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Text Messaging

Billie and Aaron hardly ever use their iPhones to place voice calls; they are all about the texting. They text their friends, they text each other, and they text their parents. Apple Watch is a great way to be notified about text messages (Figure 4.18). Just tap the Reply button to reply to a text message, right from the notification.

Figure 4.18

Figure 4.18 The text message notification includes a Reply button.

When you tap the Reply button, a list of suggested messages appears (Figure 4.19). Scroll to see the whole list. If one of the messages listed is appropriate, tap it and it is immediately sent. This list of suggestions is pretty clever in that it will try to offer contextual options. If there is a question in the message you’ve received, some common answers to questions appear at the top of the list (Figure 4.20). If the message includes a question with two options like “Do you want to get sushi or hamburgers for dinner?” sushi and hamburgers will both be on the list (Figure 4.21).

Figure 4.19

Figure 4.19 The list of stock text messages.

Figure 4.20

Figure 4.20 The Messages app is smart and offers contextual options based on message contents.

Figure 4.21

Figure 4.21 If you are texted with an either-or question, both options are on the reply list.

This is all designed so you don’t have to type in a text message, since you can’t (darn that lack of a keyboard!). However, you can dictate a text message should any of the prepopulated options don’t fit the bill. To dictate a text message reply:

  1. Tap Reply in the text notification to get to the text composition screen (see Figure 4.18). Tap the microphone icon.
  2. You’re now on the familiar Siri screen. Start talking and Siri will transcribe what you’re saying and preview it on the display (Figure 4.22). If Siri mistypes something, or you want to check the text, sadly the only option is to hit the Cancel button and start over. Keep in mind that you have to speak your punctuation as well—if you still use it, that is.

    Figure 4.22

    Figure 4.22 Dictate custom messages using Siri.

  3. When you’re happy with your message, tap Send. What happens next depends on who you’re texting. If the person you’re texting is an iPhone/Apple Watch user, that means more than likely they are using iMessage. iMessage is a lot like text messaging, but Apple has added a layer of additional functionality to it. Another very important thing to know about iMessages: they don’t count against any text messaging plans that you might have.

    You iMessage people using their phone numbers, or email addresses, and Apple Watch can sense if this phone number is an iMessage number. If it is, you get two options to send your message (Figure 4.23). You can choose to send it as an audio file, which the receiver will then play and hear your lovely voice. Or you can send your text message as a plain old, well, text message.

    Figure 4.23

    Figure 4.23 If you’re sending an iMessage, you can send your message as text or as an audio file.

    If the number you’re texting isn’t an iMessage number, the text will be sent as plain text automatically, saving you a tap.

The kids, they like the emoji. Emoji are the little pictures that started off in Japan and now everyone uses to text each other. Your watch, of course, can text emoji in addition to text. In fact, there’s a dedicated emoji button (Figure 4.27). Tap that button in any text message reply and you’ll be able to choose to send from two different sets of emoji: the standard set that is on your iPhone, and a new animated list of emoji that Apple designed just for Apple Watch.

Figure 4.27

Figure 4.27 The emoji icon.

To send an animated emoji response:

  1. Tap Reply, which takes you to the text composition screen.
  2. Tap the emoji button.
  3. The first option you’ll see are animated faces. Swipe to see the other two animated options: hearts and hands (Figure 4.28). To scroll through the options, turn the Digital Crown and the animated emoji will change before your very eyes.

    Figure 4.28

    Figure 4.28 Three types of animated emoji: smiles, hearts, and hands.

    The face and heart animated emoji have one additional option: color. Force touch the face emoji to change the color from yellow to red (force touch again to change back). The heart has three color options: red, blue, and pink. The gloved hand does not offer additional color options.

    Once you settle on an animated emoji, tap Send and off it goes.

If the traditional emoji is more your speed, you can send them too:

  1. Tap Reply, which takes you to the text composition screen.
  2. Tap the emoji button.
  3. Swipe until you’re at the last emoji screen (Figure 4.29). Your recently used emoji (which is pulled from your iPhone) are listed first. Use the Digital Crown to scroll through the entire list of emoji until you find the one you want to send.

