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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 Contents

Open 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

    My Watch







    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.

      Tap the


      icon on the top right.

      Drag the

      Power Off

      slider to the right.

      Wait 30 seconds.

      Hold the


      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

        Digital Crown


        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

          Digital Crown

          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?

            Press the


            button to open the Dock.

            Scroll all the way to the bottom.


            All apps


            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:

                Choose the

                Apple Pay


                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).

                  Tap the

                  Battery Percentage


                  Drag the


                  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

                    Compass Backtrack


                    Tap the



                    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

                      You're reading How To Use The Apple Watch Side Button

                      How To Use Airplay On Apple Watch

                      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.

                      Tap Library.

                      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. 

                      Recommended posts:

                      Author Profile


                      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.

                      How To Use Depth App On Apple Watch Ultra

                      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


                      Shallow free-diving

                      Scuba diving

                      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.

                      Read more:

                      Author Profile


                      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.

                      How To Use Apple Watch To Get Through Your Workday

                      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.

                      Stand Reminders

                      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.

                      Tap Custom.

                      Enter 25 minutes and tap Start. (You can also use 20 or 30 minutes.)

                      Break Alarms

                      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!

                      Breathe Reminders

                      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.

                      Task Reminders

                      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.

                      Select Reminders.

                      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.

                      Read next:

                      How To Customize Workouts On Apple Watch

                      Times when you are sweating it out, Apple Watch Workout app shows related metrics like your heart rate, the distance, the calories you have burnt, and more. Depending on your specific goal, you can display them on the screen or remove the ones that are less important. The watchOS offers you the needed flexibility to take complete control over the metrics. Let’s personalize them!

                      How to Customize Workouts Metrics for Apple Watch

                      How to Show a Metric in Workouts for Apple Watch

                      As of now, watchOS lets you show up to five metrics at a time. You can show or hide them depending on your needs. To get it done, you will have to take the help of your paired iPhone.

                      Step #1. Launch the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.

                      Step #2. Tap on My Watch tab → Scroll down and tap on Workout → Workout View.

                      Now, you need to tap on the workout you wish to customize.

                      Step #3. Tap on Edit at top right corner of the screen.

                      Step #4. Next, tap the Add button next to the metric which you wish to include → Finally, tap on Done.

                      From now onwards, the metrics will show up on the screen when you choose that specific type of workout.

                      How to Hide/Remove a Metric in Workouts for Apple Watch

                      No longer want any metric to display on the screen during a workout? You can easily hide it.

                      Step #1. Open Apple Watch app on your iPhone → My Watch tab → Workout → Workout View.

                      Step #2. Tap on the workout you wish to customize → Tap on Edit at top right corner of the screen.

                      Step #3. Next, tap on the Remove button next to the metric you wish to hide. Tap on Remove.

                      Step #4. Tap on Done.

                      You can switch between multiple and single metric. While the former lets you display up to five elements at a time, the latter allows you to show only one item at a time.

                      If you want to keep things simple, you can choose to show only one element at a time. But if you wish to display more than one crucial thing, multiple metrics would be the way to go.

                      How to Switch Between Multiple and Single Metric in Workouts for Apple Watch

                      Step #1. Open Apple Watch app on your iPhone.

                      Step #2. Tap on My Watch tab → Workout → Workout View.

                      Step #3. Now, you have two options:

                      Multiple Metric

                      Single Metric

                      Select any of the preferred options as per your need.

                      Then, quit the settings.

                      watchOS also lets you perfectly reorder the elements you want to show on display. For instance, you can make the heart rate appear at the top followed by active calories. Read on…

                      How to Reorder Metrics in Workouts for Apple Watch

                      Step #1. Open Apple Watch app on your iPhone → My Watch tab → Workout → Workout View.

                      Step #2. Tap on the workout → Tap on Edit located at the top right corner of the screen.

                      Step #3. Now, you need to tap and hold the reorder button next to the metric you wish to move.

                      Then, you have to drag the metric at your preferred location → Tap on Done.

                      Did you know that you could also view metrics just for your running? If you want to speed up your game or wish to improve it, you should definitely give it a shot!

                      How to View Metrics Just for Running in Workouts for Apple Watch

                      The Workout app comes with “Pace Alert” allows you to select the desired pace for your run. And whenever you go ahead or fall behind the set target, the Apple Watch will alert you.

                      Step #1. Open Workout app on your Apple Watch.

                      Step #2. Now, scroll down tap on the three dots next to Outdoor Run.

                      Step #3. Next, tap Average Pace Alert and then set your pace.

                      You can choose between Average or Rolling.

                      While the former signifies the average pace for the kilometers, the latter implies your one-kilometer pace.

                      Select any of the two options based on your goal. And then kick-start your run in top gear!

