The Apple Watch introduced a fundamentally new way of interacting with a smartwatch. This means there are a whole lot of new tricks to learn about, of course.
The latest software version, watchOS 4, brought a lot of new features to the Apple Watch. While we have extensively covered the headline features in watchOS 4, there are a few little-known Apple Watch tricks that aren’t apparent at the first glance. Here’s the scoop you have to know.
1. Set an Image From Gallery as Custom Watch Face
Unlike Android Wear, watchOS doesn’t let you set custom third-party watch faces. If you’re bored with Apple’s existing collection, you can set a picture from your Camera Roll as a watch face.
Here’s how to do it:
- Launch the Photos app on your iPhone.
- Open the particular picture you want to set.
- Tap the Share icon and select Create Watch Face.
- You can select the Photos Watch Face, or if you’re on the fancier side, select Kaleidoscope Watch face.
- Tap Add.
Your Watch should now rock the custom picture on its face.
If you don’t see the change reflected, you need to manually update the watch face. Here’s how to do that:
- Force Touch on the watch face.
- Swipe all the way to the left until you find your custom picture.
- Select your custom picture.
2. Save Music Locally to the Apple Watch
Listening to music while you’re hitting the gym or heading out for a run can be exhilarating. But having to carry around your iPhone during such intense activities isn’t convenient.
Fortunately, you can sync music from your iPhone to your Apple Watch. The music is stored locally on your Watch, so you can leave your iPhone behind.
Here’s how to sync music:
- Launch the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
- Select Music.
- Tap Add Music and select the playlists you would like to sync.
Note that the sync begins only when you place the Watch on its charger. The wireless transfer seems a little slow, so it might take a while for the sync to complete.
Once it’s done, here’s how you can play music locally on your Apple Watch:
- Launch the Music app on your Apple Watch.
- Force Touch on your Watch and tap Source > Apple Watch.
- Pair your Apple Watch with your AirPods or any other good AirPods alternative.
After pairing, simply select your Bluetooth headset, and you’ll be ready to hear music directly from your Apple Watch. If you have problems, have a look at our Apple Watch pairing guide.
3. Use Apple Watch to Locate Your Misplaced iPhone
This is one of the most useful Apple Watch tricks — especially if you regularly misplace your iPhone right in the house. If you’re anything like me, this has happened quite a few times. Apple Watch can help you locate your paired iPhone.
Simply swipe up on your Apple Watch to open the Control Center. Tap the ping icon. Your iPhone should make a loud sound to help you locate it. You can also long press the ping icon and your iPhone’s LED will flash briefly to help you locate it in the dark.
Note that you need to long-press the ping icon, not Force Touch it. This trick also works when your iPhone is on silent mode.
4. Eject Water From Apple Watch After a Swim
Apple Watch Series 2 and Series 3 have a water resistance rating of 50 meters, which means you can wear them while swimming. However, water can get inside the speaker or the microphone port, leading to temporarily muffling or less accurate barometer altitude measurements.
Thankfully, Apple Watch Series 2 and newer comes with a Water Lock feature that locks your screen automatically when you start a swimming workout. When you’re done, unlock the screen by spinning the Digital Crown. The screen will unlock and your watch will force water out of the speaker.
You can also eject the water manually. To do so, swipe up to access the Control Center on your Apple Watch. Tap the water droplet icon to initiate the process.
If you’re wondering how to clean your wearable without causing damage to it, check out these tips for cleaning your Apple Watch safely.
5. Take Photos With Your Apple Watch
The Apple Watch doesn’t come with a dedicated camera, but it can act as a remote for your iPhone’s camera. This remote capture feature is particularly useful if your iPhone is mounted on a tripod afar. It can be also helpful if you want to take large group selfies and make sure everyone fits within the frame.
Here’s how to use your Apple Watch as a remote shutter for your iPhone’s camera:
- First, open the Camera app on your iPhone.
- Now, open the Camera app on your Apple Watch.
- Position the iPhone and frame it to get the perfect shot.
- Tap the shutter button on your Watch to take a picture remotely.
You can view the pictures on the Photos app on your iPhone.
6. Set Your Apple Watch a Few Minutes Fast
If you use the old-school trick of setting your watch’s time a few minutes ahead so you can run ahead of schedule, Apple Watch has you covered.
Here’s how to set your Watch a few minutes fast:
- Open the Settings app on your Apple Watch.
- Tap Time.
- Here, you can choose to set the time up to 59 minutes ahead.
- Tap Set when you’re done.
Note that events and reminders will still notify you at the actual time, rather than this “fast time.”
7. Time Travel Lets You Cycle Through Various Events
The Time Travel feature lets you cycle through various events happening at different times. The exact kind of events depends on the Complication and watch face you’re using.
For instance, the Astronomy watch face lets you see the current phase of the moon. You can spin the digital crown to “time travel” and find out when there’s a full moon or new moon.
Note that only a select number of watch faces like Astronomy and Solar support this feature. Other watch faces like Modular and Utility support this feature, but it’s turned off by default. Here’s how to enable Time Travel:
- Launch Settings on your Apple Watch.
- Tap Clock.
- Toggle Time Travel on.
You can now scroll through your calendar’s events by spinning the Digital Crown.
More Tricks to Level Up Your Apple Watch Game
Hopefully, you’ve learned some new Apple Watch tricks and tips that aren’t fairly obvious.
Amidst all the eyeball-grabbing features like the ability to control smart home devices with Apple Watch, it can be easy to miss out on the small little-known tricks you can use your Apple Watch for. Don’t forget about installing the best Apple Watch apps too.