You’ve got Apple Watch questions — we’ve got Apple Watch answers!
Whether it’s what the Apple Watch can do, how you’ll be able to wear it, where you’ll be able to buy it, how it works when you’re not around your phone, or anything else you can imagine, iMore is here to answer anything you might want to know.
Whether you’re considering getting a Watch, curious about Apple’s newest gadget, or just want to try one on in stores, here’s everything you need to know about the Apple Watch.
- What’s an Apple Watch?
- How can you buy an Apple Watch
- What’s the Apple Watch hardware like?
- What kind of Apple Watch bands are there?
- How does Apple Watch and iPhone pairing work?
- How will you navigate your Apple Watch?
- What’s the Apple Watch like as a time piece?
- What’s the Apple Watch like for health and fitness?
- What’s the Apple Watch like for communications?
- What’s the Apple Watch like for remote control?
- What’s the Apple Watch like for Apple Pay?
- What apps are there for Apple Watch?
- What accessories are there for Apple Watch?
What is this Apple Watch everyone is talking about?
The Apple Watch is essentially a small computer you can wear on your wrist that provides time keeping, communications, health and fitness, remote control, and mobile payments functionality.
So Apple Watch is basically an iPhone for your wrist?
Ha! No. Apple Watch runs a variation of iOS called WatchOS which is both more compact and specially adapted for the watch.
Yes, WatchOS. Internally it’s BackBoard and FrontBoard, just like iOS, but with a Carousel instead of SpringBoard for managing and launching apps. It also has unique features like watch face switching, a friends system with new ways to communicate like sketch and tap, and more.
Do I need an iPhone to use an Apple Watch?
Yes, to use an Apple Watch, you’ll need an iPhone 5 or later running iOS 8.2 or later. If you have an older iPhone, you won’t be able to pair the Watch and take advantage of the majority of its features.
Does that mean I can’t use an iPad or iPod touch with an Apple Watch?
Sadly, no. You can’t pair an Apple Watch with an iPad or iPod touch. At least not yet.
Buying an Apple Watch
When can I buy an Apple Watch?
The Apple Watch goes on sale April 24 in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, U.K., U.S.
You’ll be able to order it via Apple Online, or buy it in person at Apple Retail, Galeries Lafayette in Paris, Isetan in Tokyo and Selfridges in London, Colette in Paris, Dover Street Market in London and Tokyo, Maxfield in Los Angeles and The Corner in Berlin.
Apple Watch Edition will only be available at select retailers, likely major Apple Retail flagship stores and the special stores-within-stores listed above.
- Apple Online Store
- Apple Retail Store locations
Well then, when do pre-orders start?
Pre-orders start at 12:01am Pacific Daylight Time on April 10, 2015. At that time, you can go to Apple’s online store and place your pre-order, servers willing.
- Apple Online Store
Will I be able to try on an Apple Watch before I buy it?
Sure thing! You’ll be able to try on an Apple Watch starting April 10 at Apple Retail locations in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, U.K., U.S. as well as Galeries Lafayette in Paris, Isetan in Tokyo and Selfridges in London.
You can make an appointment before going in to your local store, similar to how the Genius Bar or One to One sessions currently work, but Apple will also reportedly take walk-ins. (You may just have to wait longer for your turn.)
According to rumors, appointments will run 15-minutes each, with 10 try-on stations per installation. Experts will be on hand for Edition try ons at participating stores.
Apple Watch will be showcased in special versions of the standard retail tables. Down the center of the tables are square cubbies with transparent tops that keep the watches safe yet visible. If you want to try one on, an Apple Retail employee can use a special badge to unlock a drawer beneath the table containing sample watches.
Specially modified versions of the iPad mini may be used to allow you to browse and choose from the different varieties of Apple Watch available, much as the full-sized iPad store displays currently do for other products.
Apple Watch Edition is a different story. Apple has said it’s a limited release and will be available from limited locations. We’re guessing that means the major flagship stores. If you want to try on an Edition, check with your store before heading over.
If you can’t make it to an Apple Retail Store, you can use the Apple Store app for iPhone to try one on virtually.
