Get smarter with your smartwatch | The Drop | Inspiration | O2
Get smarter with your smartwatch
Whether you’ve just picked up a shiny new smartwatch or you’ve had one for a while, get more out of yours with our top tips
Improve its accuracy
If you love knowing your PB down to the millisecond or want to know exactly how many steps there are between your front door and the corner shop, head into your smartwatch app on your phone. Simply enter your biometric data – such as your weight, height and even stride length or what hand you wear the watch on – and your smartwatch will start tracking your movements with pinpoint accuracy. On some watches, you can enter this data on the device itself, but you might find it easier to do this on your phone’s bigger screen.
Wear it properly
Generally speaking, a smartwatch should be worn in two different ways: a fit for daily life just above the wrist bone and tight enough so it doesn’t slip around, and a tighter fit for exercise. This is especially true if your device has a heart rate monitor because it needs skin contact for its sensors to work correctly and accurately. Too loose, and you won’t get the best readings. Your manufacturer should advise on how tight to wear your specific smartwatch but play around to see what works for you. If you find the fit uncomfortable, or you can’t get it tight or loose enough, consider swapping the strap for a new one.
Practise mindful breathing
We take an average of 25,000 breaths a day, but paying attention to how you breathe is associated with benefits to physical and emotional health. Many smartwatches have respiratory tracking abilities, which can help pick up on early signs of medical conditions such as chronic lung disease. Others offer guided breathing exercises that can alleviate anxiety – so try exploring your smartwatch’s breath functions and see if it reduces your stress levels.
Save time on notifications
If you’re in the middle of a hectic day, feeling your phone buzz at the bottom of your bag can be an unwelcome distraction. Because once you know something’s waiting for you on your phone, it’s almost irresistible to check it immediately. But there is another way. By linking your smartwatch to your phone, you can quickly glance at your wrist to see if an incoming notification requires an urgent response – or if you can wait to dig your phone out when it’s more convenient. It’s the little things.
Challenge your friends
If you have purchased a smartwatch to track your exercise, what about the days when you’re lacking motivation? It can be gruelling working out alone. Handily, some smartwatches now allow you to set customisable goals, compete against your friends and view your daily, weekly and even yearly stats. Challenging your friends, and winning badges and bragging rights, can you give an extra push as autumn and winter draw in. One word of advice: be realistic. Don’t immediately set yourself up against your fittest ultra-marathon running friend or set improbable goals. Compete against friends with similar fitness levels to keep your motivation high.
Find your phone
If you’re forever leaving your phone in the car or losing it down the back of the sofa, a smartwatch from the same brand as your phone is a real asset – and an absolute timesaver. It’s also an invaluable feature if your phone is genuinely lost or stolen. Simply pair the two devices when you first buy your smartwatch, and you’ll be able to track your phone from your wrist. You can also use your phone to check the location of your watch if the latter goes walkabout.
Monitor your sleep
Rare is the person who couldn’t do with getting a better night’s sleep. Most new smartwatches can now track the sleep stages you cycle through each night, including light, deep and REM sleep – helping to pinpoint underlying issues such as apnoea that may be disrupting the quality of your rest. Other devices also allow you to schedule bedtimes and analyse your sleep trends over time. Dig into these metrics and use them to tweak your night-time routine for the best possible slumber.
Change up the faces
Modern smartwatches have a myriad of customisation options, so feel free to switch up your watch’s face depending on your mood (or outfit). Maybe you want yours to resemble a traditional luxury Tag Heuer or a retro Casio – or you’d like a bright colour or fun picture. There are no rules, so dive into your watch’s pre-loaded range of options or try downloading an app such as Facer or Watch Faces for even more.
Don’t forget to update it
We’ve all been there. The “do you want to install the latest update” screen is so easy (and tempting) to put off until the next chaser. And then the next one. And the next. But like your phone, it’s important and useful to always have the latest software installed on your smartwatch. Not only do updates fix bugs and ensure you have the latest privacy and security settings, but often you’ll get a raft of cool new features you might be missing out on. So, if the update prompt comes at an inopportune moment, make sure you install it as soon as possible.
Clean it, front and back
If you wore a shirt or dress to work as consistently as your smartwatch and didn’t clean it, you probably wouldn’t be allowed in the building. And certainly not into a meeting room. Your smartwatch can do many amazing things, but it doesn’t self-clean, so keep hygiene in mind – which means more than just wiping the screen. You should take your smartwatch off regularly and clean the strap and back of the device, especially any part that connects with the skin. Not doing so can lead to skin rashes, irritation or components starting to smell bad. Always follow your manufacturer’s instructions for proper cleaning advice to avoid damage.