The Apple Watch sold out within minutes and now those lucky enough to get orders in are waiting with baited breath, in hopes for a shipment confirmation. Gone are hopes of any April 24th in-store availability, with the earliest availability now pushed to June. That can feel a bit like, forever. If you’re getting your Apple Watch on launch day, you can thank your good fortunes and your local UPS driver. Those waiting for eternity, you’ve got the specter of spring weather to dull the pains of gadget lust, gone unfulfilled. And if you’re still undecided, our Apple Watch Buyer’s Guide has got your back. For those firmly in the wearable tech camp, there are things you can and should do before getting your new Apple Watch.
1. Update iOS and Apps
Not only has Apple been hard at work on designing kick-ass hardware, but they have also been focusing on the software side of things. Much of the magic that happens requires your iPhone run iOS 8.2 or later. The latest release is iOS 8.3 and it had its fair share of bug fixes and improvements. While the Apple Watch hasn’t been out, you can bet the developers have been testing, tweaking and optimizing the software experience. It goes without saying that you should update to iOS 8.3. On a similar note, if you’re one of these folks that has an ever increasing number appearing in the red badge on your App Store icon, this is your time to get your apps updated. Developers have already been shipping compatible versions that will spring to life once you pair your Apple Watch to your iPhone.
To update to the latest version of iOS, open Settings > General > Software Update.
2. Move Apple Watch App To Home Screen
When you update to iOS 8.2 or later, they pre-install an Apple Watch app. It helps with everything from pairing your iPhone to your Apple Watch, to the management of apps. Despite its importance, it typically gets installed with the app general population. You’ll want to move that to the first page of your home screen. To do so, tap and hold until things get jiggly, then drag it to its proper place.
3. Add Your Favorites and their photos
Your favorite contacts play an important role on Apple Watch. Sending messages or making calls is easier when you have a list of favorites. You’ll press and hold the side button to bring up your favorites. Using the digital crown, you can scroll to select a contact. Here’s how to update your favorites from your iPhone:
To add a favorite, tap on the ‘+’ sign at the top right. You’ll be immediately whisked away to a list of your contacts. Contacts has its very own app, but it also acts like an “app within an app” when using the Phone app. Search your contacts, which iOS will sort based upon your preferences. Once you’ve located a contact, tap on it. Select the action (Voice Call,FaceTime or FaceTime Audio Call) you’d like once you select it as a favorite.
If you want your watch to look as cool as it does in demos, you’ll want to update photos for your contacts.
Tap on a contact that’s in your favorites. At the top right, select ‘Edit’. Tap on the circle next to their name. You can then choose a photo from your library or take a photo. Resize it so that the face fills the entire circle. You’re looking to make things look good on a small display, so make sure their face fills the circle.
4. Optimize your home WiFi
If you want to go beyond telling time, you’ll need to be connected to your iPhone. The watch does this using either Bluetooth or WiFi. The latter will provide for a more extended range. You’ll probably make heavy use of your watch throughout your home, so it’s going to rely heavily on your WiFi network. Here are a few tips for optimizing and upgrading your home WiFi.
1. Where possible, your router should be centrally located in your home.
2. Experiment with the direction of the antennas (provided your router has antennas).
3. You can extend your WiFi using either a repeater or access point. If you have an old router, it can be used as an access point to extend coverage to a part of your home that might have a weaker signal from your primary router.
4. Newer routers can vastly improve your coverage. Smallnetbuilder recommends consumers look at AC1900 routers, with the Asus RT-ACN68U and Netgear Nighthawk R7000 leading the pack in performance.
5. Mac users who own a laptop can download the free app Wireless Signal. It can be used to test your home WiFi and see if your changes are resulting in any improvements.
6. Airport Extreme users can use the Airport Express to extend their existing WiFi networks, either wired or wirelessly.
7. If your cable company provides you with a router, contact them to see if your eligible for an upgrade.
5. Enter Your Information Into The Health App
The Activity app on Apple Watch can track your daily activity and do it more effectively since it’s always with you. It shares data with the Health app, which in turn can be used to share the respective data with third party fitness apps. As you start to improve your health and fitness with Apple Watch, it might be a good time to dust off the Health app introduced with iOS 8. Here you can create a Medical ID, set your birth date, sex and blood type. If you have an iPhone 5s or newer, it’s also likely started tracking your activity.
6. Set Siri Relationships
Hey Siri, lets you use all the power of your voice controlled assistant from your wrist. Despite advances to his/her voice recognition, Siri can still struggle from time to time. To help improve Siri’s accuracy, you should consider setting up relationships. If you’re like me and have a difficult last name, setting up relationships for family members can change your experience from maddening to sheer amazement.
1. Press the home button to evoke Siri
2. Say, “(Insert contact name of your mother) is my mother”
3. Siri will locate the contact and confirm the relationship.
7. Set Up A Music Playlist
For all this talk about needing an iPhone to do things, the Apple Watch does come with 8GB of internal storage. With that, you can store music locally by syncing a playlist. Choose your songs wisely, as the limited storage allows for roughly 200 or so tracks, provided they are high quality.
1. Attach the Apple Watch to its charger.
2. Go to the Apple Watch > My Watch and tap on Music. Then tap on Synced Playlist. Tap on the playlist you’d like to store on your watch. Now you can choose music from either your iPhone or your Apple Watch.
3. Press firmly on the display and tap on ‘Source’. To listen, you’re going to need a Bluetooth device, such as a UE Boombox.
8. Take It On The Run
If you’re a fitness junkie or you’re using the watch to kick start your workouts, you can make use of that newly created playlist. You can pair a set of Bluetooth headphones such as these inexpensive Soundpeats stereo sports buds ($29.99).
With the iPhone 6 and more so the iPhone 6 Plus, these are big phones and big phones aren’t great companions on a long run. Grab a set of Bluetooth stereo buds, leave the iPhone at home and take your music on the run.
9. Setup Apple Pay
Have an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus? Making payments with your iPhone is cool, but do you know what’s cooler? Making payments with your Apple Watch. Grabbing your wallet had been replaced by grabbing your iPhone. Now you can amp up the convenience by paying with a flick of your wrist. All you need to do is double-click the side button and aim the face of the watch towards the contact-less payment reader.
Having used Apple Pay on numerous occasions, I can attest to it’s simplicity and convenience. The Apple Watch takes this to a whole new level. For more on setting up Apple Pay, check out our Ultimate Guide to Apple Pay.
10. Pour Through the User Guide
While you’ll find some similarities in how things get done, this is an entirely different product. What better way (outside of visiting our site), to learn the ins and outs of Apple Watch than checking out the official and extensive Apple Watch User Guide. It’s not available as an iBook just yet, which is slightly disappointing. There’s some fantastic information here and well worth a bookmark.
There’s nothing better than sharing your experiences, good or bad with the greater Apple community. I welcome you to join and take part the Apple Watch forums here at everythingiCafe.
Have fun with your Apple Watch!