How to use the stopwatch on Apple Watch

Stopwatch app Apple Watch

The Apple Watch, as you might have guessed, is really good at timekeeping. Unsurprisingly, it comes bundled with a stopwatch function that works as both a full fledged app, and a watch face complication. In this post, which is a continuation of our Apple Watch tips series, we’ll show you how to get the most out of the stopwatch functionality on your Apple Watch.

The Stopwatch app

First and foremost, it’s a good idea to get familiar with the Stopwatch app. You can launch the Stopwatch app in a few ways:

  • Launch the app directly from the Apple Watch Home screen
  • Launch it via a watch face complication
  • Use the Chronograph watch face, with a built in stopwatch

Only the Color, Mickey Mouse, Modular, Simple, and Utility watch faces are capable of displaying a stopwatch complication, so keep that in mind when performing customization.

Starting and stopping the Stopwatch

To start the stopwatch in the Stopwatch app, tap the green button. You can safely exit the Stopwatch app, and the stopwatch will keep running. To stop the stopwatch tap the red button.

Stopwatch app Apple Watch Stopped

To add a lap, tap the white button while the stopwatch is running, otherwise tapping the white button while stopped will reset the stopwatch back to zero.

Changing the stopwatch format

You can change the format of the stopwatch, which alters its look and feel, by Force Touching the stopwatch interface. Doing so will present you with four options: Analog (default), Digital, Graph, and Hybrid.

Stopwatch apple watch format

If you swipe up on the Analog format, you can switch to a 3-dial view with splits. You can view the splits (lap times) by using the Digital Crown to scroll. Tap on any of the analog dials to switch back to the 1-dial view.

Apple Watch 3-dial view stopwatch

Using the Chronograph watch face

The Chronograph watch face provides you with a full-fledged stopwatch at all times. If you’re someone who often uses a stopwatch, then it may be wise to adopt the Chronograph watch face as your watch face of choice.

Apple Watch Chronograph

To learn more about watch faces and switching between different faces, be sure to check out our full watch face tutorial. This same tutorial is also good for explaining complications. This is beneficial for stopwatch users, since several watch faces feature the ability to add a stopwatch complication directly on the face.

Adding a stopwatch complication to your watch face

As mentioned, the following watch faces feature the ability to add a stopwatch complication right on the face:

  • Color
  • Mickey Mouse
  • Modular
  • Simple
  • Utility

The nice thing about stopwatch complications is that the stopwatch is live and you can see it running directly on the face. For complication areas that are larger, you’ll see the full stopwatch layout. If you choose a complication area that’s smaller, you’ll get a truncated form of the stopwatch read out. Finally, if you tap on the stopwatch complication, you’ll be taken directly to the Stopwatch app.

Apple Watch Stopwatch complication

As you can see, the stopwatch functionality on Apple Watch is much more robust that it first appears on the surface. If you’re someone who’s extra-serious about timing, then the stopwatch function on Apple Watch can be an instrumental tool.

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