Apple Watch Companion App Features Said To Include Activity Reminders, Phone Unlock

A new leak of details from within the upcoming companion app for the Apple Watch claims to show some unannounced features we can expect from the wearable when it arrives sometime early this year. The dump of the app’s settings screens from 9to5Mac show panels that let users tweak how it handles Activity, Accessibility, Messages, Motion and Fitness and more on the watch, with plenty of customization options available to let Apple Watch owners finely tweak what gets reported on their device, and how.

The trove of information shows that users will be able to set a Monogram for their watch face, which is a customizable set of initials between one and four characters, as well as customize the city appreciations used in the World Clock ‘complication.’ Complication is used throughout to describe different watch features, and the word is borrowed from the term used in actual watchmaking to describe different abilities separate from basic time-keeping, including power reserve meters, world timers, chronographs and more.

Other complications include a stock monitor you can add to the watch face, which can be drawn from the stocks you track on your phone, and which can show either the current price, price or percentage change, or market cap with live updates throughout the day.

Messages can be set to take the settings from your phone, or customized in how they appear specifically on your Watch separate from your device, including things like sending Read receipts to your contacts. You can set whether the watch will respond with recorded voice or transcribed dictation when you answer messages, too.

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Passcode locking will enable Apple Pay, but an extra element of requiring your to both put the Watch on your wrist and then enter the code will help make its use as secure as when you’re handling it with Touch ID on the phone: If you remove the Apple Watch, it’ll disable Apple Pay until you put it back on again and re-enter your credentials. A similar feature will see users able to unlock their Watch simply by unlocking their iPhone connected to the wearable, but only when the Watch can verify it’s attached to your person, which again should help prevent unauthorized access.

The Companion app also appears to offer activity reminders that will let users set notices to be sent if you stand for the first 50 minutes of any given hour (standing regularly throughout the day is said to promote health according to many medial professionals), and you can set goals and receive activity updates throughout the day, depending on your preference, with updates available every 4, 6 or 8 hours. Heart rate tracking can combine with step counting to monitor calorie burn, if a user enables that feature.

The entire dump at 9to5Mac reveals even more granular details about Apple’s companion app for the Watch, but in general you’ll see they pretty much match up with many of the settings already found on your iPhone or iPad. The key ingredient here is that Apple seems to want to make sure that users have full control over what their Apple Watch shows them, independent of their iPhone – while also giving them an easy way to port over preferences should they choose to be less hands-on.

Apple’s strategy with the Apple Watch appears to hinge on providing users with a good deal of customization when it comes to hardware, so this could be seen as the software equivalent of that strategy. The ink is hardly dry when it comes to Apple Watch details, however, and we still have to get official confirmation from Apple on what’s coming on the software side, so stay tuned for more as we approach the rumoured launch window of March.