It’s About Time: Learning How to Set Watch Faces, Alarms, Timers, and More - Just the Tasks, Ma’am - Apple Watch For Dummies (2015)

Apple Watch For Dummies (2015)

Part II. Just the Tasks, Ma’am


webextra  Visit for more great Dummies content online.

In this part …

check.png Learn about all ten Apple Watch faces as well as how to customize them and add complications to them. Then, you can discover how to turn your Apple Watch into an alarm, stopwatch, and timer.

check.png Explore the Friends ring and how to add contacts to your Apple Watch. Then, find out how to use your Apple Watch to make and take phone calls, send and receive text messages, and read and manage your email. You can also learn how to send your actual heartbeat to a friend or loved one.

check.png Turn your Apple Watch into a miniature media outlet by adding Glances and Notifications on topics you care about, such as the current weather, stock market performance, breaking news, live sports scores, and more. Then, learn how to keep track of appointments with the Calendar app and how to use your Apple Watch as a GPS via the Maps app.

Chapter 4. It’s About Time: Learning How to Set Watch Faces, Alarms, Timers, and More

In This Chapter

arrow Looking at the built-in watch faces

arrow Understanding customizations and complications

arrow Switching between watch faces for Apple Watch

arrow Accessing the time within any app

arrow Using the World Clock app

arrow Mastering the Stopwatch, Timer, and Alarm apps

Apple Watch is a watch after all, so chances are you’ll use it a lot to tell time. But unlike a traditional analog watch or even most digital watches, Apple Watch lets you choose the face you want. This way, you can select what you’d like to see and how you’d like the information displayed.

This chapter looks at the ten watch faces you can choose from and customize so you can truly make Apple Watch your own as well as the different ways to access the watch face on Apple Watch. I also review other time-related apps preinstalled by Apple, including the World Clock, Stopwatch, Timer, and Alarm apps.

Looking at the Built-In Watch Faces

Why be stuck with only one watch face when you can have multiple ones to choose from?

That’s one of the reasons why people like a smartwatch. Because you’ve got a screen that can show virtually anything on it, you can go with a classic analog face (yes, with moving hands!), a digital watch face (just numbers), a hybrid of the two, or even one with animation on it.

It’s a breeze to change these watch faces whenever you like — see the “Choosing From the Various Watch Faces” section later in this chapter — and without having to open up the Apple Watch app on your iPhone. By default, your watch face is one called Modular, which is a basic digital clock, along with an area for the date, calendar events, temperature, and a world clock if you like.

Nothing gets past Apple fans

Apple Watch offers ten different faces: Astronomy, Chronograph, Color, Mickey Mouse, Modular, Motion, Simple, Solar, Utility, and X-Large. Each one can be customized with different customizations and complications — both of which are discussed in this chapter. But when Apple Watch was first announced in fall 2014, two other watch faces were advertised, as noted by a few Apple fanboys on social media. Curiously missing at launch are the Photo and Timeless faces, which both show a photo behind the time. Perhaps it eats up too much power? Too bad because they looked cool.

By the way, while you’ve got many watch faces to choose from and customize, Apple hints in its Apple Watch User Guide ( that it may add more options in the future. It says: “Apple Watch includes a variety of watch faces, any of which you can customize to suit you. Check frequently for software updates; the set of watch faces that follows might differ from what you see on your Apple Watch.”

Plus, in the Apple Watch App Store, you can download many more watch faces — in the form of an app — to truly make Apple Watch uniquely yours (such as a virtual Cuckoo Clock app). But to get you going, Apple has installed ten built-in watch faces.


Apple says it worked with astrophysicists to create this visually striking watch face, as shown in Figure 4-1. It shows the time and date at the top of the screen, but you can turn the Digital Crown button to see Earth’s rotation, the moon phases, and even the entire solar system — all accurately displayed in time. Consider it a throwback to the oldest way to tell time: with stars, planets, and our moon.


Figure 4-1: The Astronomy watch face.


Resembling an analog stopwatch, the Chronograph watch face has one main analog clock — with hour, minute, and second hands — but also two additional smaller hands: one for total time and a second for lap times, as shown in Figure 4-2. These secondary faces are very customizable too. You can also choose to place additional information in each of the four corners, which is explained in greater depth later in this chapter in the “Differentiating Between Customizations and Complications” section.


Figure 4-2: The Chronograph watch face.


By twisting the Digital Crown button, you can choose a watch face color that suits your outfit, style, or mood. This classic analog face can be as minimalist or as busy as you like based on the number of complications you select. See Figure 4-3 for the Color watch face.


