How to ping your iPhone from your Apple Watch

Apple Watch 7
(Image credit: Future)

Do you know how to ping your iPhone from your Apple Watch? One of the best Apple Watch features I use most frequently is the ping button in the control center to locate my iPhone. I often forget where I put my iPhone down, but with my Apple Watch always strapped to my wrist, I can it track down through a loud ring.

But recently I learned there's another way to find your iPhone with your Apple Watch, and it's particularly helpful at nighttime or in dark spaces. Not only can the Apple Watch ping a paired iPhone, but it can cause the iPhone's flashlight to blink too. 

The first time I figured out this hidden Apple Watch feature was by accident. I distractedly held down the ping button on my Apple Watch while searching for my iPhone. The phone was face down on my couch, and in addition to the familiar ringing sound I saw a flashing light in the otherwise dark living room.  

There are many reasons why the Apple Watch is the best smartwatch on the market — if you ask me, how easy it makes it to find my iPhone is a major selling point. Now that I know how the flashlight trigger works, I've been using it frequently, and even showed it off on the Tom's Guide TikTok account (p.s. follow us if you don't already (opens in new tab).) 

Check out the video on how this Apple Watch feature works:

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It might not be the most sophisticated Apple Watch feature, especially when you consider all of what watchOS 8 and the best Apple Watch apps offer, but it's also not obvious. If you find yourself misplacing your phone multiple times per day like I do, the flashlight might come in handy. Whether your iPhone fell beneath your car seat, ended up in your laundry bin or is lost in another dark space, a blinking light can reunite you with your device. 

This feature is a bit hidden. So here's how to ping your iPhone from your Apple Watch and trigger your iPhone's camera to flash in the dark.

How to ping your iPhone from your Apple Watch

1. Swipe up on your Apple Watch's home screen to open the control center. 

2. Look for the ping iPhone button. It's an icon of an iPhone with curved lines on both sides.

Apple Watch how to

(Image credit: Future)

3. Press and hold the ping iPhone button to ring your iPhone's alarm and trigger your iPhone's flashlight. If you just press the button without holding, it'll ping your iPhone without the flashlight. Continue until you've found your iPhone.

If you'd like more Apple Watch tips, get started with how to eject water from an Apple Watch. We also have a handy general guide on how to use the Apple Watch. And if you're a new Apple Watch owner, see the Apple Watch settings you should enable and disable right now.

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.