Working for People with Sight Loss

Five things to do with Apple Watch

Apple Watch displaying mix of app icons

From recording workouts to making contactless payments, David Redmond brings us his top 5 things to do with the Apple Watch.

by David Redmond

It’s coming up to Christmas, and many people might be treating themselves to an Apple Watch this time of year. We all know the Apple Watch has loads of great features, but like any new technology product it can be tough to know where to start.

In this article we’ll give you examples of five things you can do to get started with your Apple Watch. We will give a brief description of the five features below.

1) Workouts

The Apple Watch Workouts app is a handy way to help you get some exercise. You can do all sorts of workouts from running to dancing, and the watch will speak as you hit notable milestones along the way.

You can set targets for your workouts, and everything can be started using Siri. For example, I can say “start a 10-minute indoor walk” or “start a one kilometer swim”. The target is then set, I hear three beeps to count me down, then a longer beep to start my session. If I have VoiceOver on this countdown takes place with speech, but you don’t need VoiceOver on for your watch to speak your goals.

It’s a fun way to stay motivated and is certainly a great feature on the watch.

2) Apple Pay

This is my personal favourite Apple Watch feature. When you’re in a shop and it’s time to pay, all you do is double tap the side button, and tap your watch off the payment terminal to pay. That’s it, no entering codes, no wondering is that the right card, it just works.

If you’re a VoiceOver user you get a handy voice saying, “hold near read-er”, but the feature works the same regardless of VoiceOver being on or off. You get a nice chime when the payment goes through, so you always have confirmation that everything has worked as expected.

In some shops you might struggle to guide your wrist to the payment terminal, but I’ve noticed that more shops nowadays use handheld readers. More often than not the cashier does the guiding, and I personally haven’t found this to be as big an issue as you might expect.

Overall, a great feature, and one that has finally helped me say goodbye to cash. I’ll never be left guessing between a 20 and a 50 again.

3) Mindfullness

We did a detailed article on this recently, so I’ll keep this brief, but the Mindfulness app on Apple Watch is a great way to help you relax.

The app has both deep breathing and reflections, and lets you do between 1 and 5 minute sessions. It’s fairly accessible and is a perfect way to relax at the end of the day.

Read the full Mindfulness app article.

4) Notifications

Bing, you’ve got a notification.

The watch is amazing for notifications, especially if you’re a VoiceOver user. When the notification comes in you can just tap the screen, and it’s read instantly.

I wouldn’t really recommend this for low vision users who don’t like screen readers, but if you are a screen reader user it can really reduce the need to check your phone.

From RTÉ News alerts to text and WhatsApp messages, just being able to hear what’s come in with a simple tap is truly amazing.

5) Voice memos

Again, I’ll keep this brief, but you can read more details at the link below.
The Apple Watch has a fantastic voice recorder. It’s simple, but it works really well. The sound quality is fantastic, and the app is really accessible with VoiceOver.

If you’re looking for a quick way to record classes, notes, or any other sort of audio, the Apple Watch voice Memos app is a good way to go.

Read the full Voice memos article.