How to access the Apple Watch recent apps dock or close apps in watchOS 10+

Recently used apple watch app dock and close apps on watchOS 10 and above

With the introduction of widgets and other changes in watchOS 10, you might be wondering how to access your recently used apps dock on your Apple Watch now that pressing the side button opens Control Center. 

The good news is that this feature has not disappeared, but how you get there is a bit different than previous watchOS versions (watchOS 9 and below.) 

So let’s find out how you can still access your recent apps dock and if needed, close apps on your Apple Watch using watchOS 10+.

In a hurry? in a hurry graphic

If time is short and you don’t need a thorough step-by-step, follow these quick instructions to get to your Apple Watch’s recently used apps dock.

  1. Quickly double-press the Digital Crown instead of the side button to open the Apple Watch app Dock–that’s it!
    1. Pressing the side button once now opens up Control Center, and double pressing the side button opens your Wallet.
  2. Turn the Digital Crown or use a finger to scroll through the apps in the Dock (shows up to 10 of your most recently used apps.)
  3. Tap an app you wish to open.
  4. To close an app, swipe left on it and tap the x icon.

Related reading

How to use the recent apps dock and close apps on your Apple Watch with watchOS 10+

While many people love the convenience of using widgets, some prefer using the dock to open their favorite apps quickly, switch from one app to another, or close an app.

One thing you notice with watchOS 10+ is that you won’t find options for the Dock in the Settings app or in your iPhone’s watch app–those options are gone.

So, in watchOS 10+, you cannot change the order of appearance by recent or favorites–it defaults to recently used apps.

The good news is that recent apps dock still exists by double pressing the crown.

The bad news is that Apple did get rid of your ability to pin your favorite apps or change the way you manage your dock, and it also got rid of the easiest way to switch between your two most recent apps (which was what double pressing the crown used to do.)

How to open or close an app from the Apple Watch Dock in watchOS 10+ Double press Digital Crown to open app dock on Apple Watch with watchOS 10 and above

  1. Quickly double-press the Digital Crown to access the Apple Watch Recently Used Apps Dock. Recently used apps on Apple Watch using watchOS 10+
  2. Swipe up or down, or turn the Digital Crown to review all recently used apps. Recently used apps on Apple Watch using Dock
  3. To open an app, tap on it.Apple Watch open an app using the recently used apps dock
  4. To close an app, swipe left and tap the x. Apple Watch close an app using dock
  5. To close the Dock, press the Digital Crown once.

Practice makes perfect! Dock in Apple Watch with watchOS 10

It takes some practice with the double-press to get it right and work consistently. It’s just something we’ll all have to get used to!

But don’t give up if it doesn’t work for you right away–you need to find the correct speed for the double-press. Too slow, and you see your watch face or list of apps. Too long, and you launch Siri.

You can launch your recently used apps dock from the watch face, the widgets screen, and when you’re in an app.

Another thing we noticed is that when you launch the recently used apps dock when you are inside an app, sometimes the Digital Crown only allows you to close the app instead of scrolling between recent apps. In that case, use your finger to review the apps and switch between them.

Final thoughts

Hopefully, you can easily access all your recently used apps via the double press of the Digital Crown button. 

If it’s not working, you still have trouble, or you’ve discovered another workaround, let us know in the comments.

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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!

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