How to Use Glances and Notifications on Apple Watch

By Marc Saltzman

Apple Watch gives you a couple ways to glean information while on the go: Glances and Notifications. Remember, Apple Watch isn’t meant for reading lengthy websites — actually, the watch doesn’t have a web browser — because it’s designed for quick interactions. While they differ, Glances and Notifications give you bits of customized information — when and where you need it.

Glances

Glances are quick snippets of information you can see by swiping up from the bottom of the Apple Watch screen — perhaps how your favorite sports team is doing, weather information, or how your stock is performing.

Glances can also use time and location information if they’re relevant. Although not all apps offer a Glance, you can select which Glances to display for those that do.

Glances are not scrollable. All content fits on a single screen, but tapping anywhere on a Glance opens the app to the appropriate screen. The small dots at the bottom of the screen let you scroll left and right to see other Glances.

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To activate a Glance on your Apple Watch, follow these steps:

  1. Swipe up from the bottom of the clock (time) screen.

    The Connected Glance appears first, allowing you to turn the watch to Airplane mode, make the watch silent, find your iPhone, and more.

  2. Swipe left or right within a Glance to see another Glance.

    Swiping horizontally shows you Glances for other apps you’ve selected to see Glances for. For Apple’s preinstalled apps, this includes Music, Heart Rate, Power, Activity, Calendar, Weather, Stocks, Maps, and World Clock.

  3. Tap anywhere on the screen to go to the app.

    This brings you to the official app on Apple Watch to see more information than what’s provided in the Glance.

Notifications

Much like Notifications on an iPhone or iPad, Notifications on Apple Watch are when an app wants you to know information at a specific time. Glances are when you ask for the information, but Notifications tell you when you need to know it.

This could be a voicemail waiting for you, a calendar appointment, a news headline from CNN, a social media notification (someone started following you or liked your photo), your online classifieds ad was commented on, or a game wants you to come back.

Apple Watch has two kinds of Notifications:

  • A Short-Look Notification appears when a local or remote notification first arrives. It’s a short look that presents a minimal amount of information to you. If your wrist is lowered, the short-look note disappears. These short looks include the app name, the icon, and the title.

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  • A Long-Look Notification appears when your wrist remains raised or if you tap the short-look interface. This provides more detailed information and more functionality (such as four action buttons for additional information), and you need to dismiss it when you’re done.

App developers are asked by Apple to always make sure Notifications are relevant to what the user wants and to not bombard them with messages all day long. But you can turn off Notifications for any app anyway in the Apple Watch app on iPhone.