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The 10 coolest things the Apple Watch can do

The Apple Watch is a remarkably capable device, but it still doesn't take long to master the basics of what it can do. Once you've got those down, it's time to change gears and try your hand at some of the clever but less obvious features that you can take advantage of, thanks — in no small part — to all the apps that bring added functionality to your smartwatch. With that in mind, here are 10 of the coolest things your Apple Watch can do.

Go for a swim

Got an Apple Watch Series 3, Series 4 or Series 5? Banish your natural inclination not to get your electronics wet. While the first version of the Watch was water resistant, Apple added the ability to submerge the watch up to 50 meters with the 2016 update to its smartwatch line. And that feature remains a part of the Series 3, 4 and 5 models, making them perfect for workouts at the local pool.

Just remember to use the Water Lock feature to eject any extra water from the speaker opening after your workout. Water Lock kicks in automatically when you start a swimming workout, and you can unlock the screen (and clear out water) when you're done by turning the digital crown. (Keep in mind that if you take a swim in the ocean, you also probably want to rinse off the salt water with fresh water afterwards.)

Control your Apple TV

Did your remote slip between the couch cushions again? No worries: your Apple Watch can control a number of home theater devices, and it never leaves your wrist. For example, if you have an Apple TV, you can use the Apple Watch's Remote app to swipe around the set-top box's menus, start and pause playback, and more. If you've got a Logitech Harmony Hub universal remote, you can also run scripts from your Watch to turn on and off your home theater devices by using the IFTTT app on your Watch, though it won't yet let you do anything beyond that.

Talk to your car

If you've got a modern automobile, your Apple Watch may offer you ways to check on your car's status and even interact with it. Offerings from Mercedes Benz, BMW, Porsche, VW and more let you do things like lock and unlock your car's doors, honk the horn, check battery levels on electric cars, and even help you find your parked car. If you've got an older car, an aftermarket option from Viper includes an app to let you lock, unlock, and start your car remotely. It's no KITT from Knight Rider, but then again, what is?

Compete against your friends in fitness

You can measure yourself against your friends by turning on Activity Sharing. In the Activity app on iOS, go to the Sharing tab and tap the Plus (+) icon in the top right to invite someone to share their Activity info with you. Then you'll be able to check their status in the Activity app on your Apple Watch, you'll get notifications when they complete workouts our close their rings, and vice versa.

MORE: The Best Mobile Fitness Apps

Go running without your iPhone

Speaking of working out, if you've got an Apple Watch Series 3 or later, you can finally live the dream and leave your iPhone behind when you go for a run. That's because newer Apple Watches have built-in GPS that can track your workout without needing you to lug that heavy phone around. Plus, bring along a pair of Bluetooth headphones for the ride and you can even listen to music right off your Apple Watch too. Besides Apple's own Workout app, you can take advantage of this in plenty of third-party apps like Runkeeper and Nike+ Run Club.

Stream music without your iPhone

You'll need an Apple Watch Series 3, 4, or 5 with LTE connectivity to pull off this feat, but it's one that will be a welcome feature if you enjoy a little music accompanying your run. Because the Series 3 model is capable of connecting to wireless networks on its own, you can stream songs without having your iPhone close at hand — ideal for working out. And you're not just limited to Apple Music and its $10-a-month streaming service. Apple also includes an app called Radio with the Apple Watch for streaming songs.

Control smart home devices

Souping up your home with smart lights, smart shades, a smart thermostat, smart switches and so on and so forth can be fun, but how do you control all of it? From your Apple Watch, naturally. The built-in Home app lets you control HomeKit-compatible accessories like Philips Hue lights and Honeywell thermostats, but there are plenty of other home control apps on the market. Philips, Honeywell, and other third parties have their own apps that let you control those specific features, and there are also third-party home automation apps that let you set up routines to control disparate smart home devices — even those that aren't supported by HomeKit — like Yonomi, IFTTT, and Matthias Hochgatterer's Home app.

Unlock your Mac

Did you know your Apple Watch can save you some typing? If you've got a Mac made within the last several years, your Apple Watch can be used to unlock the screen without having to enter your password. All you need to do is enable the ability on your Mac in System Preferences > Security & Privacy by checking the box next to Allow your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac. Now, when you wake that Mac from sleep and you're wearing your Apple Watch, it should take care of that pesky password business for you.

MORE: Laptop Mag: How to Unlock a MacBook with Your Apple Watch

Scribble messages

Sure, you probably know you can compose messages and emails on your Apple Watch via dictation, but did you also know that anywhere you can dictate a response, you can also write one? A Scribble feature lets you draw letters, numbers, and symbols on your screen and have them automatically converted to text. It's surprisingly good, and very handy when you're in a place where maybe you don't want to look like Dick Tracy talking to your Watch. When you go to enter a response, just tap the Scribble key and write away!

Order food

Ever get so hungry that even taking your phone out seems like a bridge too far? Fortunately, you can order food right from your Apple Watch, using a variety of apps. GrubHub lets you reorder recent favorites with just a couple taps or you can specifically order a pizza from Domino's or burritos from Chipotle. With your Apple Watch as your witness, you'll never go hungry again.

MORE: For additional tips, tricks, and how-tos, be sure to check out our complete Apple Watch Guide.