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Blog

7 Great New Features in watchOS 4

Angie Schiltz

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With watchOS 4 now arriving on Apple Watch users’ wrists, it’s time to make sure you aren’t missing out on any of the important features—and to share a few tips for how to use them. watchOS 4 works on all Apple Watch models, even the original Apple Watch. It does require iOS 11, so if you’ve been using your Apple Watch with an iPhone 5 or 5c, you’ll need to stick with watchOS 3 until you get a new iPhone.

#1: Dock Scrolls Vertically instead of Horizontally

Press the side button to see the Dock, and you’ll notice that it now scrolls vertically—this makes sense since one of the ways to scroll it is by turning the digital crown. You can now arrange Dock items (using the Watch app on your iPhone) based on either your favorites or which Dock items were used most recently.

#2: Useful and Fun Watch Faces

The new Siri watch face doesn’t add new speech capabilities, but it does show timely information, pulling in personal details and suggestions from apps such as Calendar, Reminders, and Photos. It also shows Now Playing controls when you’re playing audio on your iPhone, along with Apple News headlines and stock tickers. We liked it more after customizing its Data Sources in the iOS Watch app.

When you want something whimsical on your wrist, there’s now a Toy Story face. Or, try the trippy new Kaleidoscope face that changes slowly as time goes by—you can speed it up by turning the digital crown.

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#3: App List Supplements Icon Cloud

The App screen’s icon cloud looks impressive, but it can be challenging to locate and tap a specific app. We’re appreciating the new List view, accessed by force-pressing the App screen, which displays apps alphabetically.

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#4: Flashlight on Your Wrist

Swipe up to find and tap the new Flashlight button in Control Center, which turns the screen bright white. Swipe left to access a flashing option, designed to make you more visible at night while walking or running. Press the side button or digital crown to turn the flashlight off.

#5: More Fitness Encouragement and Options

The Activity app is now more chatty and will make suggestions in the morning to inspire you. It will also remind you at night if you are close to closing a ring.

Apple gave the Workout app some attention, too. Starting a workout is easier than before: it now requires only one tap, Do Not Disturb turns on automatically, and your default playlist can even start playing. With the workout underway, you can now switch easily to a different workout type (swipe right and tap the + button), and see a multi-workout analysis at the end of the entire session.

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Swimmers using an Apple Watch Series 2 or 3 can now track sets and rests, pace for each set, and distance for each stroke type. Apple also has added a High Intensity Interval Training workout type. 

Finally, your Apple Watch can connect with some gym equipment, like ellipticals and indoor bikes, allowing it and the machine to share data. Look for an NFC label on your machine, and tap it with your watch.

#6: Multiple Playlists On the Go

The Apple Watch is great for playing tunes to AirPods while you work out, but with watchOS 3 you were limited to just one playlist. With watchOS 4, you can sync multiple playlists and albums via the Music settings in the iOS Watch app. Plus, for Apple Music subscribers, your automatically generated favorites mixes can sync automatically.

#7: More App Enhancements: Phone, Timer, and Camera

Other apps also receive improvements in watchOS 4. You can dial phone numbers manually with a new keypad in the Phone app. Timer now has a Repeat button, so you can repeat a timer with a single tap. And the Camera app offers some new remote options, including support for starting and stopping videos. 

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All-in-all, watchOS 4 is a solid upgrade, and the changes will make your Apple Watch both more useful and easier to use.

Stop Paying Too Much for a Family’s iCloud Drive Storage

Angie Schiltz

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Apple gives iCloud users 5 GB of free storage, but that fills up fast with iCloud Photo Library, iOS backups, iBooks, and more. Until iOS 11 and macOS 10.13 High Sierra, each person in a family had to buy extra iCloud space separately. Happily, Apple has now made it so everyone in a Family Sharing group can share a single 200 GB ($2.99 per month) or 2 TB ($9.99 per month) plan. The family organizer can start sharing storage in High Sierra or iOS 11 as follows: on the Mac, go to System Preferences > iCloud > Manage Family > My Apps & Services > iCloud Storage; in iOS, go to Settings > Your Name > Family Sharing > iCloud Storage. Any other family member can then cancel their paid plan and join the Family Sharing plan using their iCloud Storage screen.

