25 essential tips to get you started with Apple Watch

Just got your first Apple Watch? Congratulations! Time to learn the ins and outs of this new device to get the most out of it. In this post, we will share 25 handy tips to help you get started with your shiny new wearable.

Front and sides of Apple Watch Ultra


The basics

  • Power on/off: You can power the device on and off by pressing and holding the side button (the one below the circular Digital Crown). Alternatively, putting the watch on its charger also switches it on.
  • Going Home: Press the Digital Crown once to go to the Home Screen.
  • App switching: You can switch back and forth between the last two used apps on your Apple Watch by quickly pressing the Digital Crown twice.
  • Siri: Press & hold the Digital Crown to bring up Siri. Alternatively, you can simply raise your wrist and say “Hey Siri” to activate Siri.
  • Take a screenshot: Press both the Digital Crown and the side button at the same time to take a screenshot of the current screen.
  • Scrolling: You can always scroll up and down with the Digital Crown, and in most cases, you can also scroll by swiping your finger up or down on the screen.
  • Zooming: You can use the Digital Crown to zoom in on maps or photos, for example. Remember, you cannot pinch to zoom like you do on an iPhone. If you’ve difficulty seeing your watch screen, you can use the Zoom accessibility feature to magnify the screen.
  • Favorite contacts: Use the Favorites section of the Phone app to see your favorite contacts.
  • Apple Pay: Double press the side button to activate Apple Pay.

User Interface

  • Notifications: Control which notifications are pushed to your Apple Watch from the companion Watch app on your iPhone.
  • Notification Center: Swipe down from the top of the screen to bring up the Notification Center, just like you would on your iPhone.
  • Control Center: Press the side button once. On watchOS 9 or earlier, swipe up from the bottom of the screen.
  • Control Center options: Tap Edit from the bottom of the Apple Watch Control Center to add or remove options from here.
  • Apps layout: Just like you would on your iPhone, tap and hold on an app icon until apps get into jiggle mode. Then, rearrange them to your liking. You can also change the layout of your apps from the Watch app on your iPhone, which might actually be easier and faster.
  • App shortcuts: On any watch face that has complications, you can tap a complication to go to that app. For example, tap the Activity complication to go to the Activity app.
  • Force Touch: It works only on watchOS 6 and earlier on Apple Watch Series 5 and older models. Press the screen slightly harder than a tap to bring alternate options for virtually everything on the Watch user interface. Force Touch is everywhere on the Apple Watch, so it’s important you experiment with it to figure out all you can do.


  • Battery life: Apple claims all-day battery life for the Apple Watch, with about 18 hours of power to go through an average day. Apple Watch Ultra has up to 36 hours of battery backup. There are obvious features that will kill your battery in no time, though. The worst offenders are phone calls, workouts, and audio playback. Apple shares more about battery life here.
  • Charging time: Apple claims the Apple Watch will be charged to 80% in 1.5 hours and 100% in 2.5 hours. This number can be less for newer models like Series 8 and Ultra when you use a 20W charger with a Magnetic Fast Charging USB-C Cable. You can learn more about it here.

Related: How to save battery on Apple Watch (20+ tips)

Other helpful tidbits

  • Haptic strength: You can adjust the strength of the Taptic engine from the watch itself or by going to the Sounds & Haptics section of the iPhone Watch app.
  • Connectivity: Apple Watch doesn’t need Bluetooth if its paired iPhone is on the same Wi-Fi network. Read this for more details. You can also go through these tips to know whether your watch is connected to the internet or not.
  • Heart rate reading: Here are some handy tips for a more accurate heart rate reading.
  • Music and photos syncing: You can sync music and photos from your iPhone to your watch. All this is done from the companion app.
  • Activity tracking without iPhone: Apple Watch can learn about your stride enough over time to start accurately tracking workouts without an iPhone. Read this for more details.
  • Apple Watch and water: Remember your watch is water resistant, but still, here are some important things to do after dropping it in water.
  • Bands: Be mindful of the material used on your Apple Watch band. Leather, for example, doesn’t like water. The fluoroelastomer might be sensitive to certain chemicals. Use good judgment. And make sure to take caution when cleaning the watch bands.

Do you have Apple Watch tips of your own to share?