One of the most beloved features of watchOS 3 is the app dock, a screen that's accessible with the push of a button and shows you a list of your most-used watch apps. I use the dock every day and can't imagine my watch without it. Most commonly, I use it to start workouts and pull up my rewards cards at coffee shops. But I realized recently that I've been using the feature incorrectly all along, and I made one simple change that increased the usefulness of not only dock, but my Apple Watch as a whole.
My problem was rooted in the way that the dock screen first appears when it's summoned. Back when I was first setting up my watch after upgrading to watchOS 3, I didn't understand how the dock would appear. I imagined that the apps would be shown in an ordered list from left to right, so I added the apps I use most and ordered them based on frequency of use. I thought that this meant I could push the dock button and immediately see a list of my selected apps, with the ones I use the most appearing first and being most easily accessible. Makes sense, right?
Unfortunately, this isn't the way the dock works. Rather than displaying the list of apps starting from the left, the dock starts all the way on the right, showing the app most recently opened on the Watch. While I appreciate having access to my most recent app (usually Activity), the placement of the recent app seems unintuitive. Why not place it to the left of the dock so that I can still access my most-used apps? But that's not how Apple decided to set it up. So instead, I decided to change my approach to the dock altogether.
It was a simple change, really. I opened up the Watch app on my iPhone, went to my dock settings, and reversed the order of the apps. Now, my most commonly-used apps appear on the right side of the dock, next to my most recently-used app. This gives me much quicker access to the apps I use the most and saves me precious seconds of fumbling around my app list while I'm on the treadmill or in line to pay for coffee. It may seem unintuitive (because it is), but once you understand how Apple has set up the dock in watchOS 3, you can game the system to work best for you and save time. After all, isn't that the whole point of the feature in the first place?
Thank you for reading my tip for making the Apple Watch app dock work best for you. Do you have a tip for setting yourself up for success with the Apple Watch? I'd love to hear it! Tell me about it in the comments below, or tweet it to me (@devondundee).
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