Explore everything your Apple Watch can do in watchOS 9!
Take Control of Apple Watch
Get to know your Apple Watch and customize it to help you focus on what you care about most. Tech expert Jeff Carlson helps you understand the watch mindset, pick the watch model that’s right for you, set up and share its faces and their complications, get the notifications you want, take advantage of the health and fitness features, handle communications, and learn how the controls and core apps work.
All Take Control books are delivered in two ebook formats—PDF and EPUB—and can be read on nearly any device.
The Apple Watch has become the world’s best-selling watch, as well as the most popular wearable digital device. Since the device’s introduction in 2015, Apple has developed numerous new watch product lines, vastly expanded the device’s capabilities, and enabled developers to create entirely new apps and tools. The Apple Watch hides an enormous amount of technical complexity behind that unassuming touch screen, and with help from author Jeff Carlson, you’ll unlock every last bit of its power.
Take Control of Apple Watch covers all Apple Watch models through Series 8, the Apple Watch SE (2022), and Apple Watch Ultra, as well as all the new features introduced in watchOS 9. Jeff walks you through getting to know the Apple Watch (including how to pick one out if you haven’t already), along with topics that teach you how to navigate among the watch’s screens with the physical controls, taps on the screen, and Siri. You’ll also find advice on customizing watch faces and sharing them with others; taking advantage of the electrocardiogram (ECG) capability and blood oxygen sensor, plus the temperature sensors introduced in the Series 8 and Ultra; getting the notifications you want; handling text and voice communications; using Apple’s core apps; and monitoring your heart rate, hearing, and monthly cycle to improve your overall health. A final chapter discusses taking care of your Apple Watch, including recharging, restarting, resetting, and restoring.
Among the many topics covered in the book are:
Picking out and setting up your own Apple Watch—covers models up through Series 8, Apple Watch SE (2022), and Apple Watch Ultra
Making watch face complications work for you
Using the Control Center and Dock
Understanding how the watch interacts with your iPhone (including how to control your watch with your iPhone)
Staying connected using a cellular-enabled Apple Watch model
Using Siri on your watch for a wide variety of tasks
Tracking your exercise, even when you leave your iPhone at home
Using your watch to monitor sleep data
Placing and receiving phone calls on the watch
Getting navigation directions (and using the redesigned Compass app, including waypoints and the Backtrack feature introduced in watchOS 9)
Using the Walkie-Talkie feature to chat with other Apple Watch owners
Sending default (and customized) text messages—and even sending money via Messages
Seeing email from only certain people
Adding calendar events and reminders
Loading your watch with photos and using them to create new watch faces
Doing workouts with Apple Fitness+
Finding people, devices, and items
Controlling your home with HomeKit-compatible devices
Triggering the iPhone’s camera remotely using the watch
Paying at contactless terminals using Apple Pay
Putting tickets on your watch
Using health-related features such as the blood oxygen sensor and medication reminders, plus the ECG, Cycle Tracking, and Noise apps
Detecting falls and (with newer watch models) car crashes, and automatically calling for help
Controlling an Apple TV, or Music on a Mac with the Remote app
Unlocking a Mac (and authenticating certain actions) with your watch
Adding apps to the watch via your iPhone or the watch’s built-in App Store
Resetting a messed-up Apple Watch and force-quitting an app
Jeff Carlson is a contributing editor of TidBITS, a frequent contributor to DPReview, Macworld, and CreativePro, and the author of best-selling books on the Mac, digital photography, and, in earlier incarnations, web design and Palm organizers. He consumes almost too much coffee. Almost.
What's New in Version 3.1
This update adds a few followups that Apple announced but hadn’t yet implemented when watchOS 9 was initially released, as well as other changes now in watchOS 9.2. Specifically:
There’s a neat security feature that turns off an iPhone 14 Pro always-on screen if the watch gets too far from the phone.
Want more watch faces than what Apple provides? The app Clockology presents a novel workaround. See “Customize Further with Clockology.”
I added a tip about how to bypass the countdown when you start a workout in “Work the Workout.”
Runners and cyclists can compete against their earlier workout times at the same locations using the Race Route feature. And if you run on a track that the watch knows (via GPS), you can specify which lane you’re in and get more accurate distance measurements. See “Race Route and Track Detection.”
I didn’t include the Calculator app in the book because it’s a basic, straightforward calculator. But the app does have a cool Tip feature for computing gratuities on the watch (which is now in “Use Apple Pay and Wallet”).
On the Apple Watch Series 8, SE, and Ultra models, the built-in GPS takes precedence when calculating location, even if the companion iPhone is nearby. Earlier models still offload that task to the iPhone to conserve battery power. See “About the GPS.”
I noted in “Use Emergency Features” that International Emergency SOS calling is now available.
What Was New in the Third Edition
This book started as Apple Watch: A Take Control Crash Course and was published even before the first Apple Watch arrived. Since then, the watch has become a major product in Apple’s lineup and I see people wearing them everywhere. The book you’re reading now was completely overhauled and expanded into a full Take Control title for version 1.0. This new edition has been updated to cover changes in watchOS 9.
Noteworthy changes include:
On the hardware front, this edition covers the new Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch SE (2022), and Apple Watch Ultra (which features the Action Button).
The Nike+ watch faces and bands are now available to any watch owner, not just to those who buy Nike-specific models (which are now no longer offered). See “Which Watch?”
Power Reserve mode has been replaced with a new Low Power mode that isn’t as restrictive (and another Ultra-specific battery-saving mode is coming in late 2022). See “Recharge the Watch.”
Apple continues to focus on the health-related features of the watch, so I’ve pushed the “Stay Healthy with the Apple Watch” section forward in the book.
The method of changing which metrics appear during a workout has gotten an overhaul, which is reflected in “Customize the Workout Display.”
Now that the Ultra can descend underwater to 100 meters and Apple includes a new Depth app, the “Swim Workouts” section is now “Water Workouts.”
Apple expanded what you can see after a workout, so I created a new “Review Your Workout” section.
The watch (and iPhone) can help you stay on top of your medications by reminding you to take your meds and even highlight possible adverse drug interactions.
The “Track Your Cycle” section has been updated to include the new temperature sensors on the Series 8 and Ultra models, and how they can help predict ovulation cycles.
The “View Sleep Data” section is updated to account for the more detailed information the watch captures while you snooze.
I added a new section on how to send money via Messages.
The Compass app in watchOS 9 is completely different, with the capability to mark waypoints and use the new Backtrack feature to retrace your steps on some models. See “Use the Compass.”
The Calendar app now includes the capability to create calendar events and also adds a weekly view of your schedule.
I updated the “Accessibility” section to account for new options, such as controlling nearby devices using the watch.
You can also control the watch from your iPhone, which is great if you need a larger target for interacting with the watch or if you’re giving a remote presentation and need to share what’s on your watch.
The latest watches can help detect if you’ve been in a car crash and then automatically contact emergency resources. See “Detect Falls and Crashes.”