- How to (virtually) try on both Apple Watch sizes with the Apple Store App
How will Apple Watch be sold at retail?
We don’t know for sure, but it’s likely that on April 24, you’ll be able to either pick up your pre-order from an Apple Store or make an appointment to try on a watch and purchase it on the spot. We’re not sure what the crowd or line situation is going to look like yet, as Watch purchases could conceivably take a lot longer to process (due to trying on bands, et cetera) than average launch day iPhone sales.
How will Apple Watch Edition be sold at retail?
Apple Watch Edition will be available in limited quantities at select Apple Retail Stores — we’re guessing the major flagship locations — and a very few other, high-end retailers. We don’t yet know who those retailers are, but if we had to take a gander, we’d expect high-end department stores and jewelry shops to be the most likely candidates.
As with try-ons, check with your store before heading over.
What will the Apple Watch cost?
Pricing for each collection depends on what style and band you’re picking up. The Sport starts at $349; the Watch starts at $549 and goes up to $1099; and the Edition starts at $10,000 and goes up to $17,000. Here’s the breakdown:
- 38mm Apple Watch Sport: $349
- 42mm Apple Watch Sport: $399
- 38mm Apple Watch with sport band: $549
- 42mm Apple Watch with sport band: $599
- 38mm Apple Watch with classic buckle: $649
- 38mm Apple Watch with Milanese loop: $649
- 42mm Apple Watch with classic buckle: $699
- 42mm Apple Watch with Milanese loop: $699
- 42mm Apple Watch with leather loop: $699
- 38mm Apple Watch with modern buckle: $749
- 38mm Apple Watch with link bracelet: $949
- 42mm Apple Watch with link bracelet: $999
- 38mm Apple Watch with black link bracelet: $1049
- 42mm Apple Watch with black link bracelet: $1099
- 38mm Apple Watch Edition with sport band: $10,000
- 42mm Apple Watch Edition with sport band: $12,000
- 42mm Apple Watch Edition with classic buckle: $15,000
- 38mm Apple Watch Edition with modern buckle: $17,000
What comes with an Apple Watch when you buy it?
When you purchase an Apple Watch, you’ll get the Watch case (body) itself, its corresponding band (or, in the case of the Sport models, two bands — small and large), a magnetic charging cable, USB power adapter, and a quick start booklet. If you purchase an Edition, you’ll also get a case that doubles as a magnetic charging dock.
Apple Watch hardware
What kinds of Apple Watches can I buy?
The Apple Watch comes in three different collections based on the material of the case:
- Apple Watch Sport (7000 Series aluminum or anodized aluminum with ion-x glass)
- Apple Watch (316L stainless steel or diamond-like carbon coated stainless steel with sapphire crystal)
- Apple Watch Edition (18 karat yellow or rose gold with sapphire crystal)
Each collection also includes a specific set of bands paired with each of the case sizes and materials.
- Buyers guide: Which Apple Watch collection should I get?
Are there any differences between the Watch models aside from what they’re made out of?
Nope! The only difference is the material used to make the case and to protect the display and sensors.
How big is the Apple Watch?
Unlike traditional watches, which measure case size horizontally, Apple is measuring the Apple Watch vertically. Officially, the come in 38mm and 42mm sizes. Full sizing breaks down as follows:
- 38.6mm high, 33.3mm wide, 10.5mm deep
- 42mm high, 35.9mm wide, 10.mm deep
Weight varies by size and material:
- 38mm Apple Watch Sport (aluminum): 25g
- 38mm Apple Watch (stainless steel): 40g
- 38mm Apple Watch Edition (rose gold): 54g
- 38mm Apple Watch Edition (yellow gold): 55g
- 42mm Apple Watch Sport (aluminum): 30g
- 42mm Apple Watch (stainless steel): 50g
- 42mm Apple Watch Edition (rose gold): 67g
- 42mm Apple Watch Edition (yellow gold): 69g
How can I tell which size is right for me?
