How to use the Apple Watch: Everything you need to know

As a brand new Apple device, the Apple Watch is like no other gadget that you've used before. CNET tells you how to get the most out of your new treasure.

Kent German Former senior managing editor / features
Kent was a senior managing editor at CNET News. A veteran of CNET since 2003, he reviewed the first iPhone and worked in both the London and San Francisco offices. When not working, he's planning his next vacation, walking his dog or watching planes land at the airport (yes, really).
Dan Graziano Associate Editor / How To
Dan Graziano is an associate editor for CNET. His work has appeared on BGR, Fox News, Fox Business, and Yahoo News, among other publications. When he isn't tinkering with the latest gadgets and gizmos, he can be found enjoying the sights and sounds of New York City.
Kent German
Dan Graziano
3 min read

Sarah Tew/CNET

With many more ways to control an Apple Watch than just winding it up, using Apple's newest gadget to its fullest extent will take some time to master. The small and pressure-sensitive touchscreen isn't quite like what you use on your iPhone and accessing so many (and sometimes hidden) features isn't always straightforward.

Fear not, though, as CNET How To is here to help. As he was writing his exhaustive Apple Watch review, our wearables guru Scott Stein explored all corners of the device. So, if you have an Apple Watch, or have preordered and are eagerly waiting for it to arrive, let us guide you on exactly how to use the your new friend and what it can do for you.

We'll be adding more Apple Watch How Tos this week so bookmark this post and check back. And if you have any questions, ask them in the comments.

14 third-party Apple Watch apps we like (pictures)

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Setting up your Apple Watch

How to set up and pair your Apple Watch with your iPhone

Congratulations, your Apple watch has arrived! And now that you have it, unboxed it, and slipped it on your wrist like a boss, here's what to do next.

How to swap bands on the Apple Watch

The bands on the Apple Watch are interchangeable, meaning you can easily change and swap bands for different looks. CNET's Scott Stein showed us how it's done, and the process couldn't be simpler. Here's what you need to know.

Apps on Apple Watch: How to install them and how they work

There are many, many apps for the Apple Watch. Here's how you get them on and off, and how they actually work.

How to use your Apple Watch as an iPod (and leave your phone behind)

No headphone jack? No problem. You connect a pair of Bluetooth headphones to your Watch to listen to music during your run -- without your phone.

Gestures and features

The 10 gestures you need to know for the Apple Watch

Learning the Apple Watch's many gestures should be first on your list when you strap it on your wrist. Here's how to locate apps, pay for things on the go and find your way around Apple's advanced new watch. These are the key ways to navigate on it.

Here's what you can do on the Apple Watch without your iPhone

What can the Apple Watch do by itself? Not a lot -- it's mainly an iPhone accessory -- but there are some key things that it can handle on its own, beyond just telling you the time.

How to set up and use Apple Pay on the Apple Watch

Compatibility with Apple Pay is one of the watch's most touted features. Adding your credit card is easy, but it's a different process than what you may be used to with your iPhone.

How to talk, text and send emoji like Dick Tracy on your Apple Watch

While the Apple Watch isn't its own stand-alone communication device, when connected to an iPhone it does offer a lot of different ways to interact with others. You can make phone calls, send and receive texts, and even send little doodles or your heartbeat.

How to set custom text replies on the Apple Watch

Being able to quickly reply to a message from your Apple Watch is a big part of its appeal. Instead of responding using Apple's preset, generic responses, take a few seconds to create your own.

How to take a screenshot on an Apple Watch

The method for taking a screenshot on an Apple Watch is slightly different than on an iPhone or iPad. Here's what you need to know.

Four tips for improving battery life on the Apple Watch

The battery life on the Apple Watch will last you about a day, but there are ways to squeeze some extra juice out of it.

Still need to order? No problem

Unless you order online, buying an Apple Watch is quite different from buying an iPhone or iPad. In stores, you'll need an appointment, and the very personal nature of the device can make the choices bewildering. If you're still confused, Sharon Profis can guide you through the process in her complete guide to buying an Apple Watch.