Man wearing smartwatch

Getting a new smartwatch is an exciting moment in one’s life. It keeps you connected to your smartphone from your wrist. In addition, smartwatches provide a wealth of personal data like sleep analysis, activity tracking, and heart-rate monitoring. Best of all, it can also tell the time. If you’re new to smartwatches or looking for ways to maximize your device’s capabilities, you’ve come to the right place. From personalizing notifications, to tracking health metrics, learn how to make the most of your smartwatch with these smartwatch tips.

Getting started

Pairing your smartwatch with your phone

The very first step is to pair your smartwatch to your phone. Most smartwatches work on both Android and iOS and require you to download an app. Look for a QR code on the box to download the correct app. From there, enter details about yourself such as your age, sex, height, etc. This will help apps that measure your metrics, like activity trackers and heart rate monitors. To get accurate data like calories burned, provide as much detail as possible.

Customizing your smartwatch

Samsung Galaxy Watch4
  1. Personalizing watch faces: Smartwatches allow a lot of customization options. Start with changing the watch face. You can find additional watch faces in the watch’s mobile app. There are a variety of faces including analog, activity tracking, and classic designs.
  2. Adjust notifications: From there, personalize notifications and alerts. This is where you decide which alerts you want to get. This could be news alerts, text messages, or WhatsApp messages. A good tip is to only choose the alerts that are most important to you. For example, choose who you want to get notifications from. This could be your boss or certain family members like parents or kids. Only the important messages will make it to your smartwatch. It’s a great way to stay connected to your phone without having to look at it. 
  3. Setting up widgets and shortcuts: Widgets and shortcuts help you see what you want to see. This could be the weather, daily steps, or real-time heart beat. Widgets and shortcuts significantly improve the user experience by offering quick and easy access to essential smartwatch features and data.
  4. Changing straps: For a truly personalized look, consider changing the band or strap. There are a variety of options and sizes to choose from, with straps available in different colours and materials to match your outfits or activities. You can use one strap for the gym, and another strap for special occasions, for example.
Apple Watch

Daily usage smartwatch tips

  • Morning alarm clock: Set your smartwatch as a morning alarm to help you wake up. The combination of an alarm sound and vibrations will help you wake up. If your smartwatch tracks sleep, see how much sleep you got the night before. Make that a daily habit so you can track your sleep over days, weeks, and months.
  • Voice assistant: Smartwatches offer voice assistants. The Apple Watch has Siri, while Android based smartwatches use Google Assistant. Use the voice assistant on your smartwatch to set reminders, create a shopping list, or call a friend. Simply raise the watch to your mouth and talk. It’s like having a personal assistant on your wrist!
  • Sleep analysis: If your smartwatch tracks sleep, use it to gauge how much sleep you’re getting. Go to bed and wake up at the same time and assess your previous night sleep every morning. That way, you’ll know exactly how much sleep you’re getting.
Woman running and wearing a smartwatch to track her run.

Tracking fitness and health metrics

Smartwatches provide an excellent way to track your daily activity like steps. Aim to get around 10K steps a day. If you’ve been sitting for an extended period of time, some smartwatches will even remind you to get up and walk around. 

Smartwatches can also track your workouts. Many have dedicated apps for running, cycling, jump rope, and more. See real-time metrics such as distance traveled, heart rate, and pace from your wrist. This data is then synced to your phone. With a smartwatch, you can track and monitor your activity over the course of days, weeks, and months. Tracking your fitness and health metrics is a great tool to keep you motivated and active. 

App recommendations for smartwatches

Best fitness apps

  • Strava: There are hundreds of smartwatch apps available. One of the most popular fitness apps is Strava. It makes fitness tracking social. You can record 30 types of sports including running, rides, hikes, and yoga.
  • MyFitnessPal: Using MyFitnessPal’s Wear OS companion app, you are able to add frequently logged foods to your diary, view your nutritional intake, add water, and more.
  • Fitbod: Build better lifting habits with the ability to log your sets, reps, and weight lifted. Fitbod can help you ensure each muscle is worked out for a balanced workout program.

Productivity and utility apps

  • Todolist: If you’re looking to be more productive, try Todolist. It allows you to create to-do lists alone or with a team. The smartwatch app provides notifications and a daily digest of your upcoming projects. It’s great for people juggling a lot of different tasks to keep them organized and productive.
  • Evernote: Dictate ideas or voice search across all of your notes. With Evernote on your smartwatch, you can check off items from a checklist from your wrist.
  • iMeet Agenday: Aggregate all your personal and professional calendars into a single, streamlined interface. You can receive driving directions to your next meeting and send “Running Late” messages directly from your wrist.

Troubleshooting smartwatch issues

Smartwatches connect to phones through Bluetooth. In some cases, they might lose connection to a phone. This might happen when the phone and smartwatch are far apart. In most cases, resetting the phone and watch will resolve most connectivity issues. Toggle Bluetooth on and off on your smartphone to reestablish a smartwatch connection. 

Man biking and wearing Fitbit Sense 2  smartwatch.

Battery optimization tips

Smartwatches vary in their battery length. Some last a couple days, whereas others can go a week without a charge. In most cases, the more features you use, the more battery power is required. To extend your battery life, disable features like heart rate monitoring. If you want to use all the features and sensors, get into a good charging habit. One tip is to always charge your smartphone when you shower. You get clean, your smartwatch gets power. This ensures you have more than enough power till the next time you take a shower again. 

Maintaining your smartwatch

Cleaning and caring for your smartwatch

Smartwatch case

Like all tech, smartwatches require occasional maintenance. Use alcohol wipes to keep it clean. This is especially important if you wear your smartwatch while exercising. The band on some watches might need replacing after extended use, so ensure replacement bands and straps are available for your model. Finally, dedicate a spot in your room to charge your smartwatch. Get into a good cleaning and charging routine to keep it clean, charged, and ready to go. 

Protecting the screen and body

A good idea is to invest in a screen protector for your smartwatch. For the best protection, you might want to look into smartwatch cases. But if you’d rather have some protection without the bulk of a full case, a screen protector alone is a great choice.

Make the most out of your smartwatch

A smartwatch is an extension of your smartphone. It can keep you connected without looking at your phone. On top of that, smartwatches can track your sleep, act as an alarm clock, track your steps, workouts, and more. It’s one of those things you’ll use on a daily basis. And, with these smartwatch tips, you can ensure you unlock its full potential. If you don’t have a smartwatch, read this smartwatch buying guide to learn more about their features. It will help you decide which model is best for you.

Shop smartwatches at Best Buy.

Andy Baryer
Andy Baryer aka “Handy Andy” is a technology journalist, gadget reviewer, and DIY/how-to content creator. Known as the handyman of tech, Andy enjoys fixing poor wireless networks, building smart homes, and cooking with the latest kitchen gadgets. He’s a competitive whistler, a budding woodworker, and loves gardening in his home-built smart garden.


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