Welcome to your new Apple Watch 7. Before you press ahead making this smartwatch your everyday timepiece, there are a few Apple Watch 7 tips you’ll want to know when you take the device out of the box.
The Apple Watch experience is customizable enough to cater to your individual needs, which is one of the reasons it’s usually the best smartwatch around. Do you want your smartwatch to be your virtual wallet? There’s a setting for that. Do you want to turn off Always On display mode to extend the Apple Watch 7 battery? You can do that, too.
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These Apple Watch 7 tips are absolutely optional, though we recommend checking them out so you best know how to use the Apple Watch. You can reference this guide at any time, too — not just when you’re first setting up your smartwatch.
And yes, some of these features are also found on all the best Apple Watch models. But be sure to check out our guides to the Apple Watch 7 vs. Apple Watch 6 and Apple Watch 7 vs. Apple Watch SE for key differences. The Apple Watch SE doesn’t have an Always On display option, example.
Here are the top Apple Watch 7 features to enable and disable now.
Always On display
The Apple Watch 7 isn't the first Apple Watch with an Always On display — that was the Apple Watch 5 — but it does offer a brighter screen while in this idle mode. It's about 70% brighter when your wrist isn't raised compared to the Apple Watch 6.
When you set up your watch, you'll be prompted to enable Always On display. While the setting is convenient for seeing your complications at a glance, you might not want your wrist lit up all the time. You also might want to extend your Apple Watch's expected 18-hour battery life. In that case, disabling Always On display could be a smart move for you.
On your Apple Watch, go to Settings > Display & Brightness > Always On. Toggle Always On off or on, depending on which mode you prefer. You can customize which apps or information you want to see when your wrist is down, too.
Like Always On display, you'll be prompted to create an Apple Watch passcode during set up. But should you create one? In most cases, we recommend protecting your smartwatch with a unique code. This will add a layer of security to major settings, and stop someone else from resetting your watch if you happen to lose it somewhere.
Better yet, the Apple Watch 7's bigger display and tailored watchOS 8 makes the passcode buttons more practical to tap. You can turn your passcode on or off at any time by going to Settings > Passcode.
Apple also requires your Apple Watch to have a passcode if you want to have your Apple Wallet on your wrist. Since the Apple Watch 7 has an NFC chip, you can use it to pay at any place with contactless check out.
Speaking of Apple Wallet, this is another feature you'll be encouraged to use during set up. If you have any credit cards saved to the Apple Wallet on your connected iPhone, you'll be asked whether you want to add them to your wrist for Apple Pay. You'll likely need to enter your credit card's CVV code, and your wallet might take a moment to verify your information with your card issuer.
In your Apple Wallet you can also hold store rewards cards, movie passes, airplane tickets and more. In watchOS 8 you can add hotel room and other digital keys to your wrist as well. To add a card to your Apple Wallet, go to the Apple Wallet app on your smartwatch and click Add Card. You can add Previous Cards (one in your iPhone Apple Wallet,) Debit or Credit Card (new form of payment) or Transit Card (public transportation passes available in select markets.)
Again, to use these Apple Wallet features on Apple Watch 7, you must have a passcode.
For some reason, Fall Detection isn't automatically enabled on a new Apple Watch. There are multiple instances where the Fall Detection feature — which can recognize if you've taken a hard tumble and summon emergency services to your location — has saved lives. Whether you're into outdoor sports, or simply live somewhere where you take stairs, there's no reason not to turn on Fall Detection.
Go to Settings > Fall Detection and toggle Fall Detection on. Your Apple Watch will warn you that if you're physically active, certain movements might trigger fall detection alerts. In that case, you'll want to let your Apple Watch know you're OK so it doesn't sound an alarm and call for help.
Another Apple Watch 7 that doesn't come automatically enabled is Find Devices. This app is new with watchOS 8, and is one of the more effective ways to never lose your iPhone again. In the Find Devices app, you can set Notify When Left Behind alerts that tell you when you've forgotten one of your Apple products somewhere.
You can use the app to locate any of your devices and get directions to them. It's an effective way to track down lost AirPods, for example. And if you have an Apple AirTag attached to your bag or other personal item, you can be led to it, too.
Open the Find Devices app on your Apple Watch 7. You'll be asked to allow Find Devices to use your location. Click the "While Using the App" setting to enable Find Devices.
Enabling Noise notifications will let your Apple Watch 7 alert you when sound levels in your environment could be harmful to your hearing. It doesn't record the sounds, but it does periodically measure the noise levels around you using the Apple Watch's microphone.
Go to Settings > Noise and toggle on Environmental Sound Measurements to enable Noise notifications. You can also assign a decibel threshold that sends you an alert when the noise level in your environment reaches a certain height. According to the CDC, repeated, long-term exposure to noises above 70 decibels may cause permanent damage. We recommend using Noise notifications so you're in tune with the sounds around you — and how they might be impacting your hearing.
Apple Watch sleep tracking isn't as sophisticated as Fitbit or Garmin sleep tracking, but it's a useful tool for keeping a regular sleep schedule. It requires wearing your Apple Watch 7 overnight so it can see when you're awake versus asleep, and check your respiratory rate.
You'll want to create a Wind Down routine for complete effect, allowing your Apple Watch, as well as your iPhone, to alert you when you should start getting ready for bed (if you intend on meeting your sleep goal, that is.) You can even enable charging reminders to ensure your smartwatch will make it through the night. With the Apple Watch 7's new fast charging feature, eight minutes of charging before bed gets you eight hours of sleep tracking.
Go to Settings > Sleep and scroll down until you see Sleep Tracking and Charging Reminder toggles. Turn both on to enable sleep tracking on your Apple Watch 7.