If you just unwrapped a new Apple Watch this morning, there are a variety of tips and tricks that can help you get the most out of your new wearable. Read on for some guidance on our favorite Apple Watch features for health, activity, personalization and more.
Setting up your Apple Watch activity rings
For many people, the Apple Watch is first and foremost a fitness wearable. The key to this is a trio of rings, each represented by a different color: red for movement, green for exercise and blue for staying.
By default, the green exercise ring closes when you register 30 minutes of intense activity, the blue support or scroll ring closes when you move for at least 1 minute for 12 different hours, and the red drive ring closes when you hit your personal goal for active calories burned in a day.
This year, however, Apple added the ability to customize its exercise and posture goals for the first time. Perhaps you are recovering from an injury and 12 hours of support combined with 30 minutes of exercise is too much for your body. People have also called on Apple to integrate the rest days into the Apple Watch ring system, and the feature at least gives users more control over their goals.
Here’s how to change your Apple Watch movement, exercise and position goals with watchOS 7:
- On your Apple Watch, open the Activity app
- Scroll down to the end and look for the “Change goals” button
- Use the + or – buttons to adjust your goals or use the digital crown
- Touch “OK” to confirm your changes.
The exercise ring can be lowered or raised at intervals of five, up to a minimum of 10 minutes or a maximum of 60 minutes. The goal of the stand can be changed at hourly intervals, up to a minimum of 6 hours. You cannot increase the support goal beyond the standard 12 hour mark.
Customizing the watch face
The centerpiece of your Apple Watch is the watch face. On the watch face, you can add information known as complications, including things like weather, activity data, heart rate information, and more. The easiest way to build an Apple Watch face is with the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
You can find the entire library of watch faces on the app’s “Face Gallery” tab and, as you build them, you can add faces to your personal collection. After creating multiple watch faces, you can slide between them from your Apple Watch, making it quick to adjust for different scenarios.
Apple Watch App Store
You can find apps developed specifically for the Apple Watch on the watchOS App Store. Just press the digital crown on your Apple Watch and look for the App Store icon. Here, you can easily find and install dedicated Apple Watch apps without using your iPhone.
Sharing your activity
One of the ways I love to stay motivated with my Apple Watch is by sharing my activity data with friends and family. By doing this, you can see when your friends finish training, how much progress they have made in relation to their goals and when they win new prizes.
To share your Apple Watch activity data with others, follow these steps:
- Open the Fitness app on your iPhone
- Touch the share icon in the lower right corner
- Touch the “+” button in the top corner
- Start typing a name and touch the name you want to add. If the other person has an Apple Watch, the name will be red
- Touch the Send button and wait for your friend to accept your activity request. Once accepted, you will receive a notification on your Apple Watch.
Configure health monitoring features
Apple Watch is not only useful for deliberately monitoring your fitness progress, but also for passively monitoring it in the background.
One of these features is called Fall Detection and uses the gyroscope and accelerometer to detect whether you have fallen and, more importantly, whether you have fallen and are unable to get up. By default, fall detection is disabled for users under 65, but you can enable it manually with these steps:
- Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone
- Touch emergency SOS
- Look for the drop detection button
- Apple warns that more physically active users can trigger fall detection even when you haven’t fallen. This is due to the high impact activity and can appear to be a drop.
- Touch Confirm
In the Apple Watch app on the iPhone, you can also enable a set of features that will allow Apple Watch to help you take care of your heart. Just open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone and look for the Heart category. In this section, you can enable the following features:
- Install the ECG app to electrocardiogram your Apple Watch (Series 4 and later)
- Configure cardio-fitness levels and notifications, which are a strong indicator of your overall health
- Irregular rhythm notifications to receive a notification when Apple Watch identifies various heart rhythms that may be atrial fibrillation
- High heart rate notifications to receive a notification when Apple Watch detects a heart rate that increases to a certain level while you look inactive
- Low heart rate notifications to receive notifications when Apple Watch detects a heart rate that drops below 50 BPM for 10 minutes
If you’re using an Apple Watch Series 6, you’ll also have support for taking blood oxygen readings with your device. Apple Watch can also take measurements in the background so you have data to think about regularly. Just open the Watch application on your iPhone, search for the Blood Oxygen category, enable the settings you want.
Control your notifications
Apple Watch makes it incredibly easy to stay on top of your notifications. Each time an application sends a push notification, you will receive a tap on the wrist and hear a sound. For many people, however, this can be overwhelming and unnecessary.
To manage notifications on your Apple Watch, open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone and choose the Notifications category. Here, you can view a list of applications and manage notifications as needed. My recommendation is to limit notifications to your Apple Watch as much as possible, otherwise you may be confused.
Check out Apple Fitness +
One of the newest features of the Apple Watch is deep integration with APple’s new Fitness + subscription exercise service. Apple Fitness + offers access to a library of hundreds of on-demand workouts in popular categories such as running, cycling, HIIT, rowing, yoga and more.
Apple Fitness + has deep integration with Apple Watch, showing live Apple Watch data on the screen during training. In addition, if you recently purchased a new Apple Watch, you will probably have 3 months of free access to the service.
You can find Apple Fitness + in the Fitness app on your iPhone or Apple TV. It is also available on the iPad and you can download it from the iPadOS App Store to get started.
Apple Watch Accessories
Finally, you may want to complement your new Apple Watch with accessories like charging bases and watch straps. Here are some of our favorites.
Best Apple Watch charging docks:
Best Apple Watch bands:
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