How to Set Up and Use a New Apple Watch Series 4: A Beginner’s Guide to Functions, Navigation and watchOS Apps

Apple Watch Series 4

Just bought yourself a brand new Apple Watch Series 4? First of all, congratulations. You are now the proud owner of an amazing piece of technology that will put your squarely on the path to better health. Many of these instructions and tips are also meant for Apple Watch Series 3 and older models, so you may find them useful if you have one from last year or before that but it’s still a first for you.

Let’s jump straight into it, shall we?

Understanding How to Use Your New Apple Watch

First, let’s cover some of the basics of how to use an Apple Watch, like what the buttons are for and how to use the Digital Crown. Series 4 introduces haptic feedback on the Crown, which is great. Here are the essentials that you need to know about.

Apple Watch physical controls

Digital Crown / Home Button

The Digital Crown serves various purposes depending on what mode the smartwatch is on and what app you’re using at the moment. Basic functions are listed below:

  • Click once to view the home screen or watch face

  • Double-click to go to the last app used

  • Click and hold to activate Siri

  • Turn to adjust what’s on the screen, scroll and zoom

  • Turn to unlock screen while swimming (Series 2 or higher)

Macworld offers a great tip for using the Digital Crown:

“Apps on the home menu can be opened by tapping the icon, but some people have found that tapping is inaccurate; sometimes you miss and open the app to the left or right of your desired app.

“To find the app in a crowded home screen, you may need to zoom out using the Digital Crown to find the desired app. Once you’ve located it, tap near it to zoom in on the area, and then centre the app on the screen.

“Once it’s centred, instead of tapping on it, use the Digital Crown to zoom into it and open it – it’s much more accurate, and includes a cool animation when zooming into the watch face.”

Side Button

  • Click once to hide/show Dock

  • Click and hold to activate SOS function

  • Double-click for Apple Pay

  • Click and hold for longer to turn Apple Watch On/Off

Buttons on the Back

Apple Watch band release buttons on the back.

The band release buttons can be found on the back of the watch. Press each button and remove the bands one at a time.

Apple Watch Gestures

Apple Watch Gestures Explained with images and captions

The four gestures possible on the Apple Watch screen are Press, Tap, Drag and Swipe. Depending on what app you’re using, they can be used to execute a variety of actions. Swiping up brings up the Control Center.

Apple Watch Apps

Apps are an essential part of the Apple Watch experience. Without them, it’ll be nothing more than an expensive time-piece. Actually, it won’t even be that since the clock face itself is an app, albeit a native one.

Apple Watch runs on watchOS, so any app you download for your smartwatch has to be compatible with that version of Apple’s operating system.

When you set up your device for the first time on your phone, it will ask whether you want to Install All right now or later. The first option will put all compatible apps from your phone onto your watch. To do it later, open the Apple Watch app on your phone, go to the App Store and purchase or get whatever apps you need.

If you turn on Automatic App Install, anything you purchase from the App Store will automatically be added to your Apple Watch, as long as it is compatible with your version of watchOS.

Stock Apps on Apple Watch

As with any iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, Apple Watch comes with a standard collection of apps that Apple puts in by default on every unit. Here are some of the apps that have been standard for a while.

  • Activity

  • Alarm

  • Camera Remote

  • Calendar

  • Mail

  • Maps

  • Messages

  • Music

  • Passbook

  • Phone

  • Photos

  • Remote (Apple TV and iTunes)

  • Settings

  • Siri

  • Stocks

  • Stopwatch

  • Timer

  • Weather

  • Workout

  • World Clock

With the watchOS 5 update, Apple included the Walkie-Talkie app, which is essentially a PTT or press-to-talk application. Once another Apple Watch user on watchOS 5 has given you permission on their device, you can use the virtual Talk button to speak to them. Release the button to hear their response, just like a real walkie-talkie.

Great Apple Watch Series 4 Apps to Try

Aside from the stock apps on your new Apple Watch Series 4 smartwatch, there are literally hundreds of apps you can try. Turn on Automatic App Install and download them on your phone to check them out.

  • Things

  • Overcast

  • Dark Sky

  • Spark

  • Carrot Fit

  • WaterMinder

  • AutoSleep

  • Just Press Record

  • Fantastical

  • 1Password

You can also stream your favorite tracks from Apple Music, or add your own MP3 files and pair it with your AirPods. They make a great couple!

New Features on Apple Watch Series 4

Ready to make the best of your Apple Watch Series 4? Did you know that Series 4 brings a lot of features not seen on Series 3 and earlier editions? The watch itself and many of its components have been fully redesigned. Here’s what’s new:

  • Largest display in an Apple Watch

  • New Digital Crown with haptic touch feedback

  • Electrical heart sensor (Needs ECG app)

  • Fall detection and Emergency SOS

  • Breathe, Fire and Water, Liquid Metal and Vapor watch faces

  • Automatic workout detection, new hiking and yoga workouts

  • Pace and cadence alerts for advanced runners

  • Activity sharing, competition, personalized coaching, new challenges every month and awards for closing your rings every day.

Here’s to your health!

Apple Watch Series 4 Unboxing and First Look by iJustine. Enjoy!