to where you started, revisit the same screen, tap the Pause icon, and select Retrace Steps.Another Way to Sound Off the Siren
On the Apple Watch Ultra, you don’t have to rely on only the Action button to activate the siren. Instead, press and hold the Side button, and then drag the slider next to Siren.Take a Screenshot on Your Watch
You can take a screenshot on the Apple Watch whenever you want. Just press the Side button and the Digital Crown simultaneously, and the screenshot should appear within the iPhone’s Photos app. If that does not work:
Open the Watch app on the paired iOS device.
Turn on the switch next to
.Resume Your Fitness Workouts
After pausing a workout in the Workout app or in Apple Fitness Plus, you don’t have to tap around the screen to resume it. Press the Digital Crown and the Side button at the same time instead.
Keep in mind that the button combo will also take a screenshot if screenshots are enabled on your watchOS device.It’s Not Just a Sidekick
What is Depth app on Apple Watch Ultra?
Apple Watch Ultra is made extra rugged for sports persons, especially mariners. The new Apple Watch Ultra’s Depth app maximizes underwater recreational activities. You can wear it for dives up to 40 meters (130 ft). Below that, the screen may turn bright yellow, and certain features might become unusable altogether.
Besides, the Depth app may provide data on the current time, current depth, maximum depth during the session, and water temperature. Also, the depth sensor has a plus or minus 1-meter accuracy range and complies with EN13319. However, it does not feature decompression stop information, gas analysis, or other diving capabilities that scuba divers need.
Therefore, ensure you have a backup depth gauge and timer or watch to avoid harm while deep diving. Besides, Apple has chalked out the upcoming Oceanic+ app, a built-in dive computer. So, waiting will be worthwhile! Now let’s know how to use the Depth app on Apple Watch Ultra.
Underwater activities you can track with Depth app
Underwater pool swims
Steps to use Depth app via Auto-Launch
As per the Apple support page, the Depth app on your Apple Watch Ultra will launch automatically when you submerge the watch. Also, you can start/end the Depth app session manually. Here’s how.
Open the Settings app.
Tap General. Here, you will see the Auto-Launch section.
You may also modify the temperature and depth measurements on your Apple Watch Ultra. Here’s how:
Open Settings. Tap Depth.Start or end Depth app session on Apple Watch Ultra
When your Apple Watch Ultra is immersed to a depth of one meter or more, the Depth app launches, and a session is started. Besides, the Water Lock is activated when the Depth app opens, whether automatically or manually. It will stop the screen from activating and prevent any erroneous input on the screen or with the Digital Crown.
So, how can you record your workout sessions like open-water swimming? Well, you must open the Workout app and start your exercise before immersing your Watch Ultra in water.
To turn off Water Lock and end the Depth app session, long press the Digital Crown once. Also, the Watch will make specific noises to remove water from the speaker when the screen unlocks. After the dive, the Depth app will present a dive report with a detailed summary. Besides, you may see the water temperature and depth data on a timeline inside the Health app after you dismiss the summary in the Depth app.
So, that’s all for today, folks!
The Depth app on Apple Watch Ultra is surely great! But only experienced divers should use it for recreational dives of up to 130 feet (40 meters). I suggest you always dive with a companion and observe diving safety procedures. Also, throughout a dive, frequently check the functioning. If there is any obvious fault, cautiously come up.
Ava is an enthusiastic consumer tech writer coming from a technical background. She loves to explore and research new Apple products & accessories and help readers easily decode the tech. Along with studying, her weekend plan includes binge-watching anime.
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Touch ID fingerprint recognition is replacing passwords on new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro laptops, but what if your Mac doesn’t have a fingerprint reader? The good news is that you don’t need to spend a thousand dollars on a new computer. You can replace your password on macOS Catalina without Touch ID if you wear an Apple Watch.How it works
Strong and unique passwords are critical to securing the data on your Mac. If your computer is lost or stolen, your password is the only thing keeping a stranger from accessing everything on your Mac including photos, email, and personal files.
Using a strong password is also important on the Apple Watch — even if it’s just a four-digit passcode. Just avoid passcodes that are easy to guess like 1234 and 0000.
Things really get interesting if you’re a Mac user and wear the Apple Watch. The Apple Watch knows that you’re wearing it if it’s unlocked and on your wrist. Your Mac can know that you’re nearby based on your Apple Watch distance.
macOS Catalina uses this information to determine that it’s you sitting in front of your Mac. With your permission, you can bypass entering your Mac password every time you log in or need to authenticate with your Mac password.
You still need your password occasionally like with Touch ID. This includes when you first turn on your Mac to log in or reboot. After you enter your Mac password once, just wearing your unlocked Apple Watch is as good as Touch ID on any Mac.
Bonus tip: you can unlock your Apple Watch automatically if you use your passcode, Touch ID, or Face ID from your iPhone. This means your fingerprint or facial recognition can be used to ultimately replace your Mac password through the Apple Watch.New features
Apple Watch isn’t just great for unlocking your Mac after it wakes from sleep. Starting in macOS Catalina, you can use the Apple Watch to replace your Mac password without Touch ID in even more places. Apple Watch can unlock:
System Preferences to change Mac settings
Locked notes in Apple Notes
Saved passwords in Safari’s Preferences
You can also use the Apple Watch to replace your Mac password without Touch ID when installing new software.
