Learn to Use (and Love) the New Apple Watch Breathe App

By Marc Saltzman

Life can be hectic. And, so, your Apple Watch’s Breathe app reminds you to take a moment out of your day to relax and, well, breathe.

apple-watch-breathe

Of course, you’re always breathing (or else you wouldn’t be alive to read this, silly!), but this wrist-based reminder guides you through a series of deep breaths, to calm you down. The Breathe app lets you choose how often and how long you want to breathe, and then let the Apple Watch animation and gentle taps help you focus throughout this short exercise.

To start a Breathe session on the Apple Watch

  1. Press the Digital Crown to go to the Home screen, and then tap the Breathe app to open it.
  2. Turn the Digital Crown to set the session’s length.
    Tap Start when you’re ready, but be sure to remain still while you breathe. See the following figure.
  3. Inhale as the animation grows on the Apple Watch screen.
    You’ll also feel little taps on your wrist. Exhale as the animation shrinks and the taps stop.
  4. Breathe until the session ends and your watch taps you twice and chimes (unless Silent mode is on).
apple-watch-breathe-app
A look at the Breathe app on Apple Watch. Follow along with the animation and haptic feedback.

When you’re done, you can see your resting heart rate.

Because you’re supposed to be calm and focus on your breathing, your Apple Watch mutes some notifications. If you answer a call or text, or move around too much during a session, the session ends automatically, and you won’t get any credit for your efforts.

How to use the Apple Watch app to make Breathe changes

The Apple Watch companion app on iPhone can be used for additional Breathe settings.

apple-watch-breathe-settings
The Apple Watch app on iPhone is where you make changes to the Breathe app (left); the Health app on iPhone shows a summary of your breathing exercises (right).

For example, when you turn the Digital Crown on Apple Watch to set the session’s duration, such as 90 seconds, but you can adjust the default setting from your iPhone’s Apple Watch app (under Breathe), as follows:

  1. Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap the My Watch tab.
  3. Tap Breathe.
  4. Scroll down and tap Use Previous Duration (it’s at the bottom of the screen).
    You can also change the length of each breath — by default it’s 7 breaths per minute — and you can tweak how many Breathe reminders you want per day (such as two), how forceful the haptic (vibration) feedback is, and more.
  5. Check your progress.
    To check how often you take time to use the Breathe app on Apple Watch, track your sessions with the Health app on iPhone. Open the app and select the Health Data tab. Tap Mindfulness, then tap the graph to see more.