3 mistakes everyone makes with the Apple Watch

Get more battery life and spend less time being annoyed by things you don't care about

Apple Watch Series 7
(Image credit: Apple)

I have loved my Apple Watch since the very first version, even though I had the faint feeling that I'd spend a whole lot of money on something that didn't really do very much. I don't have that feeling any more: my Apple Watch Series 7 is one of my very favourite bits of technology. The health and fitness tracking that didn't really appeal to me back in the day are part of my daily habit now, I've nailed the notifications so I'm not getting nagged all the time and I've got a good routine so I never run out of battery.

Everybody uses their Apple Watch in different ways, but there are some things we all do – and some mistakes I think most of us make too. Here are the top three mistakes you're probably making with your Apple Watch.

1. Accepting all notifications

By default your Watch is set to mirror notifications from your phone, which is a nice idea in theory and a really terrible one in practice. If you don't try to tame your notifications you'll spend all day checking your wrist for important information only to discover that the local takeaway really, really, really wants you to order a curry and Tim Cook thinks it's time you stood up. Between that and stand notifications and breathe notifications and email notifications and Messenger notifications and... you get the idea. And these aren't just a drain on your time or on your mental energy. They're a drain on the battery life too.

The good news is it's easy to change. Go into the Watch app on your iPhone and tap My Watch > Notifications and then go through the apps you want to edit. Some apps have different kids of notifications, so for example with Calendar you can choose what notifications you get and Mail can notify you for specific email accounts or limit notifications to people you've marked as VIPs.

2. Not turning off Maps alerts

The first time I felt a notification from Maps I thought there was something terribly wrong with my Apple Watch: its idea of a gentle notification to turn right is to play a Gene Krupa-style drum solo on your wrist. The idea is a good one, and useful if you're walking solo: you can get directions without looking at your watch or phone. But in the car it's actually really distracting, and it's yet more unnecessary drain on the battery.

As with notifications, this is easy to change. In the Watch app, go into My Watch > Maps and then set the alerts you do and don't want to receive. Mine is set to notify me when walking but not when I'm driving.

3. Not getting into a good charging routine

Although the Apple Watch's battery life is better than before, you still don't get the same battery life as many rival devices: a day and a bit is typical. That means it's important to get a good routine to charge your watch without missing out on features such as sleep tracking, and with the latest Apple Watch that's easier because it charges more quickly than before.

For me, the solution is to wear my watch all day and all night; when I get up for my coffee and daily doom-scroll I stick it on its charger. By the time I'm breakfasted and showered my watch is at full charge again, ready for another day. If you don't have the time for that or just aren't good at routines, it's wise to get an extra USB charging puck or Apple Watch charger that you can use to charge your Apple Watch on your travels or at your desk.

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written thirteen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote another seven books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com (opens in new tab)).