Apple Watch: Revisiting a Complicated Question

I find the watch useful for glancing to get relevant information. For example, my main watchface right now shows me the weather, gets me access to Drafts voice dictation, my current activity level, and my next priority task for the day.

Seeing these in a low context environment lets me keep tabs on what I want to see without getting distracted by whatever is open on my phone at the moment.

Plus, it allows me to have my phone put away but still see important interactions (i.e. texts from my wife).

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I use it as an iPod when out and about, its easier controlling volume and next tracks. I also often have my phone playing music at my desk or at home, usually while it is in its charger, sometimes hooked up to a speaker, if I’m in another room the remote control function is great too. Timer function whilst cooking, heart rate monitoring, breathing exercises, reminders to stand, Omnifocus reminders (especially for routines), telling Siri stuff when I’m not near my phone, never missing phone calls of I don’t want too…I didn’t realise how much I use it until I started writing this!

Yes, the Mac, iPad, iPhone are great, but I feel the foundation of it all for me is now my watch.


I view the Apple Watch as a complementary device and not a main device. I also had my doubts when the Apple Watch S1 to S3 would show up in the annual Apple Keynote. The S4 ticked the checkbox for me when I wanted a more robust activity tracker.

There are times when it’s easier to look at my watch to check the weather instead of fishing inside my gym bag to see if I can go out for a short run without hitting a heavy rain downpour.

Having the calorie counter and timer to make sure I hit my daily 30 minutes makes it easier to track health activities. Recording health stats is much easier when I paired the Apple Watch and my iPhone.

Slowly, I am starting to find small moments that the Apple Watch seems to ease itself into my life. It takes time for us to find moments where it can glide right in.

I hate trying to fish my iPhone out of my pocket when I want to use Siri to dictate an OmniFocus inbox item or a Drafts transcription. Using the Apple Watch makes it easier.

Instead of pulling out my iPhone to set a 25 minute Pomodoro, I’ll raise my wrist and start a timer.

These are all small moments that I’ve been repeating quite a bit. Using the Apple Watch reduces that friction. Yes, I could live without the Apple Watch but it’s so much easier to interact with my iPhone apps using the Apple Watch.

I would never have guessed how the Apple Watch would fit it into my life. I’m actually in a good situation. I bought my S4 and figured that if I didn’t really like it, I could pass it down to my wife or kids. The resale value is still quite high so you’ll find a good market for it if you find that the Apple Watch isn’t for you.


So I’m about 5 days into using a Series 5. I wasn’t planning on getting one, but had an accident and busted my Series 4. It gave me a chance to get the smaller Series 5 in Aluminum (which I had been wanting to do anyway).

Anyway, I’m 5 days in now and I’ve realized something profound (for me anyway). I can now use the Apple Watch for all the things that @wilsonng mentions but without as much distraction as the Series 4 gave me. How you might ask? Well…

"Always on screen", but turn off “Raise to wake”.

This was a revelation for me. I now can always see the time, but I’m not distracted by notifications. I also don’t get real-time (to the second) complication updates, but they refresh at around 1 min intervals (which is more than enough for me).

It’s such a breath of fresh air, and really makes the Apple Watch feel more at home for me. I can still access Siri, tap the screen to view real-time notifications, or complications, etc… But it’s less distracting throughout my day. :partying_face:


Hmmm… I wonder if I can “accidentally” bust my Series 4 now… :wink:

Turning off most notifications for the Apple Watch is key for me. Most of my notifications are for calendar appointments and the Due app.


Ditto. I have messages, calendar, and tasks all turned on. Everything else only goes to my phone.

And I wouldn’t recommend accidentally busting it. :smiley: I didn’t realize that the watch was “un-fixable”. Literally worthless after I dropped it. smh.

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I tried the AW5 for a week and it is such a great piece of tech. The notifications did bother me though as did the battery life.

Case in point: I ran a half marathon 2 weeks ago that took just over 2 hours. Prior to that my warm up was 3km and cool down was 2km.

When I got back to my car the AirPods were on 1% and if I’d had my AW it would have died or so close to it I would have been frustrated. (And then would I have run at all??? :thinking: )

So while I would absolutely love an AW and it would be fine day to day, I run a lot and only the Garmin at this point gives me confidence it would get through.

I was thinking if Apple reduced the screen resolution slightly as it is way better than the running watches in general (I know, why would they?) it may extend battery life to more than 1.5 - 2 days.

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One of my friends told me to swipe up on the Apple Watch face and turn off wifi. He thinks it might help reduce battery drain.

I’m not sure but I think the wifi is used when your iPhone is not in range.

Battery life on the Apple Watch is always elusive. I’m hoping for battery technology to improve to the point where we don’t have to charge for a couple days.

I was thinking of a fitness ring but haven’t actively looked at them yet…

I’m not sure if I use my watch differently, but I don’t have a problem with battery life at all.

I can go 2 whole days on a full charge (including wearing it at night).

I also have nearly zero notifications by design that get to the watch. That might be a difference.

Garmin is pretty much the best for running watches, so I don’t blame you for going that route if that’s your primary use case!

Same here. I put mine on at 6am, and take it off around 9pm, and I usually have ~60% battery left. This is a 40mm S5.

I also have minimal notifications. I’m thinking many people with battery issues are much heavier users.

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I’ve wondered this as well.

I wanted to revisit this topic after a few months of using the AW S4 every day.

I’m actually finding the watch able to do exactly what I want it to: keep me off my phone, but connected to the items that matter.

For example, on days my wife works and I’m home with the kids, I usually don’t want my phone in my pocket. Especially if I’m tired, the phone can end up being an unwanted distraction for both me and my kids. Previously, if I did this, I was always wondering about important communications. Now with the watch, I have no doubt, and no worries if I don’t have my phone nearby. I’ve also been taking the same approach at night after work, and it’s been great.

The workout and activity tracking have been a game changer this time around. I’m staying more active and more mobile consciously because the watch helps me keep track of this visibly throughout the day. This is a choice I’ve made to use the tool this way, but it’s been doing what I want it to do. :tada:

As far as distractions go, I haven’t hit the point where I felt overwhelmed by the watch at all. I think there are a few reasons for that.

  1. I don’t have as many notifications as I used to.
  2. I am more intentional with the inputs I put into my brain throughout the day.

The latter I think is the more important, as I’ve noticed on days where I’ve spent more time looking at Twitter, Reddit, and the like (purposeless activity), I find myself overwhelmed and anxious. The converse is true, too – when I don’t do those things, I feel a lot better.

Overall, I’m happy with my Series 4. I’m not worried about skipping the Series 5, either. Here’s to hoping I can use my watch for multiple years to come :smiley:

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Never had one, never wanted one… I have a Raymond Weil watch I bought 44 years ago (worn nearly every day during that time) for £100 now worth over £3,000 I doubt if that is likely to happen to the AW.

I think I have enough beeping buzzing and general interruptions now without any more. Considering how much of an Apple “fan boy” I am sometimes I just never “got” the watch.

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Yeah that’ll never happen unless they become a scarce collectors item decades from now. Also highly unlikely!

It definitely is a very personal device and choice. I think everyone is just fine without one, but I personally found it helpful to augment certain areas of my life.

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On the specific exercise battery issue, I’ve used an Apple Watch S2 running the Workout app on a 5 hour bike ride around the English countryside and it ended at around 40%. So I don’t really think it’s an issue outside of ultras or hiking.

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