This hidden Apple Watch feature is a total time-saver

Apple Watch Ultra
(Image credit: Future)

Owning an Apple Watch comes with a long list of conveniences, ranging across communication, productivity, safety and fitness features. But even one of the most well-known Apple Watch features — setting a timer — has a hidden tool you might not have seen before.

As someone who knows how to use the Apple Watch, I was surprised to only learn about this hidden timer feature recently. Yet it's a feature that has already saved me a ton of time and hassle. If you're someone who uses the timer app often, you'll appreciate it, too.

You can create a list of favorite timers that appears at the top of the timer app. This way, the timers you use on a regular basis are conveniently located in the app. While you might see a 'recents' menu by default, this list only holds a few timers and it changes every time you set a new timer.

By favoriting a timer, it holds a permanent position in the timer app. This is a game-changer for me, since I have a couple of different timers I need on a daily or weekly basis. From knowing when to switch my laundry and take dinner out of the oven to tracking deadlines and how much time I have left in a forearm plank, there are a handful of specific timers I find myself needing on standby.


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I've I made managing my timers easier by adding a timer complication to my Apple Watch face, but the option to favorite timers is the true time-saver. Luckily, anyone with an Apple Watch can try it out, whether you have the new Apple Watch Series 8 or Apple Watch SE (2022), or an older model.

You'll also want to make sure your Apple Watch is running the latest software version, which is watchOS 9. See our guide on how to update your Apple Watch if your device is due for an upgrade. This will ensure you have the best experience possible when trying out this awesome feature.

How to favorite timers on Apple Watch

Apple Watch Ultra favorite timers

(Image credit: Future)

All you need to do to favorite a timer is to swipe left on a timer in 'recents' and hit the orange star button. Yes, it's really that simple.

When you've favorited a timer, it will appear in a new menu above 'recents' called 'favorites.' I added over 10 favorite timers, and had no issues. This means you can assign multiple favorite timers for ones you use most frequently. 

It's especially helpful if you need timers for uncommon timers — for example, my laundry machine takes 36 minutes for a wash cycle. Creating a custom 36-minute timer once or twice a week was a drag. Now that I know about this Apple Watch feature, this timer remains conveniently in the favorites menu in my timer app.

Looking for more ways to make the most of your Apple Watch? Here's how to add a step counter to your Apple Watch face, and how to optimize Apple Watch charging to make your device's battery health last as long as possible.

Kate Kozuch

Kate Kozuch is an editor at Tom’s Guide covering smartwatches, TVs and everything smart-home related. Kate also appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account (opens in new tab), which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her on an exercise bike, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.