As a lady with fairly petite wrists, I actually found both the 38mm and 42mm acceptably-sized, though I slightly prefer the 38mm. Rene, who has bigger wrists, felt the same way but slightly preferred the 42mm option. People with particularly small or large wrists may have to get one size or another purely for fit, but many people in the middle will be able to choose based solely on which look they prefer.
- Buyers guide: Should you get the 38mm or 42mm Apple Watch?
Is the Apple Watch hypoallergenic? Can I wear it if I have a nickel allergy?
Apple hasn’t released any specific information about Apple Watch and allergies. We have heard that the Apple Watch has been made to the highest standards, so if you’re okay with other watches made of similar materials, you should be okay with the Apple Watch.
There are a variety of band options, from rubber to leather to metal, and the back of the Apple Watch is primarily ion-x glass or sapphire crystal, but when it comes to allergies it’s always best to be cautious and check with your healthcare professional
Can I shower or go swimming with the Apple Watch?
Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, said he routinely showers in his Apple Watch (though he also said he doesn’t dive with it.)
The Watch is officially water-resistant per the IPX7 under IEC standard 60529: This means you can get it wet and exercise with it and you should be fine, but submersion under three feet for more than thirty minutes isn’t recommended. So, I’d strongly caution against swimming.
It’s also worth noting that Apple’s leather bands are not water resistant, so if you want to exercise with your Watch, you may want to use a Sport Band.
What kinds of sensors does the Watch have?
Every Apple Watch, regardless of collection, comes equipped with a variety of sensors, including:
- a heart rate sensor (for measuring your heart rate during activities)
- accelerometer & gyroscope (for measuring steps, standing and sitting, and stairs climbed)
- ambient light sensor (for saving the battery and keeping your screen dim when appropriate)
What kind of screen does the Watch have?
All models have a Retina display. The Sport’s screen is covered in Ion-X glass; the Watch and Edition models have a sapphire crystal display. Though Apple has not confirmed it, all Apple Watch displays are widely believed to be OLED (organic light-emitting diode) which are more energy efficient and offer deeper blacks than LCD panels.
- 38mm: 340×272 pixels
- 42mm: 390×312 pixels
What processor is in the Watch?
The Apple Watch has a computer-on-a-chip called the Apple S1. Nothing much is known about it yet, but rumor has it it performs somewhere in between an Apple A4 and Apple A5 (iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s).
What about radios?
It has them! The Apple Watch includes:
- Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy (LE) for discovering and pairing
- Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz for fast data transfer and race-to-sleep
- NFC for Apple Pay
Wi-Fi? Does that mean I can surf the web?
Alas, no. Wi-Fi can only be used by the system to move data between your Apple Watch and iPhone. It can’t be used for browsing the web, or by developers to access the internet directly. Wi-Fi burns power and Apple isn’t letting anything burn power that’s outside its control, at least for now.
NFC? Does that mean I can tap all the things?
Alas, also no. NFC is currently only enabled for Apple Pay. Developers don’t have access to it either. At least not yet.
How much storage does the Apple Watch have? How many GBs!
8 of the GBs! Although different amounts are partitioned for different things. For example, you’ll be able to store up to 2 GB of offline music playlists, and up to 75 MB of offline photos. These can be accessed at any time, with or without an iPhone.
The remainder of the Apple Watch’s 8 GB of storage, not including the WatchOS itself, will be available for apps.
How long will the battery last?
Apple’s current tests suggest an average battery life of 18 hours for the 38mm, with the 42mm model offering slightly better (though unmentioned) averages.
Apple’s Battery Information page provides more detailed breakdowns of how that battery life translates when using the Watch for specific applications, like running, audio playback, talk time, and more.
- 18 hours
- 3 hours talk time
- 6.5 hours audio playback
- 6.5 hours workout use
- 48 hours time check
- 72 hours power reserve (time only)
In general, though, the company generally recommends charging it once a night.
How long will it take to charge the Apple Watch?
The Watch charges up pretty fast, however, if you’ve accidentally forgotten to do so.
- 1.5 hours to 80%
- 2.5 hours to 100%
How do I charge the Watch?
The Apple Watch charges through induction. That means it doesn’t need to have an exposed port just for charging.
