How To Actually Use Your New Apple Watch

Photo: Courtesy of Apple.
Remember when you held your first iPhone in your hand and you didn’t…quite…know what to do with it? That’s pretty much the same feeling you get when you strap the Apple Watch on for the first time. Okay, it’s got a screen, and a couple of buttons (well, one is more of a knob), but where do you start? Relax; we’ve got the answers to all of your questions.

Whether you’ve found yourself deep in the trenches of a new Apple Watch app, or you aren’t quite sure how to download that app in the first place, we’ll guide you through all of the major functions, features, and operations of your new smartwatch. If you don’t own one yet, well, here’s how to become an expert in advance.

First things first: Your phone (an iPhone 5, 5c, 5s, 6, or 6 Plus) needs to be upgraded to iOS 8.2 or later so you can get the Apple Watch companion app. Then, once you have the Watch, follow the on-screen prompts in the app to pair it with your iPhone. You'll then use this app to manage your watch's settings and download new Watch apps. 

Now, brave Refinery29 reader, you're ready to start using your watch. Read on to find out how to access notifications, track activities, and properly twist that "digital crown." 

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Photo: Courtesy of Apple.
How To Access Notifications
For a listing of your most recent notifications, like texts, missed calls, and app alerts (“Redgirlsays liked your photo on Instagram!”), swipe downwards on the Apple Watch’s display. Just like on the iPhone, you can scroll through, tap to open notifications, or swipe to dismiss them.

Real-time notifications will also be delivered to your wrist along with brief vibration or a sound alert. You can customize which ones you want — and how they alert you — in the Watch’s settings (more on that later).
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Photo: Courtesy of Apple.
How To Quickly Check Important Apps
If you swipe upwards on the Watch’s display, you can access something Apple calls Glances. These are brief overviews from your favorite apps and services that show things like the battery life of your Watch, what’s next on your calendar, and weather stats. You can customize which apps show up, because the Glances that are most important to you may not be the same for your friends. Once you've swiped upwards to access your Glances, you swipe sideways to cycle through them. A tap will take you straight to that app.
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Photo: Courtesy of Apple.
What Does This Knob Do?
The knob on a watch is called the crown, and in the case of the Apple Watch, it’s called the digital crown. If you tap it, the digital crown acts like a home button, taking you back to the main, bubbly, app-filled screen (you can tap it any time, from any app, and it will do this). If you tap it again, you’re taken to the watch face. If you press and hold it, you can access Siri.

If you double-click the digital crown, it will automatically take you back to the last app you were in. So, say you want to toggle between Facebook’s watch app and a map of where you’re walking; you can double-tap the crown to go back and forth between those two apps.

You can also twist the digital crown. Doing this will let you navigate menus or zoom in on a particular app in the home screen. The easiest way to scroll is to use your opposing index finger and slide it up or down on the top edge of the crown (my first instinct when trying to twist the crown was to use two fingers — this doesn’t work as well).
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Photo: Courtesy of Apple.
How To Find Out Anything
Siri. Your Apple Watch is Siri-enabled, and it’s way more useful than on the iPhone. Just press and hold the digital crown, and you can ask her anything. Ask “How do I get to the nearest Starbucks?” and she can pull up turn-by-turn directions for you (complete with vibration notifications when it’s time to change course). You can search for upcoming movie times, or you can dictate messages to send to friends.

Instead of pressing the digital crown, you can also access Siri by just saying “Hey, Siri.”
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Photo: Courtesy of Apple.
How To Contact Friends
To pull up a list of your favorite contacts, tap the flat button situated below the digital crown on the side of the watch face. Here, you can choose someone to call or text, to send a doodle to, or to share your heartbeat with.

When you receive an incoming message on the Watch, raise your wrist to see who it’s from and read the message. Then, you can either respond with a preset message, record an audio message, dictate a reply using Siri, or send an emoji animation. You can also share your location.
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Photo: Courtesy of Apple.
How To Track Your Physical Activities
The built-in Activity app automatically tracks your daily movements, including how much time you spend each day moving, exercising, and standing. Its interface — three concentric, colored rings — provides a visual way to see how close you are to achieving that day’s activity goals. Go for the gold and complete the rings!

