The combination of the Apple Watch Series 6 and the new WatchOS 7 software is a powerful one: The new Apple Watch comes with several notable improvements and a variety of useful little features that can help in your daily life — as long as you know about them. We’re helping out with a list of our favorite tricks and the best tips for using the Series 6 Watch to the fullest extent. You’ll definitely want to make a note about these!
Oh, and to learn more about all the things that WatchOS 7 can do, check out our favorite WatchOS 7 features.
Fast charge your way to reliable battery life
The Apple Watch Series 6 finally offers fast-charging support for high-wattage chargers, so that you can speed things up and cut down on downtime for your Watch. However, it’s going to take third-party charges a while to catch up to the new charging standard, so for now, the best way to take advantage of this fast charging is to use the 10-watt charger the Apple Watch comes with.
Use the always-on display more effectively
Apple Watches have had “always-on” displays for a couple of Series now, which allows the Watch to show useful alerts and data without the need to activate or unlock the Watch. The Series 6 takes this to another level with two useful improvements that users should know about.
First, the always-on display is much brighter than past Watches — Apple has done this on purpose to make things easier to read at a glance. Fortunately, you don’t need to do anything to enable this, just enjoy it. Second, the always-on display now has direct control capabilities. You can tap on things for basic features, without unlocking the Watch. That means you can tap on complications, access your notification center to take a closer look at a message, and open up the Control Center, all at a moment’s notice.
Activate Siri with wrist motion
Do you give Siri commands via the Apple Watch? The Series 6 has a super-handy new feature for this – simply lift your wrist at any time and say your Siri command, without the need to say “Hey Siri.” The wrist motion will automatically let Siri know it’s all right to start listening, without unlocking the Watch, so you can give immediate commands or ask quick questions. It’s so intuitive, we can’t believe this wasn’t included before.
Track blood oxygen levels
For the Series 6, Apple has redesigned the way it measures certain health factors and added the ability to measure your blood oxygen levels (or Sp02 data). You can find this option in the Health app under Respiratory information, or you can visit the dedicated Blood Oxygen app that WatchOS now includes.
Your Watch will also monitor background measurements of blood oxygen several times throughout the day, which allows you to check how much oxygen your body is getting over time. Apple warns that this shouldn’t be used to diagnose any specific condition, but it can be an insight into overall respiratory health, and in some cases doctors may be interested in checking that data along with other testing.
Use the new and improved altimeter
Apple has redesigned the altimeter in the Series 6. It still tracks your elevation, but now it offers real-time elevation changes using a more powerful, accurate sensor. This actually makes the altimeter useful now: Hikers, climbers, skiers, and even surveyors can now use the tool to track real-time elevation changes, even if it’s just a foot or two of difference.
Control universal volume for Now Playing with the Digital Crown
“Digital Crown” is the fancy name for the large rotating dial on the side of the Watch that you use to go Home. On the Series 6, any time you are in Now Playing mode for playing any kind of audio, you can twist the Crown to control the volume.
Use the new theater mode
If you are ever in a situation where the light or noise from your Apple Watch is unwanted, the Control Panel now includes a Theater Mode option. Activate it, and it will keep the screen dark until you manually activate it again, no matter what alerts or notifications you get.
On a similar note, if your Apple Watch suddenly starts making noise when you really don’t it, like during a meeting, just cover it with your palm. The Watch will sense this and automatically stop doing anything, leaving you to carry on in peace.
Wash your hands with confidence
It’s no surprise that hand washing has become a more important activity lately, and the Apple Watch Series 6, combined with the latest software updates from WatchOS 7, can play a surprisingly important role. It has a passive ability that uses the array of sensors to detect when you are washing your hands (listening for running water, hand movements, etc.). The Watch will then start a hidden 20-second timer for your handwashing experience. If you stop before the 20 seconds are up, the Watch will send a quick vibration to let you know you should probably keep going: The 20-second limit is a guideline both the WHO and the CDC agree on, so Apple’s not just making this up.