Figure 4-3: The Color watch face.

Mickey Mouse

The classic Mickey Mouse analog watch — shown in Figure 4-4 — has been reinvented for Apple Watch. Mickey’s arms move around the dial as they point to the correct hour and minute while his foot taps every second. Expect the Mickey Mouse face to be a fan favorite among Apple Watch wearers.


Figure 4-4: The Mickey Mouse watch face.

Oh, Mickey, you’re so fine

This isn’t the first time Apple has put Mickey Mouse on its gadgets. Apple launched a new iPod nano back in the fall of 2011 — and with it came 16 new clock faces, including ones with beloved Disney characters Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse.

And did you know the original Mickey Mouse watch debuted back in 1933 and became an instant hit? In fact, it saved the cash-strapped Ingersoll company from bankruptcy (like with many others companies, the Great Depression hurt Ingersoll’s business considerably). The Mickey Mouse watch originally sold for $2.98 at Macy’s and then $2.69 at Sears, Roebuck & Company.


As the name suggests, this digital watch face — shown in Figure 4-5 — allows for the most number of complications out of all watch faces, which gives you a ton of extra information at a glance. The interface can be as clean or cluttered as you see fit.


Figure 4-5: The Modular watch face.


Apple Watch fans are going to love this one. This watch face displays a different animated image every time you raise your wrist. Based on the theme you choose, raise your wrist and you might see a butterfly slowly fluttering its wings — as shown in Figure 4-6 — or a flower blooming.


Figure 4-6: The Motion watch face.

Attention to detail

Apple always goes above and beyond. Some of these objects for the Motion watch face were video-recorded, such as the jellyfish (at 300 frames per second), while others — such as the blooming flowers — were created using stop-motion time-lapse photos. Apple says a single flower took more than 285 hours and 24,000 shots to photograph.


The most minimalist of all Apple Watch faces, Simple — as the name implies — offers a straightforward yet elegant face with analog hands for minute, hour, and second, as shown in Figure 4-7. A single number tells you the day of the month. But as with all other watch faces, you can adjust the amount of detail with the Digital Crown button.


Figure 4-7: The Simple watch face.


Along with showing you the time digitally, Solar lets you see the sun’s position in the sky above — along its arc from sunrise to sunset, as shown in Figure 4-8. The small white sun changes position in the sky based on the time of day or you can follow its path over time as you twist the Digital Crown button.


Figure 4-8: The Solar watch face.


The most straightforward and practical face out of the bunch, Utility shows you a classic analog watch face but with plenty of space in the corners for extra information, such as the world clock, the timer, or a calendar appointment, as shown in Figure 4-9.


Figure 4-9: The Utility watch face.


As you might expect with a name like X-Large, this watch face shows a very large digital clock with the hour on the top of the screen and the minutes on the bottom, as shown in Figure 4-10. While the background is black, you can adjust the color to your liking — perhaps to match an outfit you’re wearing.


Figure 4-10: The X-Large watch face.

Can Apple make the watch relevant again?

Smartwatch naysayers claim that many of us have moved on from the watch and now rely on our phones to tell time. Therefore, even a so-called “smart” watch won’t appeal to that many people, but once you have the time on your wrist, it’s certainly more convenient than pulling out that phone from your back pocket or purse.

“Time” will tell if Apple and other smartwatch makers can make the watch relevant again — I’d argue the wrist is indeed coveted real estate to add some technology to — of which telling time is just the beginning.

That said, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook made it very clear Apple Watch should not only be a functional timepiece but also an accurate one. For more on time accuracy, see

Choosing From the Various Watch Faces

One of the first things you might do with Apple Watch is to choose one of the ten watch faces provided and then customize it to your liking — perhaps with complications. And it’s super easy to change faces and make those optional changes — both of which you can do right on the watch itself.

To select a specific watch face for your Apple Watch, follow these steps:

1. When viewing the default (Modular) watch face, press and hold the screen.

This enables Force Touch and launches the Faces gallery.

2. Swipe left or right to select a clock face you like and then tap the center of the watch face you want to use for time.

3. Tap Customize near the bottom of the screen to personalize the face.

The small white dots on the top of the screen tell you how many different customization screens are available for this face. You can change whatever is in the green outline, as shown in Figure 4-11.

4. Twist the Digital Crown button to customize the screen. When you like what you see — for example, changing the color of the hands or text or adding a second hand — swipe to the left to go to the next customization screen. I cover customizations in greater depth in the “Differentiating Between Customizations and Complications” section.

