What’s Dock on Apple Watch and how to use it?

When you press the side button on your Apple Watch, you see the Dock. Depending on the setting, the watchOS Dock has either your favorite apps or the ones you used recently. In this tutorial, we tell you more about the Apple Watch Dock, how to use it, add favorite apps, and get the most of it.

Apple Watch showing Dock

Does my Apple Watch have a Dock or App Switcher?

This is an interesting question.

On an iPhone, the bottom part of the Home Screen with four essential apps is the Dock. And when you swipe up from the bottom of the screen or quickly double-press the Home button, you see the App Switcher, which has cards for all the apps you recently opened.

On an Apple Watch, the screen is tiny, and thus you do not have a Home Screen that can mimic the iPhone-like Dock. To address this, watchOS has a hybrid screen where you can have up to ten favorite apps or configure it only to show the apps you opened recently. Apple calls this screen the Dock, and you can access it by pressing the side button.

How to use the Dock on Apple Watch

To get the most out of the tiny computer on your wrist, you can use its Dock which lets you switch among favorite or recent apps. Let’s show you how to do that and more.

  1. Press the side button from the watch face, app bubble, or any app screen.
  2. Use a finger or Digital Crown to swipe through.
  3. Tap to use one of the apps listed here.
  4. Swipe left and tap X to remove a recent app. If Dock is set to display favorite apps, tapping X will remove it from Favorites.
  5. From the bottom, tap All Apps to see the app bubble.
  6. Press the side button or Digital Crown to close the Dock.
Apple Watch Dock

How to choose Recent or Favorite apps for Apple Watch Dock

Here’s how to set your Apple Watch Dock to display recently used apps or the favorite apps:

  1. Press the Digital Crown and tap the Settings icon.
  2. Scroll down and tap Dock.
  3. Choose either:
    • Favorites: If you use your Apple Watch for fixed tasks like workouts, listening to music on the run, quickly calculating a tip, and such, you might want to have only your favorite apps on the Dock. Choosing Favorites ensures you can instantly launch these essential apps by pressing the side button and tapping its card.
    • Recents: On the other hand, choose this if you want an iPhone-like experience where all your recently used apps are in the Dock (or App Switcher).
Dock settings Apple Watch

You can do the same from your iPhone via the Watch app.

How to set favorite apps for Apple Watch Dock

Though you can choose to arrange your apps by favorites (or recents) on the Apple Watch itself, you need the paired iPhone to customize the list of favorite apps.

Here’s how to add or remove apps from Favorites and reorder their position:

  1. Open the Watch app on the paired iPhone.
  2. From the My Watch tab, tap Dock.
  3. Make sure Favorites is checked and tap Edit.
  4. Tap the green plus icon next to an app to add it to Favorites. You can repeat this with 9 more apps. 10 in total.
  5. Tap the red minus icon > Remove to clear it from Favorites.
  6. Touch the hamburger icon (three short lines) and move it up or down to rearrange its position. The apps on the top appear on the top of the Dock on Apple Watch. So, make sure you keep the most used ones in the top three.
  7. Finally, tap Done.
Add Favorite apps on Apple Watch using the iPhone Watch app

Apple Watch multitasking tip

By now, you know how to use the Apple Watch Dock to multitask and use apps efficiently. Given the tiny screen, I rarely use apps on it. But if you’re a pro user, here’s one more tip that lets you switch back and forth between two apps on Apple Watch.

  1. Open the first app.
  2. Open the second app from the app bubble or Dock.
  3. Double-press the Digital Crown to instantly switch between these two apps.

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