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My ideal Pebble smartwatch setup on iOS 7

With Pebble's smartwatch fully supporting iOS 7 now, what's the most beneficial setup for balancing notifications with battery life? I think I have it figured out.

Jason Cipriani
Jason Cipriani
Jason Cipriani Contributing Writer, ZDNet
Jason Cipriani is based out of beautiful Colorado and has been covering mobile technology news and reviewing the latest gadgets for the last six years. His work can also be found on sister site CNET in the How To section, as well as across several more online publications.
Jason Cipriani
3 min read
Jason Cipriani/CNET

When I first put on a Pebble smartwatch shortly after it was made available at Best Buy, I was excited. The thought of being able to leave my phone in my coat pocket, or in another room, and receiving alerts on my wrist was very appealing. Quickly I realized the watch only lived up to half of the hype I had built up in my mind. As someone who switches back and forth between iOS and Android on a nearly weekly, sometimes daily, basis, it didn't take a long time for me to see there were plenty of shortcomings with iOS and the Pebble.

I truly felt as if the company should have marketed it as a smartwatch for Android devices. I felt that way up until Pebble released its iOS 7-specific app and Pebble firmware, bringing full notification support to iOS and the watch. With the latest update, the amount of work required to get notifications flowing from your iPhone to your wrist is minimal, with most notifications working without you having to do a thing.

The Pebble went from being a product I told iOS users to forget about, to one that I tell iOS users to get. Sure, there are still some shortcomings when you compare what can be done with Pebble and an Android device, but for all intents and purposes, the watch finally does what it was originally conceived to do: bring notifications to your wrist. Anything above and beyond that is a bonus.

As I began to actually use the Pebble when I was carrying my iPhone, I started tinkering with how I interacted with notifications on my iPhone, now that I also had them on my wrist. At first I started turning off lock screen notifications for a few apps, since lighting up my lock screen was no longer needed when a notification came in. This saved battery, but it also helped limit distractions. If I don't have time to look at my wrist, I don't need to be beckoned by my device's screen lighting up. The more I did this, the more apps I started turning off lock screen notifications for. Up to the point where currently only the Phone, Calendar, Messages and e-mail VIPs can cause the screen of my iPhone to light up.

But there was a problem. If I wasn't able to catch the notification on my wrist, it was no longer queued for me on my lock screen. Then I figured out a solution. Enable notification view on the lock screen. When I first set up iOS 7's Notification Center I disabled the notification view on the lock screen. I didn't like that anyone could pull down and read through my notifications. Really, though, I never have any messages that are truly private, and my device is always in my possession. So now I have a queue of all notifications at my fingertips on the iPhone, but I don't have to deal with lock screen alerts.

To recap, I currently have nearly 100 percent of my notifications disabled from showing on the lock screen. With a Pebble connected to my iPhone, I let the watch act like the lock screen, only it's on my wrist.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

In order to edit your notifications you'll need to go to your iPhone's Settings > Notification Center. Scroll down to the list of apps and start by selecting an app you want to remove from your lock screen. After selecting it, scroll to the bottom of the app's notification page and toggle the Show on Lock Screen switch to the off position. Repeat this process for all remaining apps.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

While in the Notification Center settings, make sure that the option to show the Notifications View on your lock screen is turned on. With this enabled, any apps you have Show in Notification Center enabled for will show up on the notification shade, even on your lock screen.

The end result is a balancing act of getting the most use out of the Pebble smartwatch, while letting your iPhone save on battery usage.

What kind of setup have you adopted with your Pebble watch and iOS 7? I'd love to hear about a better method in the comments below.

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