Twist the Digital Crown button to make your selection once again. Repeat this step until you’ve gone through all the customization screens — perhaps choosing color and extra time information. Typically, the last customization page is for complications.

5. Tap the green areas that can be added to your watch screen, as shown in Figure 4-12, and then twist the Digital Crown button to select what you’re happy with.

Repeat the process by tapping the other areas of the face you want to change, which will vary by which watch face you go with. Remember, you won’t have the same options for all watch faces.

6. Press the Digital Crown button when you’re done customizing your watch face.

This confirms you’ve finished with your options and are ready to see your customized watch face.

7. Tap the center of the screen to confirm your changes.

After you’ve set your watch face, don’t forget you can tap on each of the complications — such as weather or stock quotes, as shown in Figure 4-13 — which are discussed in further detail in the “Differentiating Between Customizations and Complications” section.


Figure 4-11: Whatever is highlighted in green can be customized by twisting the Digital Crown button.


Figure 4-12: Don’t worry if you don’t like your choices because you can go in at any time and tweak them again.


Figure 4-13: After you’ve completed your customization, this is the watch face you might see when you raise your wrist.

That’s it! That wasn’t so difficult, right?

Differentiating Between Customizations and Complications

It’s important to understand that all the watch faces support various tweaks you can make to help your Apple Watch feel even more personal. Apple divides these personalized changes into two main categories: customizations and complications.


Each watch face includes customizations you can perform, such as changing the watch to show additional information (such as specific minute, second, or millisecond detail) and changing the color of the watch hands (perhaps to match your outfit). You can make changes for each face, but what you can change varies by face style. See Figures 4-14 and 4-15 for customization examples.


Figure 4-14: Customize the look of your watch face by adjusting the amount of information you want to see.


Figure 4-15: A look at tweaking the color of the hands via the Digital Crown button.


When customizing your watch’s face, one of your options is to add additional information to the screen — usually in up to four corners or at the bottom part of the screen. This may include upcoming calendar alerts, an alarm, the current moon phase, the weather, the day’s sunrise and sunset times, a timer or stopwatch, your current activity, the world clock, and stock quotes. When customizing the watch, simply touch highlighted parts of the watch face to make your selection. Be aware, however, that some watch faces offer more room for complications than others. When you tap on the piece of information provided, such as the weather, Apple Watch opens up the corresponding app for a deeper dive.

The word complications, by the way, is a horological term that refers to any clock feature that goes beyond the display of hours and minutes.

tip You can still tell the time on Apple Watch if the battery is low. Your watch automatically goes into the Power Reserve mode when your battery drops below a certain percentage or you can activate this mode manually by opening the Settings app on Apple Watch. You should still be able to see the time for up to 48 hours, according to Apple.

Looking closer at ten complications

You can choose one of ten complications — see Figures 4-16 and 4-17 for examples — to add to your Apple Watch face (if it’s supported):


Figure 4-16: What can you choose to place on your watch face? A lot, as you can see here.


Figure 4-17: An example of a kind of complication you can add to a watch face.

· image Alarm: As the name suggests, you can set an alarm, such as that dreaded wakeup call, and see what time it’s set for.

· image Timer: Set one or more timers right on your Apple Watch and you should see the timer icon count down to zero from your set time (minutes/hours). No more burnt cookies.

· image Stopwatch: Ready, set, go! Right from the watch face, you can start and stop a digital stopwatch. As you likely know, numbers climb up from zero over time and can be reset to start again.

· image World Clock: Have relatives in another country? Work associates on a different continent? You can set a secondary clock on your watch face and you’ll see an abbreviated name for a location (such as par for Paris) and the correct time there.

· image Sunrise/Sunset: While it’s also the name of a famous song in Fiddler on the Roof, this complication lets you see when the sun is set to go down and rise the next day.

· image Moon Phase: Werewolves, beware! This complication shows you how much of the moon will be visible that night, such as crescent, half, or full.

· image Calendar: See when your next appointment is and what it’s about by syncing information from your iPhone’s Calendar app. Hopefully, it’s nothing embarrassing your colleagues might accidentally see, such as “2 p.m.: Proctologist Appointment”!

· image Weather: Without even having to open an app, your Apple Watch can tell you the weather outside based on what city you’re in (or another city of your choosing). You can choose to see the information in Fahrenheit or Celsius. Ideal for Canadians, eh?

· image Stocks: Should you celebrate or bite your nails? The Stocks complication shows you real-time quotes based on the publicly traded companies that matter to you.

