17 tips and tricks to get the most from your Apple Watch

Make Apple's wearable work harder for you

Some people say the Apple Watch can't do enough yet. It is anything but a simple, feature-free gadget, though. There's about as much to its software, if not more, as there is to iOS.

There's oodles of potential. But it also means there are loads of little optimisations and features that you probably won't discover in your first week, or even month, of using the Apple Watch.

Here are TechRadar's top tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your Apple Watch.

1. Alter the app screen layout to make it less fiddly

Applw Watch Home Screen

Make the Apple Watch more entertaining to use by customising its apps screen. This is a sort of app honeycomb and apart from the clock in the dead-centre you can switch every app's position.

You can't customise this on the watch but you can in the iPhone Watch app when you click on the top entry in the My Watch tab. Its screen looks just like the Watch apps screen, letting you drag and drop the apps however you like.

2. Take screenshots just like an iPhone

Fancy grabbing a pic of the ridiculous speed you hit during a run or your high score in one of the Apple Watch's mostly dreadful games? It's a cinch, working just as it does on an iPhone. Press the power button and crown at the same time and the screen will flash, telling you the image has been saved to the Photos app.

3. The Apple Watch lets you get ahead of time

Are you one of those people who likes to set your watch 15 minutes fast so you can stay ahead of things? It's an odd little human quirk and one you can recreate on an Apple Watch. To do this, go to the Settings app and select the 'Time' menu item. Here you can set the Apple Watch's time up to 59 minutes ahead.

4. Customise your template messages

You can't type message replies on your Apple Watch and not everyone is willing to dictate to Siri what they want to say. However, you can write generic messages and send them directly from your Watch. "OMG", "LOL" and, "Sorry I'm shampoo'ing my poodle" should sort most people out.

You can define these messages in the Watch iPhone app, in the Messages section under the My Watch tab. The bit you need is called Default Replies.

Apple Watch tips and tricks

Alter your Apple Watch settings using your iPhone

5. Customise the watch face

Altering the watch face is the best way to customise your Apple Watch without accessories. There's a handful preinstalled. Just press down on the watch face and you'll be taken to a list of available ones.

Under each face preview you'll see a customise button. This lets you tweak parts of the watch face. The customisable areas are highlighted in green and you can switch between each of the settings with a flick of the crown.

6. Measure your heart rate without using an app

Initially it seems like you can only measure your heart rate from within the exercise app, but there is — shock horror — another way. Just swipe up from the watch face then flick right-to-left a couple of times until you see the heart rate reader screen. Tap the screen and the Watch will read your heat rate. Simple.

Apple Watch tips and tricks

The Apple Watch lets you track your heart rate without an app

7. Use Apple Pay to buy things in the US and UK

Did you know Apple Pay is available in the US and UK? Of course you did! Simply set up Apple Pay on your iPhone and away you go. You can pay using your Apple Watch at any contactless payment terminal.

In the UK you can even use it to replace your Oyster Card on TfL services.