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Apple Watch tips and tricks guide: Best hidden Apple Watch features

Our Apple Watch tips and tricks guide shows you how to get started with the latest Apple Watch, revealing some of the most useful hidden features in WatchOS 3. Here's our full guide to getting the most from your Apple Watch.

The Apple Watch Series 2 adds loads of great new features to the original Watch, including built-in GPS and full waterproofing. And with the very latest version of WatchOS on board, there are loads of useful features hidden away that you might not know about.

This tips and tricks guide aims to reveal some of the best little hidden features of the Apple Watch Series 2 and WatchOS 3, so you get the most from your sexy wearable. Head over to our comprehensive Apple Watch hub for all you need to know about the device.

How to setup your Apple Watch

When you first pull your Watch out of its packaging, you'll need to go through the setup process to pair with your iPhone. Thankfully this is a pretty straightforward process, as you'll see in our video below. Just make sure your iPhone is charged up before you get started.

How to download new apps for the Apple Watch

The Watch 2 comes with a selection of pre-installed apps, but you'll want to download and install some new apps from Apple's App Store to boost your shiny new wearable's functionality. To do so, you'll need your iPhone - you can't download apps to your Watch 2 directly through the watch itself.

The easiest way to find Apple Watch 2 apps is through the Watch app on your iPhone. Where is the Apple Watch app on your iPhone? You should find it right there on your desktops, unless you've already deleted it. In which case, simply head to the App Store and re-download.

Open the Watch app and you'll see an 'App Store' section at the bottom of the screen. Give that a tap and you'll see Apple's currently featured apps, including fitness trackers, news streamers, sports apps, recipe suggesters. There's even a decent collection of games, for killing time as you wait for your bus to eventually rock up.

How to change and reorder your Apple Watch faces

You can change your current watch face at any time, simply by powering on your Apple Watch and swiping your finger left or right across the screen. This allows you to choose from a pretty varied selection of faces, including digital and analogue timepieces, some picturesque portraits and even Mickey and Minnie.

You can change the order that these show up in by heading into the Apple Watch app on your iPhone. Go to the My Watch page and then tap 'Edit' next to My Faces and you can delete any faces you don't like and reorder the others, so you're not swiping for ages to find your favourites.

How to edit and customise Apple Watch faces

You can also edit any watch face, to change the information that's displayed via the 'complications' (as Apple calls them).

Once again head to My Watch inside the Apple Watch app and tap on the face you wish to edit in the My Faces section. From the faces menu, you can change the overall colour scheme and also alter what info pops up. You get a wide choice of essential info, including activity feedback, calendar reminders and mail notifications.

Even better, these complications act as shortcuts to the relevant apps. So tap a calendar reminder and you'll be taken to the calendar app, for a full overview of your coming day.

If you want to edit your watch face direct from the Watch itself, simply hard press the watch face (poke it really hard). The Watch's 3D Touch screen will detect the extra pressure and a 'customise' option will pop up. Tap that and you can alter the colour by fiddling with the dial, or flick your finger left to set up the complications.

How to download new watch faces for your Apple Watch

If you're bored of the default watch face choices and want to try something new, that's also perfectly possible.

Just head to the Apple Watch app and tap the App Store shortcut at the bottom of the screen. From here you can search for 'watch face' and discover hundreds of new faces to download and try out. Quite a lot of these cost a quid or two, but some are free to try out.

Finding and choosing new watch faces will be a lot easier with WatchOS 4, which also brings in some awesome fresh new first-party faces from Apple. This includes a nifty Siri face and some cool Toy Story faces.

How to customise your Apple Watch dock

The Apple Watch Series 2's dock feature gives you fast access to your favourite Watch apps. Just tap the side button beneath the dial and you'll see a scrollable list of your most-used applications.

The watch dock is of course completely customisable. Just press and hold your finger on any app and it will 'pop' free, allowing you to reposition it in the menu. Alternatively, swipe it up and you have the option to remove it.

Scroll to the very right of the dock list and you'll see your last opened app. You'll have the option to add this to the dock; just tap 'keep in dock'.

You can also edit the Apple Watch dock from the Apple Watch app. Just head to My Watch and tap Dock and you can choose exactly what apps to include and exclude, as well as the order in which they appear.

How to use the Apple Watch Control Center

Flick your fingertip up the screen from your main watch face and you'll find the shiny new Control Center, introduced in WatchOS 3. This gives you fast access to some important features, which can be toggled on and off to save power and so on.

First up is a battery life indicator, telling you how much power remains in your Watch. Beside this is the Airplane Mode toggle, which turns off connectivity for your watch. Note that this does NOT turn on Airplane Mode on your iPhone.

Next up is Silent Mode, which stops your Apple Watch from beeping and making other noises. Then you have Do Not Disturb, which cancels all notifications so your watch doesn't buzz non-stop on your wrist.

After that comes Find My iPhone, which makes your handset bleep if it's in range. Handy if it always ends up down the back of the sofa.

The little water drop button beside Find My iPhone basically locks your screen, and is designed to be used when you're going for a swim. This stops your Watch from going crazy in the water, as the touchscreen can sometimes register presses on contact with liquid. When you're done, spin the Watch dial fast to unlock your screen again and eject any water from the device's speakers.

Finally there's a Watch lock toggle (which requires PIN entry to bypass) and the Airplay toggle.

How to activate Siri on the Apple Watch

A quick double-tap of the dial button will call up Siri. You can ask her a question or get her to load up an app with a quick command.

What is Theatre Mode and how does it work?

Theatre Mode is one of the biggest new features which Apple added to the Watch in the WatchOS 3.2 update.

This is essentially a way of keeping your Watch quiet when you don't want to be disturbed. Such as the theatre. Hence the name.

Theatre Mode will mute any incoming alerts and stop the Watch screen from waking when you move your wrist. Haptics alerts will still happen as normal, with noise and screen notifications disabled so no one else notices.

To activate Theatre Mode, head to the Control Center and tap the drama masks icon. To disable it again, just tap the screen or press the Apple Watch's Digital Crown.

How to enter emergency SOS contact details on your Apple Watch

Hold the side button down and you'll not only have the option to turn your Apple Watch off, but also to ping your emergency contacts using the new SOS feature. This is great news for anyone who may require urgent attention.

To change your emergency contact details or disable this feature, head to the Apple Watch app and then tap 'General' in the My Watch menu. From here, poke Emergency SOS.

Download games to keep your brain busy

If you're desperate for a quick distraction but can't fiddle with your phone for whatever reason, then the Apple Watch can rescue you with its growing selection of games and other time wasters. You can get some decent brain trainers and puzzle games on there right now, which are well suited to the tiny screen. Hell, you can even play a game of Solitaire on there, if your eyesight's up to it.

Check out our compilation of the best Apple Watch 2 games you can download right now.

How to update the Apple Watch

Apple regularly updates the Apple Watch with fresh new features, bug fixes and other worthy bits.

To check for a new update, head to the Watch app on your iPhone and scroll down in the My Watch tab until you find the General section. Tap this and then prod 'software update'. This will check your Apple Watch version and then search for any waiting updates.

If an update is found, you'll want to charge up your Watch and keep it attached to the charger. Download and install the update via your phone, keeping your Watch in close proximity for the duration.

We're constantly updating this Apple Watch tips and tricks feature with new tips and hidden features. Stay tuned for more! In the meantime, check out our guide to 20 pretty cool things you can do with the Apple Watch.

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