Two weeks ago, I had a breakfast meeting. Right around my second piece of bacon, my wrist vibrated. I looked down to see my editor had sent back comments about my column. For the rest of the meal, my attention wasn’t on the words coming out of the person across from me, but on the few words I’d seen on my watch.
If you allow it, the Apple Watch will constantly pull you out of the real world and suck you into your digital one. With constant chimes, vibrations and pop up alerts it can become a hi-tech shackle, chaining you by the wrist to your email and text messages, your Facebook and Twitter feed.
If you let it, that is.
After wearing the Apple Watch on my wrist for the last three weeks, I’ve learned how to tame it.
The very first thing I did was use it to limit notifications going to my wrist. In the Notifications menu, I turned off alerts for almost all third-party apps, even for ones I keep popping on my phone, such as Twitter and Facebook. (During Apple Watch setup, Apple mirrors your phone notifications in the watch settings, so you’ll have to tweak them.)
Of course, what you enable will be personal preference, but after one liked-photo Instagram notification and an alert for my next round of “Trivia Crack,” I was ready to put a muzzle on the majority of them.
The calendar app, for instance, now only pings my wrist for upcoming event reminders — not new invitations or invitee responses.
Within the iPhone’s Mail app, you can add specific contacts to a VIP list. Then, when you go to the Apple Watch iPhone app, under the Notifications menu, you can set it to only notify you if one of your VIPs emails.
I also frequently turn off the red indicator on the watch face, which says if new unseen notifications await you. I used to love the blinking red light on my BlackBerry but on my wrist, it became an addiction.