If you’re hitting the gym or going for a run, you can also track that specific activity using the Workout app. Tap this app from the main screen; then, you can choose the type of activity (like Outdoor Walk or Outdoor Cycle) and start recording.
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Photo: Courtesy of Apple.
How To Pull Up More Options In An App
The Apple Watch doesn’t just detect touch; it also detects force. So, if you press the screen with a little extra force, you can pull up additional menus and options in a number of apps. For example, in the Maps app, a forceful press will let you search for a specific location.
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Photo: Courtesy of Apple.
How To Take Pictures
Your Apple Watch doesn’t have a built-in camera (which, frankly, would have verged on creepy, so thank you for that one, Apple). Instead, it can act like a remote viewfinder for your phone’s camera, and then you can snap a photo using the watch, or set a timer to take one on your iPhone’s camera.

To do this, go to the built-in Camera Remote app, which gives you a live preview of what your iPhone sees. You can tap the on-screen shutter button or hit the 3s timer so you have time to hop into the shot, too. You can then head to the Photos app to browse through your snaps, swiping to view images one-by-one or using the digital crown to zoom in on specific pictures.
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Photo: Courtesy of Apple.
How To Customize Your Watch
You can customize your Apple Watch experience through the Watch’s companion iPhone app and through the Settings app on the watch itself. The Settings app has that same gear-cog icon you’re familiar with from iOS. There, you can adjust time settings, put the watch into Airplane Mode, set it to Do Not Disturb, and adjust display brightness and text size.

In the companion app, you get expanded controls. There, you can customize the app layout on the home screen, personalize sound and haptic (vibration) feedback settings, and adjust notification settings for each individual app. The latter, in particular, will be important — to make sure you aren’t overloaded with wrist vibrations 24/7, and to ensure that what you’re being notified of is actually something you care about. This is also where you can discover and download new Apple Watch apps.
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Photo: Courtesy of Apple.
How To Use Apple Pay
Apple Pay is the iPhone’s wireless, Touch-ID-based payment solution, and it works on the Apple Watch, too. If you haven’t set it up yet, first, go into Passbook on your iPhone and add a credit or debit card. You can enter as many cards as you want; the first card you add is selected as your default, but you can switch this either in the app or on the Apple Watch’s Passbook app.

To make a purchase using the watch, double-tap the side button, select which card you want to use, and then hold the watch’s face near the terminal. Once the transaction has completed, the watch vibrates and a bright-green check mark pops onto the screen.

If you ever lose your watch (heaven forbid), you can de-authorize Apple Pay on your iPhone or through iCloud on the web.
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Photo: Courtesy of Apple.
How To Control Your Apple TV
Got an Apple TV? Now, you can ditch that tiny, aluminum remote it comes with — if you hadn’t lost it already. Using the Remote app, you can swipe and scroll through on-screen menus on your watch and pick what movie or show you want to play. Through this app, you can also control your iTunes library on your computer (Mac or PC).
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Photo: Courtesy of Apple.
How To Silence The Watch
You’ve got a hot date, and you (for once) don’t want anything to interrupt this moment. To silence the Apple Watch so it doesn’t disturb you with any notifications, just put your hand over the watch for a few seconds. To un-silence it, just lift your wrist up to look at the watch face, and it will awaken.
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Photo: Courtesy of Apple.
How To Turn It Off
When silencing just won’t cut it, and you want to turn the watch off completely, press and hold the flat button on the side of the watch face. Three options will pop up. You can choose to completely turn off the watch, lock it, or go into power-saving mode, which turns the Apple Watch into a normal watch that only shows a clock display.

To turn it back on or get out of power-saving mode, press and hold the flat button again. To unlock it, you’ll have to enter your passcode.
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Photo: Courtesy of Apple.
What You Can Do Without Your iPhone
Your Apple Watch is heavily reliant on a Bluetooth connection to your iPhone. In general, your iPhone handles all the processor-intensive tasks apps require, and then relays that information to the Watch. But, there are a few things your Watch can do on its own:

-Track your activities through the built-in Activity and Workout apps (third-party fitness apps will not work without Bluetooth).
-Play music. You can sync up to 2 GB of music on the watch itself, and once synced, you can listen to that music anytime. To access these tunes, go to the Music app, force-press the screen, and select “Apple Watch” as the source for your music.
-Apple Pay.
-Passbook.
-View up to 500 photos from your phone’s Camera Roll or iCloud.
-Clock functions (timers, alarms, and the ability to change and customize watch faces).
-Check already-received messages and call notifications.

Still have questions about how to operate your Watch? Head on over to Apple’s website, where the company recently posted its own Apple Watch User Guide, or check out the Explore tab in the Apple Watch app. Or, just post your questions in the comments, and we'll jump in and answer.
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