Getting Started With Your Smartwatch

Smartwatch setup guide and essential apps

This guide covers the initial smartwatch setup process including how to customize your watch face and essential apps you should download. Instructions apply broadly to Apple Watches, Wear (formerly Android Wear), and all other smartwatch platforms.

Pebble Smart Watch
Alissa Holland/Moment Mobile/Getty

How to Set Up a Smartwatch

Follow these steps to set up your smartwatch:

  1. Connect the device to its included charger so that you start with a full battery.

  2. Download the appropriate app to connect your smartwatch with your phone. For example, on Android watches, download the Wear app from the Google Play Store.

    The Apple Watch app is already installed on iPhones running iOS 8.2 or later.

  3. Connect the smartwatch to your phone via Bluetooth. Enable Bluetooth on your phone, and you should see your smartwatch pop up as an available device. Select it to connect.

Customizing a Smartwatch

You can download a new watch face to add some more personality to your device. Watch faces are available from your watch's mobile app, but you can also get them from third-party apps like Facer. You can find a variety of faces, from analog designs to faces that display the current weather in addition to the time. Most smartwatch manufacturers also sell multiple straps, so if you get bored of the default option, you can buy a band that's steel, leather, or a different color.

Enable notifications on your watch to get messages and other incoming updates from your phone.

Must-Have Smartwatch Apps

Apart from text notifications and Google Now updates (for Wear users), apps dominate your smartwatch experience. You’ll find that many of your favorite apps are already compatible with smartwatches. For instance, Instagram works on the Apple Watch, while IFTTT and iHeartRadio are compatible with Wear. Google Play has a dedicated Wear section, and the App Store has an Apple Watch category. Pebble users can find compatible apps via the Pebble app on their phone.

If you need a few ideas to start you off, consider downloading a fitness app to track your workouts, a weather app, and a note-taking app like Evernote. Once you have some good apps, you can specify which notifications you want to receive on your smartwatch.

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