When you purchase a Watch, it comes with a magnetic charging cable; plug one end into the wall or a USB socket, and the other end magnetically snaps onto the back of the Watch.
Can you upgrade the hardware inside the Watch?
Apple hasn’t said one way or the other, but unfortunately, we’re guessing not so much.
Apple Watch bands
Which bands come with which watch collections?
Each collection has a specific set of bands designed for it, which means you may only be able to pick certain bands when purchasing your watch to start.
The Apple Watch Sport collection includes:
- 38mm white sport band
- 38mm blue sport band
- 38mm green sport band
- 38mm pink sport band
- 38mm black sport band
- 42mm white sport band
- 42mm blue sport band
- 42mm green sport band
- 42mm pink sport band
- 42mm black sport band
The Apple Watch collection includes:
- 38mm white sport band
- 38mm black sport band
- 38mm classic buckle
- 38mm modern buckle
- 38mm Milanese loop
- 38mm steel link bracelet
- 42mm white sport band
- 42mm black sport band
- 42mm classic buckle
- 42mm leather loop
- 42mm Milanese loop
- 42mm steel link bracelet
The Apple Watch Edition collection includes:
- 38mm white sport band
- 38mm black sport band
- 38mm modern buckle
- 42mm white sport band
- 42mm black sport band
- 42mm classic buckle
Are Apple Watch bands interchangeable?
Yes! All bands are interchangeable within the same size range. In other words, all 38mm bands will fit all 38mm cases, and all 42mm bands will fit all 42mm cases, but 32mm bands will not fit 42mm cases or vice-versa.
Will I be able to buy Apple Watch bands separately?
Mostly. You’ll be able to buy all Apple Watch bands included in the Sport and Watch collections separately, but Apple Watch Edition bands don’t currently seem like they’ll be available separately.
How much will the individual Apple Watch bands cost?
Pricing will vary depending on the material used in the band and closure. Here are the current prices listed on Apple’s online store.
- Sport bands: $49
- Classic buckle: $149
- Milanese loop: $149
- Leather loop: $149
- Modern buckle: $249
- Link bracelet: $449
Why does Apple list Sport Bands as coming in pairs?
Because, sizing. Whether you buy the Sport Bands with a Watch or you buy them separately, you’ll get two of them together:
- Small to medium, which fits 130mm-180mm
- Medium to large, which fits 150mm-200mm
For loops and link bracelets, one size fits all, and for modern and classic buckles, you need to buy small, medium, or large separately.
What size do Apple Watch bands come in?
Apple Watch bands range in length from 125mm to 215mm.
- 38mm sport band: 130-180mm, 150-200mm
- 38mm modern Buckle: 135-150mm, 145-165mm, 160-180mm
- 38mm classic buckle: 125-200mm
- 38mm Milanese loop: 130-180mm
- 38mm link bracelet: 135-195mm
- 42mm sport band: 140-185mm, 160-210mm
- 42mm leather loop: 150-185mm, 180-210mm
- 42mm classic buckle: 145-215mm
- 42mm Milanese loop: 150-200mm
- 42mm link bracelet: 140-205mm
Apple Watch Sport band weights:
- 38mm black sport band: 37g
- 38mm pink sport band: 42g
- 38mm green sport band: 43g
- 38mm blue sport band: 44g
- 38mm white sport band: 47g
- 42mm black sport band: 37g
- 42mm pink sport band: 42g
- 42mm green sport band: 43g
- 42mm blue sport band: 44g
- 42mm white sport band: 47g
Apple Watch band weights:
- 38mm classic buckle: 16g
- 38mm modern buckle: 23g/23g/24g
- 38mm Milanese loop: 33g
- 38mm black sport band: 37g
- 38mm white sport band: 47g
- 38mm steel link bracelet: 65g
- 42mm classic buckle: 19g
- 42mm leather loop: 30g/33g
- 42mm black sport band: 40g
- 42mm white sport band: 51g
- 42mm Milanese loop: 41g
- 42mm steel link bracelet: 75g
Apple Watch Edition band weights:
- 38mm black sport band: 38g
- 38mm modern buckle: 40g/40g/41g
- 38mm white sport band: 48g
- 42mm classic buckle: [20g]
- 42mm black sport band: 42g
- 42mm white sport band: 53g
That’s complicated! Is there an easier way to compare?
