Apple Watch Tips and Thoughts After 2 Years and 2 Months

I have been using my Apple Watch Series 1 for over two years, ever since I was lucky enough to get an early release watch through the Apple developers program. When a friend recently purchased a used one, I sent him a few tips. I figured it has most of the things I would want to pass on to any new user, so without further ado.

For me the series 1 watch has been entirely waterproof. Inspired by Craig Hockenberry. I have gone swimming vigorously in the pool, hot tub, ocean, shower, etc. This is not a guarantee or even recommendation and not what apple warrantees, but >2 years in, it’s been fine for me.

Since the WatchOS 3 updates, texting on the phone watch app is actually pretty decent. Quick replies and emoji actually cover a lot of situations. Siri works quite well. The ability to scribble text for short custom messages when I can’t speak is pretty great and reliable.

Possibly my favorite feature is being able to tap “find phone” in the watch’s control center from watch, which makes my phone beep loudly.

The watch’s integration with Apple maps is fairly slick when driving. looking at my wrist shows the upcoming step quite reliably, and as I am approaching a turn, it taps either left or right patterns to both remind me that the turn is coming and indicate which way to go.

Best workout app for me so far has been workouts . Very customizable, plus it uses the crown to end or pause a workout.

Best sleep app: Autosleep. I have a couple quibbles, but overall, it’s great. Totally automagical. I don’t have to turn on an app when I start sleeping, it just looks at my watches internal motion and heart rate information.

It’s a niche use case, but using the watch with wireless headphones alone without phone does actually work fairly well. Getting content onto the Watch is a little bit of a PITA. You can have one synced playlist with iTunes, and now Overcast app allows you to sync a couple of podcasts to be on the watch itself. The interface for this is simple and great. It is ok from a reliability standpoint, but when I have wanted to go for runs without my phone it has worked ~ 75% of the time. Hopefully, Apple makes this increasingly easier for developers.

Using the complications as a place to launch apps from is really helpful. I have a couple of different watch faces set up with my most used apps for just this purpose.

Timer and Alarm complications are probably my most used functions.

Having the timer as a complication is something I use all the time because of my failing memory to remind me to do something in a fixed period of time. Simple, but effective.

The alarm app on the watch is 10 times better than on the phone. First of all, setting alarms on my watch is more pleasant than on the phone due to the crown. But most of all, for my sleeping alarm, being woken up with some taps on my wrist is less jarring and I don’t have to worry about waking up my bride if we are getting up at different times.

Lastly, since I clearly use watch functions while I sleep, I need it to have enough charge for the night. I find that ~20% is the minimum for a full night of sleep, but that is cutting it close. So I try to make sure it’s at least 35%, especially if I will be relying on the alarm. Likewise, an hour of working out requires ~20-25% as a minimum.

I typically charge it while I shower, and when I flop on the bed before sleep, if I remember, but because it’s important to have a charge while I sleep for my alarms particularly, I did break down and get a second charger that I keep in my office. I added the office charging to my routines, since I use it for workouts, which makes the margin for error slimmer at night, especially if I forget to end a workout and it is running the heart rate monitor all that time.

Overall, I still love it and after over two years, it is running strong. I’ll be curious to see how long the battery will be able to keep up. I’m pretty sure that I will be tempted to get a (currently non-existent) series 3/4 before it has become unable to hold a charge.

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