What’s New With Apple Watch’s OS2 Update

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Apple’s new watchOS 2 update improves what you can do from your wrist, but the best is yet to come, as more apps are developed with all the built-in features in mind. For example, Google Maps just launched an update that allows you to plot a course home directly from the smartwatch. In the meantime, here are the best things you can now do with the Apple Watch.

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Go faster with native apps.
Apps now run directly on the watch, where before they were running from your phone. The difference is obvious: Apps launch more quickly and get information to the screen with fewer lags. Running apps on the watch also allows app developers access to the watch’s sensors — which should soon result in more compelling apps.

Pick more watch faces.
With watchOS 2, you can choose your own photos as the wallpaper — even Live Photos, which show movement just before and after you made the picture — or pick from new timelapse scenes from Paris, London, New York, and Hong Kong. Original faces offer more color choices, too.

Use your watch as an alarm clock.
Because you have to charge your watch basically every night, it might as well serve a function. Place it with the crown side up and the watch enters Nightstand mode, with a large digital read of the time. The crown also becomes the snooze button for the alarm.

Start workouts from Siri.
The new OS uses Siri in smarter ways. For example, you can now start a workout without going into the Workout app, which is especially helpful if you forget to start tracking exercise before already moving.

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Amp up your security.
Activation Lock requires an Apple ID and password when trying to disconnect your watch from your phone or use the watch with a different iPhone. That means a stolen watch is much less valuable.

Extend the display time.
By default, the Apple Watch‘s screen turns on for 15 seconds. You can now extend that to 70 seconds — which is enough time to look away and then back without having to wake up the screen again.

Play music more easily.
The updated Music app adds Quick Play, which plays a random selection of your music, and a button for Beats 1, Apple’s live radio station — both get the music going with less fuss.

Reply to emails.
Just like for Messages, you can now quickly reply to an email. Pick from canned answers like “Could you give me a call?” or “Got it, thanks,” or dictate a response to Siri.

Look into the future, sort of.
Time Travel lets you scroll the crow, see which appointments you have planned, and what the forecasted temperature will be for the day. However, what you see is dependent on the watch face you use — if you pick one of the new timelapse faces, your Time Travel doesn’t do anything.