There is! We’ve got complete buyers guides for all the Apple Watch collections and their various band style and color options:
- Read our guide on choosing between white, blue, green, pink, and black Apple Watch Sport bands
- Read our guide on choosing between bands, loops, buckles, and link bracelets
- Read our guide on choosing between sport bands, modern buckles, classic buckles, and rose and yellow gold Apple Watch Editions
Also, Rob Griffiths, The Many Tricks co-founder, put together a great spreadsheet of Watch and band sizes as well as weights.
The Apple Watch and the iPhone
Do I need any special software to sync Apple Watch?
Nope! The Apple Watch app is installed by default on an iPhone 5 or later running iOS 8.2 or later.
How do you pair a Watch with your iPhone?
Open up the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, select the My Watch tab, and tap Start Pairing.
How do you unpair a Watch with your iPhone?
There will be an Unpair iPhone button within the same Apple Watch app. When unpairing, you’re given the option to save a backup of your Watch’s pairing data, in case you want to repair it in the future (or you have multiple watches you’re switching between).
How far away can I be from my iPhone before it disconnects?
Traditional Bluetooth range is around 30-50 feet, but your Apple Watch has an advantage if your phone is connected to Wi-Fi. When you connect to a Wi-Fi network, your Watch will remain in contact with your phone anywhere in the building where you’re covered by that network. For example, you can be upstairs in your bedroom and take a call while your phone is downstairs on the couch.
Can you pair an Apple Watch and another Bluetooth device to your iPhone at the same time?
Apple hasn’t provided any information yet concerning pairing multiple Bluetooth devices to your iPhone alongside the Apple Watch, including Bluetooth headphones and hearing aids; that said, considering you can pair a pair of Bluetooth headphones to your Watch, we imagine you’ll be able to use both at once.
Can you pair multiple Apple Watches with the same iPhone?
Right now you can only pair one iPhone with one Apple Watch. If you want to pair with a second Apple Watch, you need to unpair the first watch — at which point a backup will be made to preserve its state — and then pair again with the second watch.
Can you use an Apple Watch with multiple iPhones?
Same as above. If you want to pair an Apple Watch with a different iPhone, you have to unpair the first, then pair again with the second.
Please tell me you’ll be able to adjust settings on the iPhone instead of having to tap around on the Apple Watch forever?
Never fear: That’s what the built-in Apple Watch app is for. Once paired, you’ll be able to adjust your notifications, taptic feedback, and all sorts of other settings goodies.
What if my iPhone isn’t around? Will my Apple Watch be useless?
Nope. Even though the Watch doesn’t have access to a data connection, you’ll still be able to do a fair amount with the device. Timekeeping, for one, will continue to work as advertised, and you’ll be able to set alarms and timers, see your calendar details, and more.
You’ll also still be able to groove along to any music playlists you’ve stored on your device (up to 2GB) and continue tracking your fitness — your heartbeat, step counts, stairs climbed, and stand-sit ratio is all stored locally while you’re away from your iPhone, and will be uploaded to the Health app as soon as you’re within pairing distance again. You won’t be able to track distance or specific routes, however, as the Watch has no GPS receiver.
Even Apple Pay works while you’re away from your iPhone: The Watch stores your Apple Pay cards as unique tokens on the device; when you activate Apple Pay near an NFC reader, the Watch uses the terminal to transmit and confirm your payment. The same goes with Passbook: Any gift cards, boarding passes, or loyalty cards you’ve added on your iPhone are automatically synced with the Watch. You don’t have to worry about having your iPhone on you if you pick up Starbucks after a run, for example.
Now, there are still some apps that won’t be functional when your iPhone is away, including messaging, Mail, Phone, Maps, Camera Remote, Weather, and Stocks. These all rely on either active data connections or GPS signals, neither of which an Apple Watch can do without an iPhone. Siri, too, will likely be MIA, as it requires a data connection to process commands. You’ll also only be able to access music and photos stored on your device; your other photos are safe and sound, but inaccessible until you once again connect to your phone.
