How to Use Apple Watch’s Touchscreen

By Marc Saltzman

Just like you can interface with a smartphone, tablet, and laptop in different ways — based on the task at hand — Apple Watch gives you three ways to use the small screen on your wrist:

  • Tap: Tapping with one finger on Apple Watch performs the same function as you’d expect on a smartphone: It selects whatever you’re tapping, such as an icon to launch an app, a song to play a track, a link to a website, a photo to enlarge, or virtual buttons, such as on a calculator. On the Home screen, you tap and slide your finger around to move the icon bubbles. A tap is like a left-mouse click on a computer.

  • Press: Apple Watch knows the difference between a quick tap and a longer press — usually when you need to open up some additional menus to select. Think of it as a kind of right-mouse click. For example, tapping a song plays the track, but pressing and holding it opens up a set of options: Shuffle, Repeat, Source, and AirPlay. The technology that senses the difference between a tap and a press is called Force Touch.

  • Swipe: Glances are a quick look at content that’s relevant to you — be it the score of your favorite team’s current or last game, weather information, stock quotes, time to your destination (via Apple Maps), and so on. It’s just one screen (that is, no scrolling), but swiping to the right on your watch face gives you this bite-sized information — when and where you need it.

Some features are activated with two fingers pressed on the screen. This is how you record and send your heart rate or heartbeat to a loved one’s Apple Watch.