6 Hidden Features in WatchOS 3 You Probably Don’t Know About

Apple didn’t leave anything to chance with WatchOS 3. In its third take on the wearable, Apple made major improvements. For starters, the friends circle has been replaced with the dock, and the docked applications load instantly. In addition, battery life is superb, and the system as a whole¬†runs quicker. Now, let’s take a deeper look into features, some of which are hidden from view entirely.

1. The Dock


The dock houses up to ten of your most frequently used applications. To access it, press the side button.

1. From here you can use the Digital Crown to scroll left or right. This is better than sliding through the app selection with your finger.

2. While you can remove dock apps from the Watch app on your iPhone, it’s much easier to slide up on the app from the Dock itself. Once at this step, just tap the big “x.”

3. Any applications used that aren’t in the Dock will appear in the Dock after use as “recent.” You can then choose if you want to keep it in the dock.

2. Workout


Apple Watch is marketed extensively as a fitness companion, and boy does it deliver! The heart-rate sensor is more accurate than many fitness trackers on the market, and the built-in workout app itself knows no parallel. Here’s what the Workout App can do for you in Watch OS 3.

1. In the Workout app you can now give nicknames to your “other” workouts. Simply select “other,” complete your workout, tap Save, and scroll through the list of workout nicknames. Once you have done this, Apple Watch will remember that particular workout’s nickname and keep it in the quick start menu.

2. When working out, double-tap on your screen to split the workout into a “section.” Like when running on a track, a double tap could signify a lap. The Watch will save each section with its own data to be viewed after the workout.

3. Siri


Siri now offers third party app support on Watch OS 3, along with iOS 10. She can interact with your applications hands-free, without you having to launch them. Here are a few examples:

  • Square Cash – “Hey Siri, send Ashleigh $20 for dinner with Square Cash.” You’ll be asked to confirm, and off it goes. You can also request money, as well.
  • Uber – “Hey Siri, get me an Uber.”
  • Nike+ Run Club – “Hey Siri, start a workout with Nike+ Run Club.”

4. Messages


The most used mobile app in Apple’s history has received the largest overhaul this time around. From friendly stickers to full-screen effects, there’s something that everyone will get a smile out of. All Messages features on Watch OS 3 are included on iOS 10 – excluding Scribble.

  • Tapbacks – Double-tap on a message to select a “tapback.” Think about a tapback as a quick response message. Rather than responding with “okay” or “cool,” you can respond with a thumbs-up tapback. It’s that simple.
  • Pre-Canned Responses – Select and send a pre-canned response directly, rather than having to select “respond,” like in previous Watch OS versions.
  • Language Selection – Force Touch and select “Choose Language” to change the current language.
  • Directions – Force Touch, select “Details,” scroll, and select the contact’s address to get directions. Maps will launch.
  • Full-Screen Effects – These effects can’t be sent from the Watch, but they can be received from other iOS devices running iOS 10.
  • Scribble – When pre-canned responses or dictation aren’t appropriate for the situation, tap scribble and start scribbling out what you want to send. The best part of this is it is quick, and letters can be written over one another.
  • Speed – Dictation is overall quicker and more accurate. Commands like “exclamation mark” and “period” are picked up with ease.

5. SOS


Kevin Lynch, the Vice President of Technology at Apple, said that SOS isn’t a feature that you’ll use every day. However, he also mentioned that when you need it, “you’ll be glad you have it.

1. Press and hold the side button for six seconds to call emergency services.

2. Apple Watch recognizes what country you’re in and dials the corresponding emergency number.

3. After your call with emergency services, Apple Watch alerts selected contacts of your location.

6. Watch Faces


Watch OS 3 introduced new faces and a few new spins on existing faces. Some aren’t so obvious, so let’s check them out:

  • Minnie Mouse – Minnie features newly colored outfits that you can change to fit the band for the day.
  • Mickey and Minnie – Both characters will speak the time when tapped.
  • Activity – There’s a few that fall into this group, but all have the activity rings as a central focus. And they look really, really cool.
  • Numerals – This face is one of my favorites. It displays the time in an analog format, and there is a number for the hour that appears next to the hour hand. The look of this numeral can change based on your tastes.




Apple never fails to try something new, and Watch OS 3 is one of the greatest extensions of that idea. Nothing is left to chance, and the focus for user experience is ever-so apparent. As always, Apple will charge forward with innovation in the future – the Watch project included.

Corbin Telligman
Corbin Telligman

I'm a junior at UT Dallas, a tech enthusiast, an adreneline junkie, and a coffee fanatic.

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