Third-party apps remain a bit of a mystery at this point: There are some apps that may be able to function offline, but as Watch apps are currently Handoff connections with your iPhone, it remains to be seen as to just what those apps can do.
- What the Apple Watch can do without an iPhone
Will the Apple Watch drain my iPhone’s battery?
Not from what we’ve heard — the Watch uses Bluetooth 4.0 LE (Low Energy) to keep any battery drainage to a minimum — but we’ll have to do some hands-on testing when the Watch comes out in April.
How will I update the software on my Apple Watch?
Apple hasn’t addressed how WatchOS software updates will be handled on the Apple Watch, but it’s not hard to imagine they’ll be staged through the iPhone’s Apple Watch app and then pushed across over the paired connection.
Interacting with the Watch
How do you control an Apple Watch?
The Apple Watch has two physical buttons — the Digital Crown and the side button — along with a variety of gestures on the device itself.
Using the Digital Crown, you can scroll through lists or zoom in and out on the home screen, maps, photos, and more. Pressing the Crown once will send you to the home screen; pressing and holding activates Siri; a double-press switches between your watch face and the last app you used; and a triple-press activates accessibility features (if you have them turned on).
The side button is primarily designed as a quick shortcut to pull up your favorite contacts: Press once to bring up your Friends area to quickly communicate with your buddies. A press and hold turns the Watch off, much like the iPhone’s On/Off switch; and a double-press activates Apple Pay.
You’ll also be able to tap, swipe, and Force Touch the Watch’s screen. Tapping and swiping works just like it does on an iPhone; Force Touch is a special deeper press — feeling much like a click on a trackpad — that activates contextual menus within the Watch’s various applications.
- How to control your Apple Watch
Can I use Siri on the Apple Watch?
Yes! Just hold down the digital crown the way you would the Home button on your iPhone, and Siri will pop right up. Better yet, simply raise your wrist and say: “Hey, Siri!”
Does the Apple Watch include Accessibility features?
Absolutely! Although Apple hasn’t listed specific features yet, we’ve seen early indications of VoiceOver, Zoom, Grayscale, Bold, Reduce Motion, Mono Audio, and more.
The Apple Watch as a watch
So how well does the Watch work as, well, a watch?
Pretty well, actually! Apple maintains that the watch is accurate to +/- 50 milliseconds of the global time standard; when connected to the iPhone, the Watch constantly checks against the standard to make sure it’s keeping time accurately.
How many different watch faces are there?
There are nine different faces available at launch, including Chronograph, Color, Modular, Utility, Mickey Mouse, Simple, Motion, Solar, and Astronomy. Each has their own distinctive take on the watch face, and all can be customized with digital complications.
Wait, customizations and complications?
Yes! Some Watch faces include customizations that you can perform, for example, changing the color.
In addition, you have the option of adding any of Apple’s pre-built “complications” to your watch face, which include alarm alerts, the current moon phase, a timer, any upcoming calendar events, stocks, weather, your current activity, stopwatch, a world clock, and the day’s sunrise/sunset.
Some Watch faces have room for more complications than others.
Can I still use the watch if my battery’s low?
Absolutely. If you want to save your remaining drips of battery power solely for watch usage, you can enter Power Reserve mode. When your battery hits a certain percentage, the Watch will do this automatically; otherwise, you’ll be able to enable it manually.
The Apple Watch and fitness
How do the fitness monitors work?
The Apple Watch monitors your heartbeat, steps, movement, and distance using the Heart Rate sensor on its rear casing, the built-in Accelerometer, and Wi-Fi and GPS from your iPhone.
How does Apple Watch know when I need to stand or sit?
The sit/stand formula for the Apple Watch is calculated around standing at least once an hour while you’re active and awake. If you’ve stood or moved around for at least one minute in twelve different hours of the day, you’ll complete the Stand ring on the Watch’s Activity tracker.
Will Apple Watch be good for non-running activities?
