Home How-To-Guides A Comprehensive Guide to Using the Apple Watch with watchOS 10

A Comprehensive Guide to Using the Apple Watch with watchOS 10

Posted: October 3, 2023


The Apple Watch, a groundbreaking addition to Apple's product line, has a distinct operating scheme compared to its counterparts, such as the iPad, iPhone, and Mac. Its interface relies on touch-based gestures and button actions, all contributing to the Watch's functionality. Apple pushes the boundaries of innovation with its innovative watchOS 10, featuring a pressure-sensitive touch screen, a microphone, a Digital Crown, and a power-like button.

Brief Overview of the Apple Watch

As a new product for Apple, the Apple Watch is a smartwatch whose operation is only partly similar to the conventional devices. Despite having a touchscreen, it lacks pinch-to-zoom functionality but compensates with pressure sensitivity, enabling fine control over interaction. Apple has substituted the home button found on its traditional devices for the innovative Digital Crown on the side of the Apple Watch. Functioning as a scroll wheel and home button in one, the Digital Crown is as unique as it is useful. Furthermore, with its dual functions, the power button underpins the Apple Watch's defining features.

Software Update in watchOS 10

In line with its commitment to innovation, Apple released the watchOS 10 update. This software enhancement equips the Apple Watch with additional features to improve its functionality and user interface. Building on the existing pressure-sensitive touchscreen and revolutionary button design, the watchOS 10 update aims to enhance users' experience with the Apple Watch. Users can now find apps, directions, and make payments with simple gestures or button presses. By incorporating such enhancements, watchOS 10 helps users seamlessly adapt to the unique interaction scheme of the Apple Watch.

Click, Double-Click, and Hold

The Apple Watch uses a sequence of button actions — click, double click and hold. These actions unlock various functionalities that stand out from the touch-based gestures. Clicking once, for instance, can activate or deactivate the device. A double click triggers the Apple Pay or returns you to the last app you were using. On the other hand, holding the button activates the power-off interface. These actions, combined with touch-based gestures, make utilizing the Apple Watch a more straightforward experience.

Buttons on The Standard Apple Watch

The primary manipulation mechanisms on the Apple Watch are concentrated on its exterior controls—the Digital Crown and the Side Button, alongside touch-based gestures like swiping on the watch face. Both the buttons and touch interface contribute significantly to the overall user experience of the Apple Watch.

The Digital Crown: Spinning, Clicking, Double-Clicking, Holding

The Digital Crown, the dial located on the side of the Apple Watch, plays a multitasking role in controlling the Watch. When spun, it enables the user to scroll up and down within a page, providing a smooth navigation experience without obstructing the screen view. A single click on the Crown calls up the list of apps, while another click will redirect the user back to the watch face. For users to access their recently used apps, a double-click is required. In addition, holding down the Digital Crown activates Siri, Apple's intelligent assistant. If users unintentionally activate Siri, they can disable this feature from the Siri settings under the Watch app on their paired iPhone.

The Side Button: Clicking, Double-Clicking, Holding

The Side button is beside the Digital Crown, another exceptional element of the Apple Watch. A single click opens the Control Center, providing easy access to critical device settings. To initiate Apple Pay, the user can double-click the Side button— a secure and efficient mobile payment method. Moreover, holding the Side button opens a multitude of options:

  • Powering off the Watch
  • Viewing the Medical ID
  • Tracking the location
  • Phoning for emergency services

Watch Face: Swiping Up, Swiping Down

Additionally, the Apple Watch utilizes the touchscreen interface to further accommodate users' needs. By swiping up from the watch face, users can view their widgets, including running timers, ongoing Maps directions, and currently playing music or podcasts. These widgets can be customized to display other information, such as weather updates or messages. Conversely, swiping down on the face brings up notifications, keeping users updated with important news.

Buttons on The Apple Watch Ultra

The Apple Watch Ultra, an advanced version of the standard Apple Watch, incorporates an additional "Action Button." This feature, coupled with the Digital Crown and the Side Button, equips the Watch with enhanced functionality and user control.

The Action Button: Clicking, Holding

An exclusive on the Apple Watch Ultra, the Action Button is designed to provide quick access to various functions based on users' preferences. A simple click activates one of several possible actions, including turning on the flashlight, initiating a workout, setting a hiking waypoint, running a stopwatch, or executing a Shortcut. Users can customize the Action Button's functionality from the Watch's settings. A prolonged hold on the Action Button will trigger a loud siren noise, a feature designed to alert others to your location in case you are lost or hurt. This functionality can be disabled from the Watch settings to prevent accidental activation.

The Digital Crown: Spinning, Clicking, Double-Clicking, Holding

The Digital Crown of the Apple Watch Ultra maintains the same functionalities as the standard Apple Watch. Users can spin the Crown to scroll up or down, click to see the list of apps, return to the watch face, and double-click to display recently used apps. Holding down the Digital Crown will activate Siri. The option to prevent accidental activation of Siri is available in the Siri settings from the iPhone's Watch app.

The Side Button: Clicking, Double-Clicking, Holding

Just like on the standard version, the Side Button on the Apple Watch Ultra provides one-click access to the Control Center, activates Apple Pay when double-clicked, and launches a set of emergency options when held down— from powering off the Watch and showing your Medical ID to tracking location or calling emergency services.

Watch Face: Swiping Up, Swiping Down

Similarly, the touchscreen interface on the Apple Watch Ultra operates the same way as the standard version. Swiping up from the watch face displays widgets, which users can customize to quickly access information like weather forecasts, music controls, and more. Swiping down presents all your notifications, ensuring you don't miss any vital updates or messages.

Customizing and Managing Actions

One of the key design philosophies behind the Apple Watch is the ability for users to customize and manage the device based on their individual preferences. From setting the Action button to managing Siri and siren noise functions, the Apple Watch oozes a customized approach to meet personal user demands.

Customizing Widgets and Setting the Action Button

On the watch face, swiping up opens the widget mode, which displays running timers, ongoing Maps directions, music or podcasts playing, and other customizable features. Depending on your needs, these widgets can be tailored to provide quick access to information such as weather updates, messages, and your favorite apps. The Action button can be customized for advanced models like the Apple Watch Ultra to quickly access the user's favorite features. Through the Settings on the Apple Watch, the user can configure this button to initiate a range of actions such as starting a workout, setting a hiking waypoint, running a stopwatch, or even executing a Shortcut.

Managing Siri and Siren Noise Functions

The activation and application of Siri, Apple's intelligent personal assistant, can be controlled via the Digital Crown. Holding down the Crown will turn on Siri, allowing voice-controlled instruction on the Watch. Due to their wrist positioning, whether for the standard Apple Watch or the Apple Watch Ultra, users may find themselves accidentally activating Siri, but this can be easily managed. The option to disable this feature is available under the Watch app on the paired iPhone. Moreover, on the Apple Watch Ultra, holding down the Action Button activates a loud siren noise, designed to help users signal for help when in distress. To prevent accidental activation, this feature can also be disabled from the Settings on the Apple Watch.