All the little things you need to relearn with watchOS 10 on your Apple Watch

Apple Watch watchOS 10 widgets

As Apple releases watchOS 10 to the public this week, there are several everyday interactions you’ll need to relearn after updating. The upside is that watchOS 10 includes significant improvements to quickly access app data, reminders, and more.

And be patient. It does take some time to get used to these new interactions and features!

Related reading

How interactions change with watchOS 10

One of the biggest changes in watchOS 10 is how you use the watch’s physical buttons. This learning curve impacts what both pressing buttons and swiping do on your Apple Watch, including:

  • Swiping up from the bottom on a watch face pulls up widgets and not the Control Center. watchOS 10 smart stack widgets Apple Watch
  • Pressing the side button once opens the Control Center instead of the recent app Dock. Side button for control center watchOS 10 Apple Watch
  • Double-pressing the Digital Crown opens your recent app Dock instead of returning to the last used app. Apple also eliminates accessing your Favorite Apps altogether.Recently used apple watch app dock and close apps on watchOS 10 and above

Additionally, there is some change in how you switch between watch faces.

  • Switching between watch faces requires a long press on the watch face and then swiping or scrolling with the Digital Crown to see or edit your available faces. You can no longer swipe edge-to-edge to change the watch face.Apple Watch switch to a different watch face

The good news is that there is a bunch of interactions that don’t change!

  • Pressing the Digital Crown once still shows your watch face or home screen (apps grid or list.)
  • Pressing and holding the Digital Crown still opens Siri and turns off the water lock when that’s on.
  • Turning the Digital Crown still scrolls, zooms, and adjusts what’s on the watch’s screen.
  • Pressing and holding the side button still opens options to power off the watch and access Medical ID, SOS Emergency, and Compass Backtrack.
  • Pressing the side button twice still opens Apple Pay (when you turn this feature on.)

Get quick information with just a glance at your Apple Watch Apple Watch watchOS 10 widgets

Although this might feel like a lot of changes to the Apple Watch user experience, it’s all to accommodate the new Apple Watch widgets feature. 

Widgets in watchOS 10 show real-time app information in a short preview with just a swipe up from the bottom of the watch (or a quick turn of the Digital Crown) from any watch face without opening your apps or using watch face complications.

If you decide you want to open the app, tap the widget, and the app opens without having to open your home screen.

Apple creates a smart stack of widgets using machine learning that changes the order of widgets based on how you use your watch, what apps you regularly check, and what time of day it is.

You can also manually choose which app widgets you want to see or pin widgets so they always appear at the top of the stack.

You see things like your calendar events, reminders, the day’s weather report, stock market updates, medication reminders, activity ring progress, and much more!

Learn more about widgets in this article: Widgets on Apple Watch, a new road to delight watch owners with watchOS 10

Final thoughts

Learning new things is never easy and does take time–you may feel it’s harder to access everything at first. But hang in there. You will get used to it–probably quite quickly.

Features like widgets are awesome for people who like getting quick information without opening apps or adding complications to their watch faces.

Unfortunately, for folks who loved using the side button to access their favorite apps quickly or swiping from edge-to-edge between watch faces–these options are gone (at least for now.) 

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A. Beth Whittenberger
I started my love affair with computers way back in elementary school with the Apple II. Since then, I've worked with technology in my career as a media educator and videomaker. I have an MFA in media making from Temple University, where I also taught undergrads as an adjunct faculty member. Additionally, I was a writer, content producer, and editor on the popular tech blog AppleToolBox. So I know a thing or two about teaching others and creating how-to guides! After a cancer diagnosis, I turned to mobile technology like my Apple Watch to help me monitor my health throughout my chemotherapy treatment and later, to regain my wellness once in remission. I love sharing how to understand and use mobile tech, like smartwatches and phones, as a tool for empowerment to live our best and healthiest lives! Connect with me on LinkedIn!


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