15 Apple Watch tips and tricks for watchOS 2

Apple's new watchOS 2 presents some new possibilities with the Apple Watch. Here's how to make the best of it.

apple watch tips and tricks watchos 2
Fun with watchOS 2

The Apple Watch has been out for a good six months now, and though Apple is still keeping specific sales figures to itself, Tim Cook recently said that demand for Apple’s new wearable is off the charts. Recently, Apple released watchOS 2, a long-awaited software update for the Apple Watch that adds a whole array of interesting functionality to the device. As the number of Apple Watch users continues to grow, it’s time again to highlight some of the cooler and more interesting Apple Watch tips and tricks that you may not be familiar with already. While most are specific to watchOS 2, there are a few oldies but goodies that may have flown underneath your radar.

how to customize watchface apple watch
Credit: Apple
Personalize your watch face

One of the great things about having an advanced smartwatch is that you can easily switch back and forth between different watch faces. To do so on the Apple Watch, simply use Force Touch when on the watch face screen and select customize. You can then scroll left and right to find the watch face of your choosing.

With watchOS 2, you can even add your own picture as a watch face background. This can be accomplished by opening up the Photos app, Force Touching on a photo you’d like to use, and then selecting “Create Watch Face.”

how to use apple watch nightstand
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Use Apple Watch as a nightstand alarm clock

With WatchOS 2, users can now use their Apple Watch as a pseudo-alarm clock with Nightstand Mode.

To activate this feature, go to the Settings app on the Apple Watch. Next, go to General > Nightstand Mode and toggle the switch into the “on” position. From here on out, you can use the Apple Watch on its side to keep tabs on the time, date, remaining battery percentage, and any upcoming alarms. Cleverly, when an alarm goes off, you can activate snooze by pressing the digital crown.

3. reply emails apple watch
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Reply to emails with custom messages

With watchOS 2, it’s finally possible to respond to emails straight from the Apple Watch. Of course, much like with the Messages app, don’t expect to be crafting any lengthy replies. Instead, your device will provide you with a number of pre-set replies that you can customize by opening up the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, and then going to My Watch > Mail > Default Replies. Of course, you can also respond to emails via dictation and with emojis. Note that any emails sent from your Apple Watch will come with an accompanying “Sent from my Apple Watch” tagline.

how to keep apple watch display awake
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Keep the Apple Watch display 'awake' for longer

Because battery life was a top priority on the first-gen Apple Watch, you may be used to having the display turn off after just 15 seconds of use after being awoken from sleep. With watchOS 2, Apple has thankfully provided some more customization options. Now you can keep the display on for 70 seconds if you’re frustrated by the display turning off prematurely. You can change this setting by going to the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, going to My Watch > General > Wake Screen, and then selecting the “Wake for 70 Seconds” option.

10 day weather apple watch
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Get a 10-day weather forecast

The Apple Watch is great for quick glances at items like weather, but it’s also just as handy for getting more detailed information like day-to-day weather forecasts. To see what the weather in your city is going to look like over the next 10 days, simply open up the Weather app and swipe upwards. Just like that, you can get a broader overview of what the weather in your city is going to look like.

how to use time travel apple watch
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Time Travel

One of the more compelling new features of watchOS 2 is Time Travel. With Time Travel, users can simply rotate the digital crown and they’ll be presented with real-time updates about events happening in the future, such as future weather, future appointments, etc. You can also go back in time and view notifications you might have missed or even news stories that might have flown under the radar. Essentially, this feature provides an overview of your day, past, present, and future. If you’re in Time Travel mode, you can revert back to normal by pressing on the digital crown.

How to use left handed apple watch left handed
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Set up the Apple Watch for left-handed use

While the initial setup of the Apple Watch asks you whether you’re left- or right-handed, you can change this setting after the fact by opening up the Settings app on your Apple Watch. From there, go to General > Orientation and then select 'Left.'

Change move goal apple watch
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Change your Move Goal

If you’re getting in better shape thanks to the Apple Watch, or simply want to adjust your move goal in either direction, you can do so simply by opening up the Activity app on your Apple Watch and applying a Force Touch to the display.

apple watch play music bluetooth speakers headphones
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Play music to external speakers or Bluetooth headset

With music playing, apply a Force Touch within the music app and you’ll be able to stream music to Bluetooth speakers or headphones.

how to turn on read receipts apple watch messages
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Send Read Receipts

Long a mainstay of the iOS Messages app, messaging on the Apple Watch also supports read receipts. If you want to let people know that you’ve read their messages, you can turn on the “Read Receipts” option by opening up the Apple Watch app on your iPhone. Next, go to Messages and you should see an option to toggle Read Receipts functionality on or off.

stopwatch modes apple watch
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Try different stopwatch modes

With the stopwatch app open, Force Touch on the display and you’ll be given four new stopwatch display options.

progress updates apple watch health activity
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Turn off progress updates

The Apple Watch is great for staying in shape, but if you’re not interested in getting periodic alerts about your physical activity, you can turn them off completely. To do so, open up the Apple Watch app on your phone. Next, tap Activity and, following that, tap Progress Update. From there, you’ll be able to either turn off such notifications entirely or have them hit your phone at less-frequent intervals.

13. likelihood of rain apple watch weather
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Find out the likelihood of rain

If you open up the Weather app and apply a Force Touch, you’ll be presented more detailed weather options, including the ability to view the likelihood of rain at any given time.

How to dictate text responses Apple Watch
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Send dictated test responses as audio clips

Though not new to watchOS 2, this is a convenient feature worth highlighting. While Siri on the Apple Watch does a nice job of transcribing text replies, you can also send audio clips of your dictations if you so choose.

If you want all of your Siri dictation replies to be sent as audio, simply go to the Apple Watch app on your iPhone and go to My Watch > Messages > Audio Messages and select the “Always Audio” option.

15. power reserve apple watch
Credit: Apple
Turn off Power Reserve Mode

Power Reserve Mode is a great way to save battery life when you’re running low on juice. This mode turns off most of the device’s functionality, except, of course, the ability to tell time. While we previously covered how to turn Power Reserve Mode on, here’s how to turn it off.

Simply long press on the side button and your watch will spring right back into action.