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I love my Apple Watch, but it pisses me off every single day

Someone wearing an Apple Watch Series 5 on their wrist.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

I’m in a dysfunctional relationship with my Apple Watch, and it’s only getting worse.

I love that it gives me quick access to Siri. I love that I’ve almost never missed a phone call since I started wearing it. I love being able to glance at a text message and know if I need to respond quickly or if I can ignore it (like I do with its constant reminders to stand up).

But I hate that every time I cross my arms, which I do multiple times per day, my Apple Watch thinks I’m trying to edit my watch face. This frequent and unintentional triggering of a long-press — and the seeming absence of a solution — is triggering a strong desire in me to just stop wearing it.

What’s especially perplexing is that this is a relatively new phenomenon. I’ve been wearing my Apple Watch Series 5 daily since December 2019. Over the years, the crossed-arms triggering would happen occasionally, but in the past six months, it has gone from a once-a-month or twice-a-month event to something I can no longer ignore.

Simon Cohen wearing an Apple Watch while crossing his arms.
Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

There’s nothing weird about my Apple Watch, and Apple has assured me that it hasn’t made any software updates that might be responsible for the change. Maybe my arms have changed shape? I’ve definitely been making an effort to hit the gym more often, but I don’t think that’s it.

In the universe of Apple Watch issues, I realize that my complaint is tiny — so laughably small and trivial that it doesn’t even merit a “first-world problems” jab. And yes, there’s a distinct “oh-let’s-all-take-a-moment-and-feel-sorry-for-the-aging-white-gen-xer-dude-who-can’t-cross-his-arms” quality to my rant.

And yet, I’m not alone. Somewhere, out there on the interwebs (OK, on Reddit), are others suffering through the same ennui.

Responses to these threads have been less than helpful. “Maybe cross your left arm over your right arm instead,” suggests one person who clearly doesn’t understand that alternating your arm-crossing is like alternating the hand you use for mousing — very hard to switch.

An Apple Watch Series 5 laying on a book.
Digital Trends

Turn the water lock on,” says another. “When Water Lock is on, your Apple Watch Series 2 or later doesn’t respond to touch on its display.” While this is technically true, and I have tried it out of desperation, it’s barely a Band-Aid. Not only does it effectively reduce an Apple Watch to, well, just a watch, but I’ve also found that you need to reactivate the feature after charging, so it would have to become a daily ritual.

In one of the earliest threads I found (circa 2015), some commenters became downright hostile to the original poster. “Change what you do with your body so that the watch doesn’t react in ways that drive you to distraction,” instructed one person, who then felt the need to defend Apple by adding, “Apple has NOTHING to fix to accommodate how you position your body.”

Over on the Apple Support site, one frustrated watch owner noted that their arm-crossing had accidentally deleted a watch face. Fearing it might happen again (or worse), they asked if the long-press to edit could be disabled. The answer they received was no. The community manager reminded them that they can always submit feedback to Apple.

Several commenters felt that arm-crossing is rude and should be generally avoided.

Is it rude? I’m not convinced. But I do know that it’s often seen as a sign of annoyance or irritation at someone or something. This seems appropriate as that’s exactly what I’m feeling toward both my Apple Watch and toward Apple for its nearly eight-year reluctance to offer a solution to the arm-crossers of this world.

You might say the situation has made me very cross indeed.

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Simon Cohen
Contributing Editor, A/V
Simon Cohen covers a variety of consumer technologies, but has a special interest in audio and video products, like spatial…
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