The Apple Watch is finally available, and after much anticipation and pre-launch hype, people are starting to discover firsthand the potential this device has when it comes to being a powerful tool unto itself, and not just an extension of the iPhone.
Much of the setup and configuration related to the Apple Watch is actually done from the iPhone, using the Apple Watch app that comes preinstalled with iOS 8.3 (or later). So, if you have a new Apple Watch, or you’re planning to get one soon, it’s essential that you update your iPhone’s iOS.
As an Apple Watch user, it’s important to become familiar with the Apple Watch app on the iPhone in order to make full use of the watch. Once the watch is initially configured and set up using the Apple Watch app, anytime you subsequently launch the app, four command icons are displayed along the bottom of the iPhone’s screen.
Figure 1 The Apple Watch app running on an iPhone
From left to right, these command icons include: My Watch (shown in Figure 1), Explore, Featured, and Search. Tap on the My Watch option to adjust your watch’s settings and configuration, as well as to customize the apps that are already installed within the watch.
Any of your iPhone apps that are compatible with the Apple Watch will automatically install on the watch as it’s being initially configured. So, by tapping on the My Watch command icon and then scrolling downward, you’ll see these apps as well as the Apple Watch’s preinstalled apps, listed.
One at a time, tap on each app listing to customize settings that pertain to its operation on the Apple Watch. Then, when you’re ready to start exploring the vast and ever-growing selection of additional Apple Watch apps currently available, from the bottom of the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, tap on the Featured or Search command icon.
Discovering and Installing Apple Watch Apps
Any apps that you want to add to your Apple Watch must be acquired using the Apple Watch app on the iPhone, once your Apple Watch has been initially paired with your smartphone. When it comes to finding new apps, the best way to begin is to launch the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, and then tap on the Featured command icon that’s displayed at the bottom of the screen (shown in Figure 2).
The Featured section of the Apple Watch app store showcases an ever-exchanging collection of apps that Apple recommends based on quality, popularity, and functionality. Along the top of the Featured screen is a horizontally-scrolling Categories menu, which includes: Work, Creativity, Travel, Health & Fitness, and Communication.
Figure 2 The Featured section of the Apple Watch app (running on an iPhone 6)
However, to see a complete listing of Categories, tap on the Categories option that’s displayed in the top left corner of the screen, and then tap on a category option. Below the horizontally scrolling Categories banners is the Get Started heading; here, you’ll find apps that Apple recommends for new Apple Watch users. To see all of the app listings, tap on the See All option that’s displayed to the right of the Get Started heading, or swipe your finger horizontally across the app icons under this heading.
As you scroll down on the Featured page, you’ll see additional headings that change periodically, and that showcase apps in specific categories, like Healthy Living, Quick-Fix Games, and Stay Informed. Scroll down to the very bottom of this screen in order to access buttons that allow you to manage your Apple ID account, redeem iTunes Gift Cards (that can be used to purchase Apple Watch apps), or to send iTunes Gift Cards to others.