This new feature in macOS Catalina works differently from unlocking your Mac with the Apple Watch. Logging in with the Apple Watch happens automatically so the experience feels instantaneous.
Even if your Mac has Touch ID, using the Apple Watch to replace your Mac password can be more convenient than reaching for the fingerprint reader and waiting for it to authenticate. There’s no option for Touch ID if you’re using an older MacBook or any desktop Mac like the iMac, Mac mini, or Mac Pro, but Apple Watch solves that problem.What you need
The awesome auto-unlock feature for Mac users with the Apple Watch works on every Apple Watch. You just need software version watchOS 3 or later and a compatible Mac running macOS Sierra or later:
MacBook introduced in 2024 or later
MacBook Pro introduced in late 2013 or later
MacBook Air introduced in 2013 or later
Mac mini introduced in 2014 or later
iMac introduced in 2013 or later
iMac Pro (all models)
Mac Pro introduced in 2013 or later
No Touch ID fingerprint sensor required! Just be sure your Mac has Bluetooth and Wi-Fi turned on, you’re using the same iCloud Apple ID on both the watch and Mac, your Apple ID uses two-factor authentication for extra security, and you’re using a passcode on your Apple Watch.
Want to use the newer features for replacing your Mac password in more places with Apple Watch? Every Apple Watch except for the first generation model (Series 1 and later) can run the watchOS 6 software version that introduces this feature.
Your Mac needs to run macOS Catalina (version 10.15 or later). These Mac computers are compatible with macOS Catalina:
MacBook (Early 2024 or newer)
MacBook Air (Mid 2012 or newer)
MacBook Pro (Mid 2012 or newer)
Mac mini (Late 2012 or newer)
iMac (Late 2012 or newer)
iMac Pro (2024)
Mac Pro (Late 2013 or newer)Setting up
Ready to get started? If you have the right Apple Watch and Mac with the right software, turning on the feature to replace your Mac password without Touch ID in macOS Catalina is a quick one time process.
Check the box next to your Apple Watch under ‘Use Apple Watch to unlock apps and your Mac’
Be sure to remember your Mac password. You won’t have to type it in nearly as often thanks to the Apple Watch — even if your Mac doesn’t have Touch ID.
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A support document Apple published earlier this month contains a number of interesting tidbits and nice-to-knows regarding the Watch’s built-in heart rate monitor. We thought it’d be useful to give you a quick summation of the technologies the wrist-worn device uses to provide accurate readings of your heart rate.
The document also confirms that the Watch can connect wirelessly to external heart rate monitors such as Bluetooth chest straps for even more precise readouts.
All in all, Apple’s done a fine job outlining in Layman’s terms the tech and the sensors that measure a user’s heart rate, a feature many reviewers have described as seamless. In Apple’s parlance, it just works and here’s exactly how it works.
For starters, the Watch’s built-in sensor measures your heart rate and displays it right on your wrist, using the Heart Rate Glance. As a bonus, it keeps track of your heart rate every ten minutes, throughout the day, and stores the data in the Health app.
But how does it work?
The heart rate monitor is based on a difficult to pronounce technology called photoplethysmography. Wikipedia has more on that, but it basically comes down to using green LED lights paired with light‑sensitive photodiodes to illuminate your skin and measures changes in light absorption.
This lets the device detect the amount of blood flowing through your wrist at any given moment. Because blood is red, it reflects red light and absorbs green light.
Apple said it’s designed the sensor to compensate for low signal levels by increasing both LED brightness and sampling rate. That’s why the heart rate sensor on the back of the device flashes its LED lights hundreds of times per second, helping the device calculate heart rates precisely.
But when it measures your heart rate every ten minutes, the Watch switches to using infrared light. And if it fails to provide an adequate reading while using the infrared light, the device switches back to the green LEDs.
All in all, the heart rate sensor in the Apple Watch is a great feature, especially if you’re something of a fitness buff. It checks your heart rate during workouts for an at-a-glance overview of both the intensity level and the heart rate change over time.
This is crucial, as having continuous readouts of one’s heart beat in the Health app is indispensable when correlating your workouts and heart rates. In addition to your heart rate reading, the Watch collects other data to provide estimate on calories burned.
Aside from the heart rate sensor itself, it may tap into other sensors depending on your activity. In one example, running indoors prompts the Watch to use its built-in accelerometer.
But go cycling outdoors and the Watch starts using the GPS in your iPhone, if available, to track your activity with great precision in order to provide as accurate estimate on calories burned as possible. We also know the Watch learns about your stride enough over time to start accurately track workouts without an iPhone.
“And even when you’re not in a dedicated workout, it tracks how much you move each day,” notes Apple.
How do you like the Watch’s heart rate monitor?
Is this something you’d deem useful, even if you don’t hit the gym?
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