The average Apple Watch owner interacts with their Watch 60-80 times a day, but most of that usage doesn’t involve anything more than looking at the watch face, checking the time and information displayed in the complications. The least common thing people do on the Watch is read emails.

These are among the findings of two very different studies noted by Fortune. Wristly’s latest update provides a whole raft of data about what people do with their watches, based on a large panel of 1450 owners, but relying on users to estimate their usage. A Stockholm University study took the exact opposite approach, studying a mere dozen owners, but analysing video from wearable cameras to measure what people actually did rather than what they reported … 

In the Wristly study, 96% of panel members said that their most common interaction with the Watch was simply looking at the watchface. Other popular uses were checking Activity progress, responding to a text message, using Siri and checking their heart-rate. The least common activities among those Wristly asked about were using it as a remote and playing a game.

Wristly’s panel also confirmed something I’ve found, having now worn my own Apple Watch in three different seasons: a fifth of owners said that they expected to use their Watch less frequently (or even stop wearing it altogether) when cold and wet weather would mean wearing more layers of clothing, losing the convenience of simply glancing at their wrist.


The Stockholm study broadly supported Wristly’s usage reports, finding that half of all interactions were simply glancing at the watchface (for an average of 3.8 seconds), with checking notifications accounting for a further 23%. Activity-related activities (Activity rings, Workout app, Workout timer) came next, at 11%, with Siri in a fairly distant fourth place, at just 2% of interactions. Reading email came bottom at 0.1%.

The longest interaction was for Maps, where the average time using the app was 46 seconds.

And the one thing Apple needs to fix? The second-longest interaction – at 33 seconds – was on the main Apps screen, presumably spent trying to find the app they want to launch. At over half a minute to find and launch an app, it seems to confirm what many of us have said: that a whole mass of tiny and rather similar-looking apps isn’t a great user experience.


If you’ve been waiting for the right time to buy an Apple Watch, you can pick one up now from $232 effective price after gift card.

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About the Author

Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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