The best uses for an Apple Watch that you may not have thought of

If you're new to the Apple Watch, we've listed some of the best uses we've found for the fitness tracker and watch

Apple Watch Series 7 being used by man on hike
(Image credit: Apple)

If you've just gotten yourself an Apple Watch, or are thinking about getting one, then you may be mulling over whether the premium fitness tracker and smartwatch is worth it. We all know about the potential benefits of the way we keep an eye on our health and fitness, but what else can it do?

We've spent the last year digging into all of the weird and wonderful things that the best fitness trackers, like the Apple Watch, can offer, and we've discovered some hidden gems alongside tips and tricks we think everyone should be aware of.

Keep reading to see if there's anything you haven't yet discovered or if there's a feature that pushes you to decide whether to take the plunge.

Apple Watch sleep tracking screen

(Image credit: Apple)

1. Detailed sleep quality reports

This one's quite well known, but thought it worthy of a highlight at the top in any case. The smartwatch is the best way to track sleep outside of a professional study, as it can track things and offer trend reports that a phone app just can't.

Apple's sleek tracking is one of the best, offering 14-day trends, weekday and weekend sleep schedules, goals, sleep focus mode and a whole lot more. We love the 'wind down' feature that reminds us to wrap up our day and prepare our body and mind for bedtime.

2. Auto workout playlists (for Apple Music)

While you can get music from the likes of Spotify and YouTube Music just fine on Apple Watch, it's perhaps understandable that an Apple Music subscription opens up a whole new set of integrations. The best one might be the ability to tie a particular playlist with a workout, eliminating the need to jump around apps just when you want to set off. 

Apple Watch Hand Washing Feature

(Image credit: Apple)

3. Hand washing timer

Be honest, has your 'happy birthday' singing been lacking while washing your hands lately? While we were all diligent about hand hygiene just a couple of years ago, like any habit it can be difficult to stick to it long-term. Thankfully the Apple Watch has a timer specially designed for hand-washing, so you can be sure that you're doing a thorough job - no singing required.

4. Cardio fitness alerts

Unless you've splashed out on a personal trainer, it's likely that you only have a rough idea of your cardio fitness levels based on how you feel during and after a period of activity. The Apple Watch makes this a lot more precise, using data like your age, sex, weight, height, medications, and your VO² max range. You will even get an alert when this data indicates your fitness is lower than average.

Apple Watch fall detection

(Image credit: Apple)

5. Fall detection

Smartwatches aren't just for athletes - they also have many functions for everyday safety and well-being. Apple Watch's Fall Detection feature, for example, is a way to ensure an accident doesn't go unnoticed. If the device detects that you have fallen down, it will display an option to call emergency services or press the 'I'm OK' button if things aren't that serious. After a minute, help will be called automatically. You can also choose key contacts to be notified.

6. Access Siri from anywhere

Siri might not be as much of a household name as Google Assistant or Alexa, but it's a great smart assistant if you're an Apple user. Being able to access Siri from your Apple Watch is a bit of a gamechanger, as it means you have the helpful robot with you at all times (don't worry, you can stop her from listening if you want), even without a HomePod Mini in the vicinity. Ask her questions, translate conversations on the go, or set timers and alerts with your voice.

Apple Watch do not disturb feature

(Image credit: Apple)

7. Decompress with 'Do Not Disturb' mode

The 'Do Not Disturb' mode might be our favorite thing about the Apple Watch and iPhone, allowing us to literally switch off unnecessary distractions either when we want to get down to some focused work or wind down for the evening. Just a few taps on your wrist and precious silence is achievable. This mode silences everything except alarms, and you can also set certain contacts to be able to get through in an emergency. Otherwise, your time and attention are yours.

8. Get some 'me time' with apps like Headspace

Apple Health has its own meditation and mindfulness features, but we're big fans of Headspace for its approachable tone and abundance of content. We've found that having Headspace (and other apps like Calm or Simple Habit) on your Apple Watch means you're much more likely to fire up a guided meditation or calming video than if you had to unlock your phone in the morning. 

Apple Watch Series 8

(Image credit: Apple)

9. Accessorise with different straps

Let's face it, smartwatches are fantastic in a lot of ways, but they aren't always the most stylish. Thankfully, there are a ton of third-party brands that have brought out their own straps that you can retrofit onto the Apple Watch face. Among the very affordable options, we particularly love this sleek metal band from YILED on Amazon and this chunky - yet more classic - chain-style strap from Seoaura. Just make sure the band matches your model.

Caroline Preece
Smart Homes Ecommerce Editor

Caroline is the smart home ecommerce editor for Livingetc, covering everything tech for the home, from smart speakers to air purifiers and everything in between. She is passionate about the role that technology and smart devices can play in daily life, enhancing the home without sacrificing personal style and carefully chosen interiors. In her spare time, she can be found tinkering with bulbs, soundbars, and video doorbells in an effort to automate every part of her small home. Previously, she lent her expertise to the likes of Expert Reviews, IT Pro, Coach, The Week, and more.