It looks like it, yes! The Heart Rate monitor will help you track your non-step-based activities — including things like swimming, biking, weight lifting, and even (I hope) roller derby — and suggest caloric burn goals for the future.
The Apple Watch can also work with cardio equipment like rowing machines.
Can the Watch track my fitness even when I leave my iPhone behind?
It can! All the Watch’s fitness data is stored locally until you meet back up with your iPhone. The only thing the Watch won’t be able to track is distance, as that requires your phone’s GPS chip.
Can third-party apps use the Watch’s fitness data?
Only if you give them permission.
The Apple Watch and communication
What are these crazy new ways you can communicate with the Apple Watch?
Though you’ll be able to send good old-fashioned text and audio messages to your iPhone contacts through the Apple Watch, you’ll also be able to send quick sketches, custom taps, customizable emoji, or even your heartbeat to your other Apple Watch-wearing friends.
Can just anyone send me their heartbeat? That’s creepy.
Just like on iMessage, they’ll need to have you as a contact to do so.
Can I send sketches or taps to people without an Apple Watch?
Not as far as Apple has announced.
Will the messages I send be stored anywhere?
Traditional text and audio messages, yes. They’ll be stored the same way messages are stored on your iPhone. Taps, heartbeats, emoji, and sketches look to be Snapchat-style — send and forget.
Can I make phone calls on the Apple Watch, like in sci-fi?
Also yes! There’s a phone app on your Apple Watch just like your iPhone. It works similarly to Continuity’s call relay feature on the iPad — transiting the call from your Watch, through your iPhone, and onto your carrier’s network.
For comfort and battery life reasons, however, you’ll want to keep Apple Watch calls brief and handoff anything longer to your iPhone.
The Apple Watch and remote control
Wait, I can use the Apple Watch as a remote control?
Indeed! The Apple Watch comes with built-in apps to control music on your iPhone, to take pictures remotely on your iPhone, and even control your Apple TV and iTunes on your desktop
How does remote picture taking work?
With the Apple Watch, you can remotely access the viewfinder on your iPhone’s iSight camera. That means you can put your iPhone somewhere, see what it sees, and take the perfect picture — even from afar. That could be for a selfie, group photo, or just to get what would otherwise be an impossible shot. You can even set a time lapse, right from your wrist.
And the Apple TV remote?
Just like the Remote app for iPhone and iPad that’s already in the App Store!
What about HomeKit and home automation?
That too! With Siri, Apple’s personal digital assistant, and HomeKit, the company’s accessory interface framework, you’ll be able to do everything from opening and closing doors to setting lights to changing the temperature and more. And all with a word.
There’s already a BMW car remote, Pacemaker DJ, and an AMPLIFi remote for speakers and and guitar amps on Apple’s App Store for Watch page, and Apple demonstrated a garage door opener and closer with remote monitoring on stage.
- More on how Apple Watch will be your next remote control
Apple Watch and Apple Pay
How do I use Apple Pay with the Watch? It doesn’t have Touch ID!
Though the Watch itself doesn’t have Touch ID, it borrows your iPhone’s Touch ID authentication or password-protection to initially unlock itself for Apple Pay.
When you first strap the Watch to your wrist, you enter in your passcode or unlock your phone with Touch ID. The Watch is then unlocked and authorized for Apple Pay and stays that way until you break skin contact (i.e. remove the Watch). The same sensors that can read heart rate can tell if the Watch is removed.
Once removed, you’ll have to re-enter a passcode or authenticate on your phone to reconnect your access to Apple Pay.
As long as you’ve authorized the Watch, all you have to do is double-press its side button to bring up the Apple Pay interface, then bring it close enough to an NFC reader to pay for your item.
Unlike an iPhone, you need to press a button so that you don’t accidentally pay for things by bringing your wrist too close to NFC terminals; the iPhone has the Touch ID sensor to confirm, but the Watch is automatically set up to confirm as long as you have the Apple Pay interface open.
Do I have to have an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus to use Apple Pay?
Nope. You’ll be able to use Apple Pay on the Watch when it’s paired with an iPhone 5, 5c, 5s, 6, or 6 Plus.