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The Swipes You Need to Know to Multitask in iOS 11 on an iPad

Angie Schiltz

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With iOS 11, the iPhone and iPad interfaces continue to diverge, which makes sense, since the iPad is not merely an overgrown iPhone. Particularly when you pair an iPad Pro with a Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil, you can now get real work done on an iPad more fluidly than ever before. The “hard” part is learning how you switch between apps, display a second app in a Slide Over panel that floats on top of another app, or make two apps share the screen in Split View.

Switch Between Apps

Moving between apps is a key aspect of using the iPad. Apple has provided multiple ways to switch so you can pick those that best fit your style:

  • Press the Home button, and on the Home screen, tap another app’s icon.
  • On the Home screen, swipe down to show Siri app suggestions and search for another app.
  • Within an app, swipe right or left with four fingers.
  • Within an app, swipe up from below the bottom of the screen to reveal the new Dock, and then tap an icon on it. Note that the three rightmost icons are the most recently used apps.
  • After revealing the Dock, keep swiping up to reveal the new app switching screen, then tap an app thumbnail to switch to it. Swipe right to see less recently used apps.

     

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  • From a Smart Keyboard or other keyboard, press Command-Tab to bring up a Mac-like app switcher. Release both keys quickly to switch to the previous app instantly, or keep Command down while you press Tab repeatedly to move sequentially among the shown apps, letting up on Command to switch. While the app switcher is shown, you can also tap an icon in it.

Display an App in Slide Over

Say you’re having a sporadic conversation in Messages while browsing the Web in Safari. You don’t need to see both apps all the time, but you also don’t want to have to switch back and forth. With Slide Over, you can put Messages in a panel that floats over Safari and then hide and show it.

The easiest way to put an app in a Slide Over panel is to use the Dock, so this technique works if the app’s icon is already on the Dock. For instance, while you’re in Safari, swipe up from the bottom of the screen to display the Dock. Then touch and hold the Messages app’s icon until it dims slightly. Keeping your finger down, drag the icon over Safari until it becomes a vertical lozenge. Lift your finger, and Messages appears in Slide Over.

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If the app you want to put in Slide Over isn’t on your Dock, you can use a two-handed procedure to get it from another location and drop it onto another app. For instance, you can start dragging an app icon from any place where app icons appear, including the Home screen or Siri search screen. Once you’ve started dragging it, use your other hand to switch to the other app (perhaps via the Dock or pressing Command-Tab on an external keyboard) and then drop it over the other app. Don’t worry if you find this approach confusing at first—it takes some time to become accustomed to two-handed usage.

Once an app is in Slide Over on the right side of the screen, you can swipe right on its left edge to hide it, or swipe left on its right edge to move it to the other side of the screen.

Put an App in Split View

Displaying two apps side-by-side in Split View is almost the same action as Slide Over. The only difference is that, instead of dropping the app lozenge on top of the current app, you drag it to the far left or right of the screen, and drop it once the screen shows a 90/10 split—after you drop, the split changes to 70/30.

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Drag the handle between the apps to switch to a 50/50 split or a 30/70 split; if you drag the handle all the way to one side of the screen, the app that’s shrinking in size disappears entirely. One of the two apps in Split View will have a handle on its top as well, and dragging it down slightly converts that app into a Slide Over panel. (You can also drag a Slide Over panel’s handle down slightly to switch to Split View.)

Take a few minutes and try putting apps in Slide Over and Split View in different ways, since some of the actions require practice before they feel natural. Finally, if combining two particular apps doesn’t seem to work, don’t fret. Apps must specifically support both Slide Over and Split View, and not all do.