A Week Without My Apple Watch

I’ve had my Series 2 Apple Watch for nearly a year. I ordered it the minute that the preorders went live, and it has worked flawlessly ever since. However, my Watch recently developed a bright pixel. If the display was on, no matter its brightness, this blue pixel was stuck on full brightness. It wasn’t a big deal during the day, but was glaringly obvious at night – especially when I was using the Numerals watch face. So I took it to the Apple Store to see what they could do. After all, it is still covered by Apple Care, and I didn’t spend $500+ for something that’s defective. Unfortunately, I was told that Apple Stores aren’t equipped to handle Watch repairs, and that my Watch would need to be shipped back to Apple for them to attempt to fix it. This meant that I would be without my Watch for about a week. Not a big deal, right? Well, I am now 6 days without my Watch, and this has made me realize just much I actually use it.

A typical day for me starts and ends with my Watch. I have a dock that charges it in nightstand mode overnight, and all it takes is a gentle tap anywhere on the Watch to light up the display to show me the time. Then when the alarm goes off, it’s time to get up.

First thing in the morning is workout time, and Apple Watch makes it so easy to start and track my workouts. I usually do either an elliptical workout or a strength training workout, and all I have to do is remember to start and stop the workout on my Watch. It automatically captures the duration of my workout, and uses the heart rate monitor to help calculate the total calories burned. I don’t have to go into an app afterwards to record my data. It automatically syncs to the Activity app, and I’m all set.

(Speaking of Activity, something has to be said about the motivating factor of filling up those Activity rings. I usually have one of the Activity watch faces for most of the day, to make sure that I keep pushing to fill the rings. I’ve had days where it looked like I might not complete my Move ring, but a quick walk after dinner was enough to get the job done. A little more activity that wouldn’t have typically been done is always a good thing! As if seeing my rings fill up isn’t motivation enough, there is even more reason to do it when you consider the weekly and monthly badges that are available. Especially as I approach the end of the month, and I’m already working on a perfect month of filling the rings everyday, there’s no way I can not try my hardest to fill the rings on those final days! Those Activity rings are a simple and amazingly powerful way of getting me up and keeping me going! Without my Watch, it has been more difficult to stay motivated to do my workouts everyday. Obviously, I’ve worked out for years without my Watch, but nonetheless I’ve come to appreciate the simplification that it has brought to my routines. Now, I have to manually add my workouts to my Health app, which means I have to note times and calories burned off of the machine, or just estimate them. Having a heart rate monitor built in to the Watch makes these numbers way more accurate. However, much to my dismay, I discovered that adding workouts manually to the Health app doesn’t contribute to the filling of my rings. I investigated and determined that only the Apple Watch is capable of adding data to the rings. Unfortunately, this means that I will miss out on two Perfect Month badges, as I shipped out my phone on August 29, and it’s now into September.)

After my morning workout, it’s time to get ready for work. Frequently, I set a reminder to go off at some point before I leave the house. “Remember to take such and such to work”, for example. I’d always miss these reminders when they used to go to my iPhone, but now with a quick tap on my wrist by my Watch, I never miss them!

These quiet taps for Notifications are indispensable throughout the day as well. I have several that go off periodically: reminders to log my caffeine, to log my meals in MyFitnessPal, to do something on my Things list, stand notifications for my Activity ring, activity notifications for my social apps, email and messages notifications, game notifications. The convenience of having these delivered to my Watch, viewable at a glance rather than having to pull out my iPhone and potentially be a disturbance, is greatly missed while my Watch is in the shop!

Similarly, being able to view incoming messages from my Watch, with the ability to quickly tapback a response or dictate something more fully, is amazing. This is even better when the message contains a photo! Viewing a shared photo on your Watch truly is like we’re living in the future!

Back home in the evening, I use my Watch while preparing dinner. I frequently set a timer with Siri while I’m cooking, which has saved me from countless burned dinner or spoiled recipes. I can still do this hands-free with the Hey Siri function on my iPhone, but the convenience of it being right on my wrist means I can’t walk away from it and forget about it.

The music playback controls are super convenient as well, as I don’t have to use my iPhone to get some music playing. I can leave the phone on the table and control it from my Watch if it’s just me and I want something quiet. Or, if I’m having more of a gathering, I can use the Apple TV remote on my Watch to play some music through the stereo that everyone can enjoy.

Then finally, when it comes to the end of the night, I turn on my alarm for the morning and set the Watch on its charging stand,

Of course, there is one other, obvious thing that my Apple Watch does all day. It tells the time. I haven’t worn a watch for probably 20 years, having just gotten used to checking my iPhone. But now, I didn’t even realize how frequently I would raise my wrist to check the time until I have nothing to look at but a watch tan!

None of these small conveniences are critical. I can set alarms or get notifications on my iPhone, just like I did for years before getting my Watch. After getting used to all of these things, and now going back to how I was before while my Watch gets repaired, it is eye-opening to how important this little device has become to me.