    Figure 4.29

    Figure 4.29 Traditional emoji are also an option, with your recently used on the first screen.

  4. Tap the emoji you want to send and your Apple Watch sends it. Composing emoji sentences is impossible on your watch since you can’t send more than one emoji at a time. Choose wisely.

Message list

You can also access your list of text messages on Apple Watch via the Messages app. To launch the Messages app:

  1. Press the Digital Crown until you’re on the Home screen and tap the Messages icon.
  2. The list of text messages appears on your Apple Watch (Figure 4.30). This list matches the list on the paired iPhone. Use the Digital Crown to scroll through the list, and tap on any message to see the entire conversation (Figure 4.31).

    Figure 4.30

    Figure 4.30 The list of your text messages. Unread messages have a blue dot next to them.

    Figure 4.31

    Figure 4.31 A text conversation. Your texts are displayed in blue.

In the list swipe right on a conversation to reveal the Details and Trash buttons (Figure 4.32). The Details button displays that contact’s information. Tap the Trash button to remove the entire conversation from your watch (and your iPhone). A second Trash button appears to confirm that you really want to delete this conversation. Tap it, and the conversation is deleted forever (well, at least your side of the conversation is deleted; it could still be on the other person’s devices).

Figure 4.32

Figure 4.32 Swipe on a conversation in the message list to reveal the Details and Trash buttons.

Force touching in the list of messages brings up the New Message button (Figure 4.33). Tap this and a slightly different text composition screen appears (Figure 4.34). This screen allows you to compose a message to anyone in your contacts. Tap the Contacts button and you’ll see a list of the people you most recently texted. Tap the Contact icon to select someone from your full list of contacts. Once you have the recipient selected, tap Create Message and you’re given the usual options of the list of default replies, dictation, and emoji. Create your message and then tap Send to send it off to the recipient. This message is either created as a new conversation in the message list or added to an already existing conversation you’ve been having with the contact.

Figure 4.33

Figure 4.33 Force touch to bring up the New Message button.

Figure 4.34

Figure 4.34 The new message screen.

Tap on a conversation to see all the messages in it. At the top of the conversation is the day and time that it started. This area also indicates whether this is an iMessage conversation or a text message conversation (Figure 4.35). Any pictures that you’ve been texted will be displayed in the appropriate conversations (Figure 4.36). Tap on the picture to see it full screen on the watch, and then tap on the upper left of the screen to go back to the conversation. If you swipe right, the message bubbles will slide to the side and reveal the time at which that message was received or sent (Figure 4.37).

Figure 4.35

Figure 4.35 An iMessage conversation. The pizza did arrive.

Figure 4.36

Figure 4.36 Texts with images are supported on Apple Watch. You can receive images but you can’t send them from the watch.

Figure 4.37

Figure 4.37 Swipe left in a conversation to see the time stamps for each message.

If you scroll all the way to the end of a conversation, a Reply button appears. Tap it to compose a new text message.

Force touching while you’re in a conversation brings up three buttons: Reply, Details, and Send Location (Figure 4.38). Tapping Reply opens the text composition screen. Details takes you to that contact’s details (scroll down to see all the information you have for that person) (Figure 4.39). Tapping Send Location will send this person a map with your location pinned into it (Figure 4.40). They can tap it to open it in their phone or watch’s map app. You need to give Messages permission to determine your current location for Send Location to work.

Figure 4.38

Figure 4.38 Force touch in a conversation to bring up the Reply, Details, and Send Location buttons.

Figure 4.39

Figure 4.39 Tapping the Details button takes you to that person’s contact.

Figure 4.40

Figure 4.40 Send Your Location sends a map with your location noted on it.

Failure to text

Sending text messages from your Apple Watch requires that your paired iPhone be within range. Sometimes, even when it is in range, a message will fail to send (Figure 4.41). Tap on the red exclamation point to bring up the Try Again button (Figure 4.42). Tap that and your watch will attempt to send the message again. If it fails, you’ll be alerted and the exclamation point will remain beside the message in the list.

Figure 4.41

Figure 4.41 Sometimes a text fails to send. Tap the exclamation mark to resend.

Figure 4.42

Figure 4.42 Tap Try Again and the watch will attempt to resend the message.

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