What else can I do besides Apple Pay?
Apple Pay is the only digital wallet option, but third-party apps are already working on making other digital key options. The Alarm.com app will not only let you monitor a live feed of your home from your Apple Watch but also do things like open or close your garage door, even when you’re far from home. There are already iPhone apps that let you not only lock or unlock your front door, but allow access from afar on an as-needed basis.
The Starwood Hotel & Resorts app — think W and Aloft — not only lets you check in and find your room, right from the Apple Watch, but it lets you open the door as well. No, it’s not using some private NFC access, it’s just using some very, very clever technology to make sure when your watch gets close to your door, it unlocks for you and you alone. Starwood may be the first, but it probably won’t be the last. Hospitality could be big for Apple Watch.
In a recent interview, Apple CEO, Tim Cook, said Apple Watch could replace car keys and the “clumsy, large fobs” that are used in many current vehicles.
- More on how Apple Watch will be your digital wallet… and keychain
How will the Apple Watch protect my privacy and security?
Like the iPhone and iPad, the Apple Watch uses a variant of iOS, with all the security protections that iOS offers. When it comes to authentication, as noted above, breaking skin contact disables the Watch; you’ll have to enter a passcode to reenable it.
The Watch’s tethered connection with your iPhone also means that, if lost, it won’t retain a data connection, nor access to any of your personal accounts — your social networks, mail, et cetera.
The Apple Watch and apps
What apps come pre-installed on the Apple Watch?
The Apple Watch comes with the following built-in apps: Messages, Phone, Mail, Calendar, Activity, Workout, Maps, Passbook, Siri, Music, Camera Remote, (Apple TV/iTunes) Remote, Weather, Stocks, Photos, Alarm, Stopwatch, Timer, World Clock and Settings.
Will third-party apps be available? Will there be an Apple Watch App Store?
Yes and yes! Apple announced the Apple Watch SDK — WatchKit — at the original introduction event in September of 2014 and shipped the first version to developers late last year.
The current version of the WatchKit supports looks (interactive notifications), glances (widgets), and WatchKit apps (remote views) but Apple has said full-blown, native Apple Watch apps will be coming later this year. (Our guess is WWDC 2015.
How will I find Apple Watch apps?
iOS 8.2 for iPhone includes an Apple Watch app. The Apple Watch app includes an Apple Watch App Store. You can use it just like you use the regular App Store to check out featured apps and to browse the complete catalog.
How can I download apps to my Apple Watch?
Also with the Apple Watch app! Once you find an app you like in the Apple Watch App Store, you can download and install it. The app itself will go on your iPhone and the Watch-specific functionality will be sent to your Apple Watch — that includes Glances and WatchKit apps.
How can I remove apps from my Watch?
Apple hasn’t demonstrated how to remove Apple Watch apps yet, though it’s not hard to imagine deleting the associated app from your iPhone will delete the Glance or WatchKit app from your Watch.
It’s also possible Apple will have some form of on-device or in-Apple Watch app management as well.
Apple Watch and accessories
What kinds of accessories will I be able to buy?
After launch, you’ll be able to buy Apple band accessories along with spare 1m and 2m charging cables for $29 and $39, respectively.
There are also plenty of third parties currently building decorative charging stands for the Watch, some of which may be available in April or May.
Will Apple release a set of wireless headphones for the Watch?
There’s been no indication as of yet, though Apple’s Beats brand currently offers a set of $200 wireless in-ear headphones.
Will I be able to buy third-party bands?
Too early to say, though I think it’s telling that Apple has already dedicated a section of its online store to Bands, just as it does for cases and other popular third-party accessories.
Any other questions about the Apple Watch? Sound off in the comments, and we’ll try our best to answer them for you.
Originally published March 18, 2015. Rene Ritchie, Ally Kazmucha, and Peter Cohen contributed to this gigantic 6200-words-and-counting document.
- Apple Watch buyers guide
- Apple Watch specs
- Apple Watch FAQ
- Apple Watch news hub
- Apple Watch discussion
- WatchKit FAQ
- WatchKit best practices