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Take control of your Apple Watch with these 24 essential tips and tricks

The Apple Watch is one of the best, and most personal wearables on the planet. Aside from being the current bestselling smartwatch out there, it features a wealth of unique communication methods, an attractive design, and a host of third-party apps.

Related: 10 iPhone tips and tricks to make the most of your new-fangled iPhone

Despite being a year old, and with no direct replacement on the horizon just yet, the Apple Watch provides excellent value given its recent price reduction. Moreover, there are now many more watch straps available — official ones, special designer ones, and well-priced third party ones — to make the watch distinctly yours.

Once it’s on your wrist, it’s time to learn how to use it. However, navigating and making the best use its many features is easier said than done. Muting notifications and setting custom responses is only the beginning. How about using Apple Pay, setting your own pictures as your wallpaper, or transferring music? We’ve got all these, and many more secrets and tips, covered in the extensive roundup below.

Wallpaper, Time Travel, Music, Bluetooth, Nightstand mode

How to set your pictures as wallpaper

Pick an image from the Photos app and set it as your watch face

Yes, the Apple Watch has some cool wallpapers, but sometimes you’ll want to use a picture of your own as the background. The question is, how? The process is surprisingly easy, but it requires you to take a few steps on your iPhone first. Go to Photos, Camera Roll, and after selecting a suitable picture, tap the heart icon to favorite it.

The iPhone syncs your favorite pictures with your Apple Watch. To set them as your wallpaper, press hard on the Apple Watch screen and slide through the option to find the Photo Album, or Photo option. Tap Customize, then use the Digital Crown to zoom in and out of the photos. If you’d rather sync another album, then go to the Apple Watch app on your phone, find Photos and Synced Album. Careful, though, there’s only so much storage space on the Watch.

Time Travel

Time Travel

If you’re using a watch face with the calendar complication, such as Utility or Modular, then it’s possible to travel forward in time to check upcoming appointments, the weather, and certain notifications. Just a twist of the Digital Crown will activate the feature, which also works when you need to go back in time. To return to the present, just press the Digital Crown to exit Time Travel.

Transfer music

Apple puts aside up to 2GB of the Apple Watch’s 8GB space for your pictures and music. Having room for some music comes in handy when you want to workout without your phone. First, you’ll need to sync some music with your Apple Watch, which is partially performed on your iPhone. It utilizes playlists from the Music app, so make sure you’ve got some ready, then launch the Apple Watch app.

Here, scroll down to the Music app menu, tap it, and then select Synced Playlist. Now, choose which playlist you’d like to sync with your Apple Watch. If you change your mind, select the None option at the bottom of the list. Once you’re back in the main Music menu, go ahead and check how much space you’ve allocated for playlists. The default is often 1GB, but you can adjust it if you want more. Keep in mind that if you want to play music directly from your watch, you need to pair it with some Bluetooth headphones.

Pair a Bluetooth device

GoPro Apple Watch

This tip applies to Bluetooth headphones, heart rate monitors, or any other compatible wireless device that works with Bluetooth. To connect the two, make sure the device is ready to pair, and go to Settings on the Apple Watch. Once there, tap Bluetooth and the Watch will begin to search for nearby devices. Select the accessory from the resulting list, and complete the setup using a passcode if one is required. To forget a device, tap the “i” in the list of Bluetooth devices under the Settings menu, and tap Forget.

Nightstand Mode

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

You may already know about this feature given it was heavily publicized after the release of WatchOS 2, but did you know it needs to be activated before it works? Nightstand mode showcases the Apple Watch’s display in landscape mode, so can see the time, date, and alarm settings when the watch is charging.

To activate the feature, launch Settings on your Watch, go to General, and toggle the switch beside Nightstand Mode. Keep in mind that, for Nightstand Mode to work, your Watch needs to be charging and placed on its side. The Digital Crown should be placed face up, as it’s used for activating snooze when the alarm sounds.

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