17 Clever Ways Your Smart Watch Can Make Your Life Easier, According to Chefs, Dietitians, Gym Instructors, and More

published Aug 20, 2021
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An Apple Watch has many great functions right out of the box: It can send you reminders, track your steps, read and send messages, take phone calls from your wrist, and, of course, tell time (to name a few). But there are functions you might be overlooking or that you just haven’t downloaded yet that can help you in your day-to-day life, from your kitchen to your yoga mat to your bed and beyond.

Here are 17 smart but simple ways to get the most out of your Apple Watch based on your daily routine, according to experts.

Credit: Cathy Pyle

In the Kitchen

  1. Have Siri set your timers
    Although some line cooks, baristas, and chefs don’t wear anything on their wrists at work, one chef told Reddit  they use it every day: “My most used feature is having Siri set me a timer,” u/Recklesspessimist said. “I’ve also used it in the dish pit for multiple hours at a time and it hasn’t taken any damage …  Also the WaterMinder app is great for reminding me to stay hydrated during long dinner rushes.” 
  2. Track your food intake
    Dietitian Samar Kullab, MS, RDN, LDN, recommends the Lifesum App for her patients tracking their food intake. “On your Apple Watch, you can view detailed readings of your carbs, protein, and fat intake for the day. You can even scroll back through your meal records and log water intake without unlocking your phone,” she told Apartment Therapy. Always check with your doctor or dietitian before making major changes to your eating habits, especially if these changes are health-related.
  3. Follow recipes on your watch
    Kullab also uses her watch to follow recipes online — that way she doesn’t have to touch her phone while she cooks. You can use apps like the NYT Cooking App to save recipes, follow each step with the always-on watch face, and create grocery lists on your watch based on the recipes you select.
  4. Take fabulous food photos
    Calling all foodies! Apple’s remote camera feature will also help you take better photos of your food, as this restaurant supply blog points out. Set up your phone at just the precise angle and then activate the shutter with your watch to avoid awkward angles.
Credit: Joe Lingeman/Apartment Therapy

In the Gym

  1. Know more about your body
    Crunch Fitness instructor Brandon Hirose told Well + Good that knowing your VO2 max, which the Apple Watch measures, can help you understand your capacity for aerobic workouts — plus, you can watch it improve over time.
  2. Tailor your watch to your workouts
    Apple’s free workout app tracks indoor and outdoor walks, indoor and outdoor runs, elliptical workouts, rowing workouts, and pool and open-water swims. You can participate in instructor-led classes by subscribing to Fitness+, or you can upgrade your watch to be more comparable to a Garmin or Polar Vantage watch by downloading apps such as WorkOutDoors, according to Coach Mag.
  3. Share your workouts 
    Wellness writer Kells McPhillips praised the Apple Watch for its function that lets you share your workouts with other Apple Watch users and motivate one another to achieve a certain amount of steps each day.
Credit: Grisha Bruev/Shutterstock

With Your Money

  1. Use your watch as a wallet
    If you have Apple Pay set up, you can double click the side scroller button on your Apple Watch and hold it near a store’s card reader for a contact-free transaction.
  2. Create and track your budget
    Some banks, like CitiBank, have apps where you can track your checking or savings account balance right from your watch. (Bye, accidental overdrafts!) There are also apps such as Mint that connect with most bank accounts, and budgeting apps like Pennies that let you create one-off budgets and track your spending.
  3. Watch your stock
    You can use the Stocks app on Apple Watch to follow the market and customize your portfolio. Apps like Robinhood and Thinkorswim also offer stock tracking and budget tracking, plus access to relevant articles and tools.

With Your Family

  1. Keep your hands free
    Bloggers Jonathan Kim and Gabriela Garcia have both praised the Apple Watch because, as parents, they don’t always have the time (or free hands) to pick up the phone. “​​With the Apple Watch, when I get an email or text message, the watch gently vibrates to alert me,” Garcia wrote for The Everymom. “I can check the message and respond with an auto-reply or I can voice my response. And that’s that. Since the screen is so small, it doesn’t make sense to open up the apps to scroll through social media or anything else. So, I don’t.”
  2. Use your watch as a baby monitor
    Some baby monitors, such as Cloud Baby Monitor, have Apple Watch interfaces so you can check on your little one just by looking at your watch.
  3. Keep in touch with your too-young-for-a-cell-phone kiddo
    If you’re not quite ready to buy your kid their own phone, Apple’s Family Setup lets you set up a watch for your child via your iPhone, so you can message and voice call with them, and even set activity goals and reminders for them. Plus, you can monitor the messages and voice calls they share with others.
Credit: Getty Images / Luis Alvarez

On Your Own

  1. Breathe deeply
    Although an Apple Watch can be notification-heavy, some of its notifications help you slow down. Kullab says one of her favorite non-work-related functions is the Breathe app. “I allow myself to do one to two minutes of breathing as a mediation throughout a stressful day,” she told Apartment Therapy. You can customize the number of breathing reminders throughout the day and the number of breaths per minute. 
  2. Meditate
    Similarly, popular mindfulness app Headspace has an Apple Watch companion that offers guided meditations focused on everything from waking up to sleep; two minute mini-meditations for a quick mental reset; and SOS sessions for intense, anxious, and stressful moments. Plus, you can share your meditations with other users of the app.
  3. Drown out the noise
    White noise apps such as White Noise and Relax Melodies: Sleep Sounds have Apple Watch apps, so if you wear your watch in the night, you can pause, play, and switch your preferred white noise without having to activate a bright bright phone screen.
  4. Sleep smartly
    Apple’s Sleep app can log sleep times and track them over time, and Sleep Cycle can go even further and analyze your sleep patterns and detect snoring, sleep talking, and coughing. It’s designed to wake you up in your lightest sleep phase.