What Can Your Apple Watch Do? - dummies

What Can Your Apple Watch Do?

By Marc Saltzman

Some may question why they need a smartwatch, like the Apple Watch. Perhaps you traded your watch for a smartphone years ago and now wonder why you’d go back to the wrist? One word: convenience. Not having to carrying anything is pretty darn handy, as you soon find out when using your Apple Watch.

Apple Watch has many, many features. Some of its main categories include time, communication, information, navigation, fitness, entertainment, and finance (mobile payments).

Watch faces

Instead of a regular watch that simply shows one face, you can choose what to see on your Apple Watch. The watch has many styles to choose from right out of the box and many downloadable apps to also customize the look of the face. You can also change the color of the watch face to match your outfit.

Timers and alarms

Apple Watch also includes various stopwatches, timers, and alarms. Whether you use your fingertips or your voice, you can have Apple Watch let you know when it’s been 30 minutes so you can pull something from the oven. Or time your friend doing laps in a pool. Apple Watch also lets you set an alarm to wake you up in the morning. The Timer app can also be used as a game clock.

Caller ID

See who’s calling by glancing at your wrist. Apple Watch displays the caller’s name (Caller ID) or perhaps just a phone number. You can also use the Apple Watch microphone to record and send sound clips to friends with a new walkie-talkie–like app.

Text messages

You can read and reply to text messages with Apple Watch. Hold your wrist up to read the message or lower your arm to dismiss it.



When an email comes in, you can read it on your wrist, flag it as something to reply to later, mark it as read (or unread), or move it to the Trash. As with text messages and phone calls, you can transfer email from Apple Watch to your iPhone to pick up where you left off.

Wrist-to-wrist communication

Your smartwatch lets you communicate directly with someone else’s wrist via a component called Digital Touch. For a sketch, use your fingertip to draw something, and the person who receives it will see it animate — just as you drew it. A feature called a tap lets someone know you’re thinking about him or her. You can even send your heartbeat to someone by pressing two fingers on the screen.


Friends ring

Press the Side button on Apple Watch to bring up your Friends ring. You see initials along the edges of the ring, but a person’s first name is in the top-left corner when you land on that person’s details. In the center, you should see thumbnail photos of that person or a silhouette if you don’t have a photo of him or her in your iPhone’s Contacts app. Twist the Digital Crown button to select someone and then press in. Now you can choose a person to send a message, to call, or to engage with by using one of the Digital Touch features.


Apple Watch has a cool feature called Glances that — as the name suggests — lets app developers create one glanceable summary of information you can see when you swipe up from the bottom of your watch.



Apple Watch also has a calendar app so you can stay on top of events throughout your day. Also, when you receive a calendar invitation, you can immediately accept or decline it on your wrist and even email preset responses to the organizer.


Your wrist is an ideal place to glance at a map. Get turn-by-turn directions from your current location — and you don’t have to worry about having to stare at your wrist for visual cues, as Apple Watch gives you a tap on the wrist to let you know when it’s time to turn left or right.


Just as you can talk into your phone, Apple Watch also has a microphone, which means you can have access to your personal assistant known as Siri.


One of the coolest applications for Apple Watch? Fitness. You can use the watch to measure your activity — steps, stairs, distance, time, calories burned, and heart rate information — and to display it in a meaningful way on your watch and smartphone. The Activity app has three rings that show you relevant information on monitoring your daily activity.


On the other hand, the Workout app offers real-time stats on your cardio session — whether you’re walking, jogging, running, or cycling — and more.


iTunes connectivity

Control your music on your phone — from the convenience of your wrist — as well as listen to synced playlists on your watch without needing your iPhone. Along with managing music, you can also manage podcasts, audiobooks, radio plays, and other audio.

Apple Pay

Swiping or tapping your wrist at retail stores or at a vending machine is super cool. Your watch lets you buy products and services via Apple Pay — and you don’t even need your iPhone with you.

Other apps

There are optional third-party apps you can download to further personalize the most personal gadget in the world.

Other functions

You can use your wrist to remotely snap a photo on your iPhone as well as look at photos on your wrist, including how to zoom into a photo. Apple Watch is also a gaming platform.

Apple says you could squeeze up to 72 hours of battery life on Apple Watch, but be aware this varies greatly on how much you use the watch, the settings you choose, what apps you use, outside temperature, and other factors. Apple says most people will find it lasts up to 18 hours.