The Radio Times logo
We may earn commission from links on this page. Our editorial is always independent (learn more)

What does an Apple watch do and how does it work?

Apple's line-up of smartwatches contains some wonderfully multifunctional pieces of kit. Here's the lowdown on what exactly they can do for you.

Published: Tuesday, 11th January 2022 at 5:45 pm

Wearables are more popular than ever in 2022 and Apple's range of smartwatches are among the best. The Apple Watch 7 arrived late last year, offering some fantastic new features and style options. Read on to get the full lowdown on the uses and features of the Apple Watch 7 — and its predecessors.

Advertisement

Since the launch of the first Apple Watch way back in 2015, the product has gone from strength to strength, adding a wide variety of much-requested features. The company reportedly sold 43 million Apple Watches in 2020 and the Apple Watch 7 could well build on that figure in 2022.

The RadioTimes.com team has gone hands-on with the whole Apple Watch range and can see why Apple's smartwatch range has been quite so successful.

Apple's marketing of the Watch 7 has recently focused on its fall detection feature, which is ideal for older people, those who love adventure sports, or just people looking for extra peace of mind. We'll be discussing the other features of the Apple Watch 7 and its predecessors later.

What's the newest Apple Watch?

The Apple Watch 7 is the latest – and greatest – Apple Watch. It was released in October 2021 and packs some appealing new features, without being a huge upgrade on the Apple Watch Series 6.

Smaller bezels mean it's got a bigger, brighter display than its predecessor and it charges faster, with better battery life. Elsewhere it improves on the Series 6 with better durability, meaning it's more able to stand up to scrapes and bumps. Apple claims it's the "most durable Apple Watch ever". However, the improvements are iterative, rather than revolutionary, so if you've already got a Series 6 it's not essential to seek out the 7 as an upgrade.

As ever, it's not compatible with Android phones. This is very much an Apple-only product and the company is infamous for making its products incompatible with those of its competitors.

Apple Watch 7 stats

How much is an Apple Watch?

Above is listed the full range of watches still on sale directly from Apple. While it's still possible to get other models – like the Series 5 and 6 – via other retailers, they have essentially been discontinued by the manufacturer. Take a look at some of those still available below.

What does an Apple Watch do?

What does an Apple Watch do?

The standout features of the Apple Watch Series 7 include a larger, brighter screen that's easier to use indoors, and "all-day battery life". The latter refers to a full working day though, rather than 24 hours.

The Apple Watch 2 and newer are all water-resistant, which covers them for sweat during workouts or popping in the shower. Owners of the first Apple Watch have to be a little more careful, (and let's face it – they probably have been if it's already lasted seven years). The Series 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and SE are all "swimproof" – so they can be handy exercise trackers if your sport of choice takes place in the pool.

All three watches in Apple's current range have a retina display, with the Series 3's being the smallest, the SE slightly larger and the Series 7 packing a bigger, brighter 'always-on display. It's the most usable and the upgraded display was the main difference between the Series 6 and Series 7.

The Series 7 offers a blood oxygen app and a heart rate app, which neither the Series 3 nor the SE do. These features were newly introduced on the Series 6. While the 3 and SE can't offer full heart-rate tracking, they can offer notifications for high, low, or irregular heart rates.

Similarly, all three offer an emergency SOS capability, but only the SE and Series 7 come with fall detection and international emergency calling.

The Series 7 and SE are both available in either WiFi or cellular models, while the Series 3 is only available in a WiFi model.

The Series 7 is also hardier than all of the other Apple Watches, packing a new IP6X dust resistance rating and crack-resistant front crystal.

Overall, the Series 7 offers the best all-around package but costs the most as a result. If you're looking to save a little, then the SE is a great option and the Series 6 doesn't lag far behind the Apple Watch 7 at all. However, due to the fact, the 6 has essentially been discontinued, it is likely to receive less extensive software updates from Apple going forward, which may shorten its lifespan when compared to the Series 7.

How does an Apple Watch work?

An Apple Watch works in conjunction with an iPhone. So, if you use an Android phone Apple Watches unfortunately aren't going to be a useful purchase for you. Instead, take a look at our best Android smartwatch page.

Essentially, you'll be able to wear your Apple Watch throughout your day and it will pair with your phone, giving both extra functionalities.

For example, if you receive a text message and your notifications are turned on, this will be displayed on your Apple Watch. You'll be able to see that you've received a message and read at least the start of it, (how much depends on the size of the Apple Watch display,) without taking your phone out of your pocket. Notifications from other apps can be seen similarly, including emails, WhatsApp messages, and more.

Apple Watches are also great for sports tracking. If you're a runner, swimmer, or just love sport, then wearing your watch during an activity will help you to track your fitness and performance. The Series 7 also offers heart rate and blood oxygen tracking apps, to give you in-depth data on your fitness and performance.

Where to buy an Apple Watch

Buy Apple Watch Series 7

Buy Apple Watch Series 6

Buy Apple Watch Series 3

Buy Apple Watch SE

Advertisement

For more on the world of wearables check out our best smartwatch page. Or, for more on your favourite Apple products, why not check out our iPhone 13 review

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Sponsored content