Apple has managed to shrink its mobile computing experience down into a wristwatch through the Apple Watch. Now on Series 4, the Apple Watch is more powerful and capable than ever before. You already know it does a lot more than tell the time, so let’s explore what features you should be tapping into.
The Series 4 watch is especially notable for its health advancements, including fall detection and electrocardiogram (ECG) readings that help you keep better tabs on your health and safety.
Looking beyond health, there are ways to harness your Apple Watch’s features to stay in closer touch with friends, family and colleagues, customize its look, and calm down when you’re feeling stressed. Some feature are only available with the Series 4 watches, but also make sure you’ve upgraded to the latest watchOS 5.
1. Raise your wrist to talk to Siri
Apple’s watchOS 5 brought a cool sci-fi-style improvement to the Siri watch interface. You can still activate Siri by holding down on the digital crown, but there’s another way to get the voice assistant’s attention, so long as you have an Apple Watch Series 3 or later. The Raise to Speak feature lets you simply raise your wrist up to talk to Siri.
To turn on the wrist-raising feature, tap on Settings, tap on General, and then Siri. Choose Raise to Speak. With this option on, you don’t need to say "Hey Siri" anymore. Just raise up your wrist, hold the watch near your mouth and talk to Siri.
2. Use fall detection
The Apple Watch Series 4 introduced an intriguing new fall-detection feature. The watch takes a series of steps when it detects a hard fall. It taps your wrist, sounds an alarm and shows an alert on the screen along with the option to tell it you’re OK, or to contact emergency services. If the watch detects that you’re not moving, it will automatically call emergency services and notify your emergency contacts with your location.
To turn fall detection off or on, open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, tap on My Watch and then tap on Emergency SOS. Tap the slider next to Fall Detection.
3. Get heart-rate alerts
Apple Watches dating back to Series 1 can follow your heart rate, a key part of the watch’s fitness-tracking capabilities. While you can check your heart rate on the watch, you can also set up notifications for when your heart rate goes above or below a certain number of beats per minute (BPM).
There’s an option to set up notifications when you first start up the Heart Rate app on your watch, but you can also control the alerts at any time through your iPhone. Tap on the Apple Watch app, tap on My Watch and then tap on Heart. Here you can set the high heart rate and low heart rate notification levels. You can also turn on notifications for irregular heart rhythms on the same screen.
4. Change up the watch face
With watchOS 5, you have more options than ever to change up the look of your watch face. Choose from bright images or eye-catching animations. To change it, go to your current watch face and swipe from left or right from one edge to the other. Stop on the new watch face you want. You will find everything from a fire animation to faces that mimic classic, traditional watch looks. Pick one that fits your personality. You can switch it up whenever you like.
5. Breathe easier
One of the watch faces you can choose from is called Breathe. It ties in with Apple’s Breathe app, which guides you through breathing exercises to help you relax and focus. It’s a good way to calm yourself down when you’re feeling stressed. You can open the Breathe app from the watch home screen, or select the Breathe option when changing your watch face.
The Breathe watch face displays a soothing animation. You can time your breathing to match the movement whenever you need a quick reminder to relax. You can also choose between three different styles: classic, calm, or focus. To get to the app, tap on the Breathe watch face.
6. Walkie-Talkie with other Watch users
The Walkie-Talkie feature is new for watchOS 5. It requires both you and the person you want to talk to to have a Watch Series 1 or later running the most recent operating system. You also both need to have FaceTime set up and working between you on your iPhones.
Open the Walkie-Talkie app and tap on the plus sign. This will send your friend an invitation. Once accepted, you can tap on that friend in the app to start a Walkie-Talkie conversation. Just hold down the talk button, speak and wait for your friend to connect and respond. It’s a much cooler version of the old-fashioned handheld walkie-talkies you may already be familiar with.
7. Quickly hush your Apple Watch
It’s convenient to get alerts, notifications and calls on your Apple Watch, but what happens if you left the sound on and you’re in a meeting or watching a movie in the theater? You can quickly quiet your watch by enabling the Cover to Mute feature. Then just rest your palm on top of the watch display for three seconds. You will feel a confirmation tap from the watch.
To turn this feature on, open your Apple Watch app on your iPhone, choose My Watch and then tap on Sounds & Haptics. Tap on Cover to Mute to turn it on or off.
The Apple Watch is about as cutting edge as you can get when it comes to technology you wear on your wrist. Try out these features and make sure you’re getting the most out of your Apple investment.