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Wearable Tech

8 things every Pebble Time user should know

Watches that do more than help you tell the time can be intimidating, but they shouldn't be. We round up some tips to teach you more about one such watch, the Pebble Time.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Pebble Time is a user-friendly smartwatch with a battery that seems to never stop. At least, when compared to the single-day battery life of competing smartwatches from Apple and Google's Android Wear.

Despite its user-friendly design, there are still some tips and tricks hiding under your sleeve.

So if you've recently picked up a Pebble Time or have had one for awhile, you'll want to read through our list of eight things each Pebble Time user needs to know below.

Initial setup

Screenshot: Jason Cipriani/CNET

Before you can begin receiving alerts from your phone on your Pebble Time watch, you'll need to install the Pebble app on your phone. You can find the Android version here, or the iOS version here.

During initial setup, the app will walk you through creating a Pebble account and connecting your watch to your phone. You'll also select your default language as well as installing some suggested apps, and picking your first watchface.

iOS vs. Android

There used to be some fairly significant differences in overall experience when it comes to using a Pebble Time with iOS or Android phones. After years of software updates and refinement, it seems the most notable difference rears its head when it comes to dictating responses to text messages.

For iOS users, you'll need to be either an AT&T or Verizon Wireless customer and follow the instructions in this post to gain the option send a new message or reply to incoming messages using your voice.

As an Android user, you can click the middle button on the right side of the watch when viewing a notification to view additional actions or options you can take on the message. If "Voice" is listed, then go ahead and talk to your watch. No one will stare.

Watch apps

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

The Pebble Time app splits watch apps and watchfaces into two different stores. The app tab will show you currently installed apps on your watch. You can tap on the "+" button in the lower-right corner of the app to view the app store.

Some important things to keep in mind as you review app listings include:

  • Pay attention to OS compatibility. An Android robot and iOS text indicate which platform(s) the app will work on.
  • Look to see if the watch app requires a companion app on your phone. In the far-right screenshot above, you can see the Music Boss app shows that an Android app is required to use it.
  • You'll likely find a section of curated apps "Powered by Kiezelpay." This is a service developers can use to charge for their work, kind of like PayPal but specific to Pebble watch apps.

You can view a list of installed apps on your watch in the phone app under the Apps tab. Drag and drop various apps to the order you prefer, or tap on the Settings icon to make changes. If an app has a yellow dot next to it, that indicates you still need to set up the app.

Watchfaces

Screenshot: Jason Cipriani/CNET

Watchfaces on Pebble Time work similar to apps, having a dedicated tab and store within the Pebble app.

When you add a watchface to your Pebble account, it will install itself on your Pebble Time watch and open any applicable settings page in the Pebble app.

You can switch between watchfaces by selecting an installed face, or customize how each one looks by tapping on the Settings gear to the left of the watchface.

Health

Screenshot: Jason Cipriani/CNET

Pebble Health is an automatic step-, exercise- and sleep-tracking tool recently added to the Pebble Time lineup.

Before you can begin tracking your steps, you need to enable and opt-in to using Pebble Health in the app. You should have been asked during initial setup if you wanted to turn it on, but if you skipped past it like I did, you can always open the Pebble app, go to its Settings, and turn on Health.

You'll need to enter some personal details such as height, weight and your overall fitness goals before it's enabled.

With Health turned on, you can view your current step counts and last night's sleep quality under the Health tab in the Pebble app or by opening the Health app on your Pebble Time watch.

Quiet Time

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Sure, receiving notifications on your wrist is convenient but it can also come across as rude during a meeting or date. Thankfully, Pebble has gradually updated its software, making it possible to put the watch on what amounts to a "do not disturb" mode the company calls Quiet Time.

On the watch, click the middle button to open the app listing and scroll up to Settings > Quiet Time by pressing the middle button to select each item.

Here you can manually enable quiet time, have it automatically enable and disable itself based on your calendar entries, set times throughout the week when it should turn on or off and indicate what interruptions-if any-you want to allow.

To quickly enable or disable Quiet Time, say for an impromptu meeting, you can hold in the back button on the left side of your watch until it vibrates.

Additionally, you can view the notifications tab in the Pebble app and set specific apps not to push alerts to your wrist during the week or weekend.

Timeline

Timeline is Pebble's interesting take on putting more information at our fingertips without forcing users to click and hunt just to launch an app to get a sports score or current weather conditions.

From the watchface of your Pebble Time, you can press the bottom button to view future pins. Pins can range from trip plans to ESPN updates. Pressing the top button will take you back in time, revealing meetings or games that have already ended.

You can interact with items in your timeline by pressing the middle button to select it. For example, clicking on an ESPN entry will give you the option to view more details about the game, including live sports scores if the game is currently underway.

Quick Launch

The standard procedure to launch an Pebble app on your watch is to press the middle button, then scroll to the app, press the middle button again, and finally interact with the app.

With Quick Launch, you can create shortcuts to two of your favorite apps. Press and hold the top button until the watch vibrates, then select an app to assign to the top button. Repeat the process for the bottom button.

To change an app assigned to Quick Launch, open the Settings app on your Pebble watch and open Quick Launch.