Accessing Your Friends Ring to Contact Close Friends and Family on Apple Watch

By Marc Saltzman

Part of Apple Watch For Dummies Cheat Sheet

While many people will rely on Apple Watch for incoming information — such as answering calls, looking at emails, glancing at weather information, and checking the time or place of a calendar event — you can also easily use Apple Watch for outgoing communication.

In fact, you have a few different ways you can do that. The easiest would be to simply raise your wrist and say something like “Hey, Siri, call Bob Jones at work” or “Hey, Siri, text my dad that I’m going to be late.”

But you’ll probably want to master the Friends ring, which gives you even more options, such as sending someone a fun tap or your heartbeat to let that person know you’re thinking about him or her. He or she feels that tap or heartbeat on his or her wrist (if that person is wearing an Apple Watch, which is required to feel these sensations). You can also send a finger-drawn sketch to someone special. Your Friends ring can also help you place a call and send and receive texts.

To use the Friends ring on your Apple Watch, follow these steps:

  1. Tap the Side button on your Apple Watch — no matter what you’re going on your watch.

    This opens your Friends list, which looks like a ring and shows you people you like to communicate with. This ring holds up to 12 people and can include their photos if you have them in your iPhone’s Contacts app.

    You can let Apple Watch suggest people you like to chat with or you can manually add people to your Friends ring via the Apple Watch app on iPhone.

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  2. Twist the Digital Crown button to select someone to contact.

    Twist forward or backward to highlight different friends or family members on the ring. When you land on someone you’d like to reach out to, you don’t need to press the ribbed Digital Crown button to select the person. Just wait a second and you should see an expanded view of his or her initials and/or face.

  3. Select how you’d like to contact the person: Call, Message, or, if that person has an Apple Watch, via Digital Touch.

    The small icons underneath a contact are a phone (to call), a speech bubble (to message), or a hand with forefinger extended (for Digital Touch). Apple Watch’s Digital Touch feature lets you send someone vibrating taps, your heartbeat, or an animated sketch — but only to people who also have an Apple Watch. Because you’re likely familiar with how to make a call or send a message, try sending a Digital Touch.

  4. Tap the forefinger icon and then begin tapping on the screen.

    The person who receives these taps will see them and feel them on his or her wrist (thanks to haptic vibration technology).

    You can also press two fingers on the screen to send your heartbeat to a loved one. Or simply draw a pattern using your fingertip and the other person wearing an Apple Watch will see the sketch animate on his or her screen.

    Whenever you’re done with the Friends ring, you can press the Digital Crown button to return to your Home screen, the clock face, or the last app you were in – all of which can be tweaked in the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.