Here's the first thing you should try on your Apple Watch 7

Apple Watch 7 keyboard
(Image credit: Future)

The Apple Watch 7 is the best smartwatch money can buy. But whether you’re a long-time Apple Watch user or the Series 7 is your first smartwatch, there’s an awesome feature you should try if you haven’t already — the keyboard.

Though there’s not much difference between the Apple Watch 7 vs. Apple 6 beyond larger displays, the Apple Watch 7 has a slightly tailored version of watchOS 8. It includes exclusive watch faces, app animations and, most notably, a full QWERTY keyboard. 

Now, the Apple Watch 7 isn’t the first smartwatch to offer a keyboard for convenient texting. Several of the best Samsung watches had a F9 keyboard before the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 provided the entire alphabet. Older Wear OS watches have a keyboard, too. 

Unless you avoid messaging from your wrist, you might not have noticed how all the best Apple Watch models lacked a keyboard. Me? I’ve long relied on my Apple Watch to send messages, accepting the occasional frustrations that come with talking to text. (Because as any Apple Watch user knows, depending on Scribble for sending messages simply isn’t an option.)

But having a true keyboard is better than any texting option previously offered on the Apple Watch. Since I swapped out the Apple Watch 6 for the Apple Watch 7, I've been texting away from my wrist. I prefer swiping my words instead of tapping out individual characters, but either method works well. My mom, who has a hard enough time texting without typos on her iPhone, can even manage coherent messages using the Apple Watch 7's keyboard. This goes for both the new Apple Watch 7 sizes, 41mm and 45mm.

I will admit I hoped a native keyboard would come with watchOS 8, so older Apple Watch models could benefit from Scribble-free typing without needing one of the best Apple Watch apps from a third-party. On the other hand, it makes unboxing the Apple Watch 7 more exciting. 

You can show others just how excited you are by adding emojis and typing exclamation marks through the Apple Watch 7 keyboard. In other words, you can actually text with the same mannerisms you would on your iPhone — no more getting lost in translation with talk-to-text or shortcut phrases you assigned in Scribble.

In my review of the Apple Watch 7, I called it the most usable smartwatch yet. The keyboard is a major reason the veil between smartphones and smartwatches has thinned, making the potential of a smartwatch-only mobile experience more conceivable.

If you want a taste of the inevitable iPhone-Apple Watch convergence, get used to the keyboard on the wearable. I’m sure one day a physical keyboard will fold out from a wristwatch, but for now, a digital QWERTY keypad should definitely suffice. 

Check out all our favorite Apple Watch 7 tips and our guide on how to use the Apple Watch to make the most of your smartwatch. And if you're still debating whether to buy the Apple Watch 7, see all the best Apple Watch deals 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.