Apple Watch can be controlled remotely from the iPhone

With iOS 16 and watchOS 9, Apple introduced Apple Watch Mirroring. This allows you to control the watch from your smartphone – even including the digital crown.

Watch mirroring in action: Here in the middle. 
(Image: Apple)

In the future, you will no longer be able to operate an Apple Watch only on the watch itself. iOS 16 and watchOS 9 include a little-known feature that allows mirroring of the smartwatch on the iPhone display, which can be very useful in some cases.

In English, the feature is called “Apple Watch Mirroring” – i.e. mirroring of the Apple Watch – which the company translates as “Apple Watch synchronization”. The feature is actually intended as an operating aid, for example for people who find it physically easier to use a smartphone than a (smaller) computer watch. As with many other functions in this area, they are also useful for normal users and often good tricks.

To activate the feature, go to the settings in the accessibility area and there on Apple Watch synchronization. Alternatively, you can assign mirroring to an accessibility shortcut. If the pairing initially fails (perpetually running spinner with no progress), it helps to restart the Apple Watch and, if necessary, the iPhone. If the connection is established, you can see a comparatively large image of the clock on the iPhone and can interact with the clock. This is technically implemented via Apple’s AirPlay streaming protocol for the home network.

The Apple Watch synchronization can do everything that the operation of the watch itself could. You can swipe around the virtual screen, click menus, and also use the digital crown and side button. By using the iPhone, however, operating aids there are also available, such as voice control. Most of the techniques have long been available on the watch itself, but they can be more convenient on the iPhone (because the control surfaces are larger).

You can easily exit mirroring mode on the iPhone by clicking on the large close icon (X). The clock disappears again and the remote control is deactivated. Only the action button on the left side is not simulated on the Apple Watch Ultra. However, this rarely bothers when using the Apple Watch synchronization.

Apple Watch syncing is available on the Apple Watch Series 6, Apple Watch Series 7, Apple Watch Series 8, and Apple Watch Ultra.

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