                      How to Specify Your Activity Type in Workout App on Apple Watch

                      The Workout app on your Apple Watch has some pre-set activities, which include Walking, Running, Cycling, Elliptical, Rower, Stair Stepper, HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training), Hiking, Yoga, Swimming, and Wheelchair. It is but natural that Apple cannot add every activity to the Workout app.

                      However, the smartwatch allows you to specify your activity type in the Workout app.

                      Step #1. Open the Workout app on Apple Watch.

                      Step #2. Scroll the list of activities and tap on ‘Other.’

                      Now start your activity; make sure you perform your special activity for a long time – at least for 15 minutes.

                      Step #3. When you finish your activity, close the workout; swipe the watch screen right and tap on End button.

                      Step #4. Now, tap on Name Workout on the summary screen.

                      Step #5. Tap on the fitting activity name from the list of activities presented in alphabetical order.

                      Step #6. Once you feed the activity, scroll down and tap on the Done button.

                      Now your new activity will be included in the list of Workout options on your Apple Watch. Moreover, this newly created category will also be available in the Activity app on your iPhone.

                      So what is your specialized activity you wish to include in the Workout interface?

                      That’s pretty much it!

                      Wrapping up

                      Apple Watch continues to be favorites for fitness and health-conscious people. The latest iteration of Apple Watch Series 4 has come up with some great features like Fall Detection, ECG Report, and more.

                      They have added more riches to the already impressive profile of the watch.

                      You might want to catch up with these posts as well:

                      Author Profile


                      The founder of iGeeksBlog, Dhvanesh, is an Apple aficionado, who cannot stand even a slight innuendo about Apple products. He dons the cap of editor-in-chief to make sure that articles match the quality standard before they are published.

                      How To Play Music On Apple Watch

                       Things to know before playing music on Apple Watch:

                      Apple Watch’s built-in speaker doesn’t play music.

                      Your Apple Watch must be connected to a Bluetooth earphone or speaker.

                      You must have an active Apple Music subscription and Apple Music Voice Plan to play music via Music app and Siri, respectively.

                      Apple Watch is not just a normal time-telling wearable; it’s a gadget that comes with a plethora of features that enrich your life. Among its various functions is the ability to play and control tracks directly from your wrist. Interesting, right? Without further ado, let us find out how you can play music on Apple Watch.

                      There are various ways to play songs on Apple Watch. However, you need to have your paired iPhone nearby to listen to and control music.

                      How to play songs from Apple Watch

                      Open the Music app on your Apple Watch.

                      Select Listen Now and utilize the Digital Crown to navigate through the available music options.

                      Use Siri to play music on Apple Watch

                      Wake up your Apple Watch by tapping on the screen or raising your wrist.

                      Invoke Siri by either pressing and holding the Digital Crown or saying, “Hey Siri.”

                      Once Siri is activated, you can command Siri something like:

                      “Play more songs from this album.”

                      “Play my workout playlist.”

                      “Play Apple Music Country.”

                      “Play cool jazz.”

                      “Play more like this.”

                      The song you requested will immediately begin playing on your connected device.

                      Note: You must have an active Apple Music membership in order to use Siri to play music on your Apple Watch.

                      How to control music on iPhone from Apple Watch

                      Launch the Music app on your Apple Watch.

                      Choose one from the options provided:





                      Note: Your iPhone’s speakers will be used to play the song, but you can control the playback from Apple Watch.

                      How to play music on Apple Watch without iPhone

                      Launch the Music app on your Apple Watch.

                      Choose one from the options provided below:





                      Made For You

                      Third-party apps to play music on Apple Watch

                      Aside from the previously indicated methods, you can also adopt an alternative approach, such as utilizing a third-party music app with your Apple Watch. These apps are designed to enhance your overall music experience and provide a diverse range of features and functionalities. 


                      How can I improve the battery life of my Apple Watch while playing music?

                      There are several options you can consider to enhance the battery life of your Apple Watch when listening to music. You can decrease the volume or check our article on how to improve your Apple Watch battery life.

                      How much storage space does my Apple Watch have for music?

                      The storage space available on your Apple Watch for music varies depending on the model you have. However, the most recent Apple Watch Ultra has a 32 GB storage capacity.

                      Can I use my Apple Watch to listen to podcasts?

                      Yes, you can use your Apple Watch to listen to podcasts. Additionally, you can use the Podcasts app to search for and play your favorite podcasts.

                      That’s it!

                      Read more:

                      Author Profile


                      Bhaskar is a member of the iGB family and enjoys experimenting with words and rhythms. He also has a knack for web and app development. If not writing, you may find him on strings or engaging in sports. And by evening, his quotes will be appearing on your Instagram feeds.

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