Explore everything your Apple Watch can do in watchOS 9!

Take Control of
Apple Watch

Third Edition
Jeff Carlson

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

About Jeff Carlson

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.”
  • Read Me First
    • Updates and More
    • What’s New in Version 3.1
    • What Was New in the Third Edition
  • Introduction
  • Apple Watch Quick Start
  • Understand the Apple Watch
    • The iPhone Connection
    • Charge the Apple Watch
    • Apple Pay and Wallet
    • Security
    • Which Watch?
    • Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Cellular Connections
    • Watch Bands
  • Apple Watch First Tasks
    • Switch to the App List View
    • Turn Off the Option to Auto-Add Apps
    • Set the Watch’s Default Wi-Fi Network
    • Set the Appearance and Feedback
    • Set Up Medical ID
    • Activate Find My Apple Watch
    • Give Siri a Try
  • Interact with the Apple Watch
    • The Digital Crown
    • The Side Button
    • The Action Button
    • Interact with the Screen
    • Talk to Your Wrist
    • Haptic Feedback
  • Personalize the Apple Watch Face
    • Pick a Watch Face
    • Set Up and Use Complications
    • Save a Custom Face
    • Use Your Own Photos
    • Share Watch Faces
  • Use Control Center
    • Connection Info
    • Cellular
    • Wi-Fi
    • Airplane Mode
    • Battery Level
    • Ping iPhone
    • Flashlight
    • Focus
    • Silent Mode
    • Theater Mode
    • Water Lock
    • AirPlay
    • Audio Controls
    • Announce Messages
    • Walkie Talkie
    • Schooltime
    • Text Size
    • Edit Control Center Icons
  • Work with Apps
    • Locate and Open Apps
    • Access the Dock
    • Add and Organize Dock Apps
    • Turn Off Animation
    • Customize the Home Screen
    • Install Apps
    • Remove Apps
  • Manage Notifications
    • Act on a Notification
    • Keep Notifications Private
    • View Missed Notifications
    • Clear Notifications
    • Choose Which Notifications You Receive
    • Choose Feedback for Alerts
    • Receive Mail from VIPs Only
  • Stay Healthy with the Apple Watch
    • Activity Tracking
    • Monitor Your Heart Health
    • Measure Your Blood Oxygen Level
    • Work the Workout
    • Calibrate the Sensors
    • Share Activity
    • Monitor Your Hearing
    • Stay on Top of Your Medications
    • Track Your Cycle
    • Be More Mindful
    • Sleep Better
    • Thoroughly Wash Your Hands
  • Communicate with Friends
    • Reply to Messages
    • Chat Using the Messages App
    • Communicate by Phone
    • Speak Using Walkie-Talkie
  • Communicate Using Mail
    • Read Email
    • Reply to a Message
    • Write Email
    • Personalize Mail Browsing
  • Control Your Home
    • Control Lights and Accessories Using the Home App
    • Broadcast Using the Intercom Feature
  • Use Apple Pay and Wallet
    • Set Up Cards for Apple Pay
    • Use Apple Pay in Person
    • Use Apple Pay on a Mac
    • Work in Wallet
    • Send Money via Messages
    • Unlock Doors Using Home Keys
  • Use Maps and Directions
    • Find a Location Using Siri
    • Find a Location Using the Maps App
    • Get Directions
    • Return Home
    • Use the Compass
    • About the GPS
    • Find People, Devices, and Items
  • Manage Calendars and Reminders
    • Open the Calendar App
    • Views in the Calendar App
    • Use Siri with Calendar
    • Create Calendar Events
    • Respond to a Reminder
    • Use the Reminders App
    • Set Timers
  • Experience Media on the Apple Watch
    • Now Playing
    • Listen to Music, Podcasts, and Audiobooks
    • Control Media Remotely
    • View (and Capture) Photos
  • Use Family Setup
    • Add a Watch Using Family Setup
    • Configure Schooltime Mode
  • Customizations and Important Settings
    • Watch Orientation
    • Wake Screen Options
    • Adjust Appearance
    • Sounds and Haptics
    • Rename Your Watch
    • Nightstand Mode
    • Accessibility
    • Passcode
    • Wrist Detection
    • Control the Watch from Your iPhone
    • Pair Another Watch
    • Unlock Your Mac
    • Use Emergency Features
  • Care and Feeding of Your Apple Watch
    • Recharge the Watch
    • Restart the Watch
    • Reset the Watch
    • Restore the Watch
    • Updating the Watch’s Software
    • If the Watch Goes Missing
    • Cleaning
  • About This Book
    • Ebook Extras
    • About the Author
    • About the Publisher
    • Credits
  • Copyright and Fine Print

Jeff Carlson Appears on MacVoices to Discuss Apple Watch

Posted by Joe Kissell on December 4, 2022

Jeff Carlson joined host Chuck Joiner on MacVoices to talk about the new edition of Take Control of Apple Watch.

In part one, Jeff discusses the Apple Watch generally, as well as the new Backtrack feature.

In part two, Jeff covers a variety of Apple Watch features and controls, including the use of Siri.

Jeff Carlson discusses Apple Watch updates on MacVoices

Posted by Joe Kissell on November 10, 2021

Jeff Carlson joined host Chuck Joiner on MacVoices to talk about Take Control of Apple Watch, Second Edition.

In part one, Jeff covers some of the new features in watchOS 8 and the Series 7 Apple Watch models.

In part two, Jeff talks about Apple Watch apps, sensors, and more.

Jeff Carlson discusses Apple Watch updates on MacVoices

Posted by Joe Kissell on October 13, 2020

Jeff Carlson joined Chuck Joiner on MacVoices in a two-part interview to discuss his updated book Take Control of Apple Watch.

In Part 1, Jeff discusses new features such as sleep tracking and Family Setup.

In Part 2, Jeff covers the Series 6 blood oxygen sensor, sharing watch faces, the hand washing alert, and new apps.

MacVoices Interviews Jeff Carlson about Apple Watch

Posted by Joe Kissell on April 22, 2020

Chuck Joiner interviewed Jeff Carlson on MacVoices to discuss his new book Take Control of Apple Watch in a two-part episode.

In Part 1, Jeff discusses how his old Crash Course evolved into a full-blown Take Control book and explains why everyone should have an Apple Watch!

In Part 2, Jeff covers health features, the App Store, and more.


There are no reviews yet.

Be the first to review “Take Control of Apple Watch”

You may also like…