· image Activity: Get a quick idea of how active you’ve been throughout the day. The three rings show your actual level of physical activity and how much of your daily goal you’ve accomplished. Lazy types might be tempted to throw the watch out, but it won’t berate you.

Accessing Time on Apple Watch

If you’ve mastered how to select a watch face and customize it — and even if you still need to do those things — you might want to know how to access the clock on your Apple Watch. It’s probably the screen you’re going to see the most, so it’s something we need to cover, don’t ya think?

It’s actually quite easy — even if you’re in another app.

By default, Apple Watch shows you the clock screen when you raise your wrist. Therefore, you need not do anything if you like this setup. The screen stays on for about four to six seconds — whether you look at it or not — and then goes back to sleep again (presumably to save on power).

If you tap the screen or press the Digital Crown button or the Side button, however, the screen stays on for about 15 to 17 seconds before fading to black.

Want to see something other than the time when you raise your wrist? No problem. Grab your iPhone because you need it to change the default setting to one other option, and then follow these steps:

1. From the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, choose My Watch⇒Settings ⇒General.

Near the bottom of the screen, you should see the words Activate on Wrist Raise, as shown in Figure 4-18.

2. If you like seeing the time when you raise your wrist, do nothing. But change it to Resume Previous Activity instead of Clock Face if you’d prefer to see the last app used when looking at your wrist.

Resume Previous Activity is another way of seeing the last app you were in. You can also do this in the Settings app on the Apple Watch itself. Tap Activate on Wrist Raise and then change it from Clock Face to Resume Previous Activity. Perhaps Apple will give you more options in a future update, but these are your only two for now.


Figure 4-18: The Apple Watch app on iPhone. Here, you can enable and disable various Apple Watch functions.

Not entirely sure what Last Used App means? If you were in, say, the Calendar app or Messages app and you lower your wrist to get on with your day, you can choose to see that app first whenever you raise your wrist again.

You can also easily see the time whenever you’re in any app (as further described in Chapter 3). Simply double-press the Digital Crown button and you immediately see the watch faces appear on your screen. Now double-press the Digital Crown button again and you return to the last app you were in.

tip You have a third way to get the time on your Apple Watch — and you don’t even need to look at your wrist at all. Can you guess what it is? Give up? You can ask Siri what time is it. Press and hold the Digital Crown button and ask “What time is it?” or simply say “Time.” Alternatively, you can ask “What time is it in ____ (and name a city around the world)”? You can also raise your wrist and say into your wrist “Hey, Siri, what time is it?” See Chapter 7 for more on using Siri to help you complete tasks with your Apple Watch.

Accessing World Time

image Some people like to know what time it is in another part of the globe. You know, in case you want to Skype or Facetime with someone and you’re not sure if it’s the middle of the night where that person is.

Whether it’s for personal or professional reasons, a world clock could be a handy thing to have — and your Apple Watch can help you with that.

Earlier in Chapter 4 — in the “Differentiating Between Customizations and Complications” section — I discussed adding a world clock as a complication to an existing watch face, but it’s also something you can view on your own.

To use the World Clock app on your Apple Watch, follow these steps:

1. Press the Digital Crown button to go to the Home screen.

Regardless of the app you’re in, you should see the screen with all the small icons on it once you press the Digital Crown button. If you don’t see what you want at first glance, swipe your finger around to view other bubble-shaped icons.

2. Tap the World Clock app.

The app launches full screen and you should see the time in another city. If you haven’t added another city yet, Apple Watch might say “No World Clocks,” such as it does on an iPhone.

3. If you have more than one city selected, you can swipe left or right to navigate between them.

The top right of the screen is your local time. But then you should see the remote city highlighted by an orange dot on a map, the name of the city, the time there, the time zone, and sunrise and sunset information, as shown in Figure 4-19.

4. If you don’t have any locations installed or if you’d like to add more (or remove one), open the Settings tab on your iPhone’s Apple Watch app (under General). When you’ve made your selection, you can just exit the app.

Of course, you can also ask Siri for this information, such as “What time is it in Warsaw?” or “What time will the sun rise in Tokyo?” See Chapter 7 for more tasks Siri can help you with.


Figure 4-19: When you launch the World Clock app, your screen should look similar to this.

Taking Control: Alarms, Stopwatches, and Timers — Oh My!

Alarms, timers, and stopwatches are great tools to have with you. And because you’re wearing Apple Watch on your wrist, you have access to them wherever life takes you.


9781119052050-ma0411.tif Apple Watch lets you easily set an alarm, such as a 7 a.m. wakeup call, viewed in either an analog or digital display. To change between digital and analog, press firmly on the screen and then tap Customize. Swipe left until you see the alarm face you like.

To set up a new alarm on Apple Watch, follow these steps:

1. Press the Digital Crown button to go to the Home screen.

2. Tap the Alarm app.

This launches the Alarm app. From this screen, you can view, manage, and edit multiple alarms with your fingertip.

To set an alarm with Siri, press and hold the Digital Crown button to activate Siri or simply raise your wrist and say “Hey, Siri,” followed by “Set an alarm for ____ (date and time).” You can also say “Wake me up at ____ (time of day)” or even “Wake me up in ____ (minutes or hours).”

Siri confirms the time and shows it to you on the watch’s screen, as shown in analog mode in Figure 4-20. It’s totally fine to have multiple alarms.

3. To set your alarm time, twist the Digital Crown button to adjust the hours and minutes and then tap Set. Figure 4-21 shows an alarm setting.

Your alarm is now set. You can uncheck ones you no longer need. You can also press and hold the Apple Watch screen in the Alarm app to bring up options, including alarm repeats (such as for weekdays). When the alarm goes off, you can tap Snooze or Dismiss.


Figure 4-20: The analog mode of the Alarm screen. Set your desired time using the Digital Crown button.


Figure 4-21: It’s a cinch to adjust your alarm time — even if you’re half asleep and fumbling to set a wakeup call.

tip Your iPhone alarms can also be synchronized with your Apple Watch. This happen automatically by default, but you can also go into your Apple Watch app on an iPhone and tap My Watch and then Settings to disable this feature.


9781119052050-ma0412.tif You don’t need to be an Olympian runner to appreciate a stopwatch, which measures the ascending passage of time. Whatever the reason you’d like to know how much time has elapsed, the Stopwatch app is what you need — and it’s fully customizable too.

That is, the Stopwatch app on Apple Watch lets you see information in a digital, analog, or hybrid view or even in a graph that shows a real-time average of your lap times. See Figure 4-22 for a look at the hybrid view.


Figure 4-22: You can choose a hybrid of analog and digital, as shown here.

To use the Stopwatch app on Apple Watch, follow these steps:

1. Press the Digital Crown button to go to the Home screen.

2. Tap the Stopwatch app.

This launches the Stopwatch app. You can also raise your wrist and then say “Hey, Siri, Stopwatch” or press and hold the Digital Crown button to initiate Siri.

3. Tap the green Start button in the lower left, as shown in Figure 4-23, to start the stopwatch.

Whether you’re in analog, digital, or hybrid view (which you can change in the Settings area of the iPhone’s Apple Watch app, as discussed in Chapter 11), you should see the time scroll by.

4. Press the red Stop button in the lower-right corner of the screen to stop the stopwatch.

Don’t worry if you accidentally close the app without taking note of your time because it’s still there when you open up the app again.

5. Tap the Lap button in the lower-right corner of the app if you want to see graphed averages of lap times.

Joggers and runners might appreciate this added historical information, as shown in Figure 4-24.


Figure 4-23: The Stopwatch app in action.


Figure 4-24: The Stopwatch app offers a historical/graphical look of your lap times.


9781119052050-ma0413.tif The Timer app lets you keep track of events you want, well, timed. While the Stopwatch app measures the ascending passage of time, the Timer app offers the descending passage of time — from a preset starting point, such as 45 minutes.

As with the other time-related apps, you can choose to read a digital or analog countdown.

To use the Timer app on your Apple Watch, follow these steps:

1. Press the Digital Crown button to go to the Home screen.

2. Tap the Timer app.

This launches the Timer app. Alternatively, you can say “Hey, Siri, Timer” or press and hold the Digital Crown button to activate Siri and then say “Timer.”

3. Twist the Digital Crown button to select the starting time.

You start with the hour setting, but press the Digital Crown button to go to the minute setting and then press the Digital Crown button again when you’re done. Review what you selected for a start time, such as 30 minutes or an hour and 15 minutes.

4. Tap the green Start button on the lower-left side to initiate the timer.

As the timer runs, an orange line moves around the dial in clockwise fashion to help give you a visual sense for how much time has passed (and how much is left). See Figure 4-25 for a look at the Timer app in all its glory.

5. When you’re done, press the Reset button in the lower-right corner of the Apple Watch screen.

Pressing Reset rolls back the timer to all zeros, making it ready for next time. If you no longer need the timer, press the Digital Crown button.


Figure 4-25: The analog and digital hybrid screen of the Timer app.