Here’s Everything the Digital Crown and Side Button Can Do on Your Apple Watch


For such a small device, the Apple Watch has many options and controls available with just two physical buttons. You might think the Digital Crown and Side button only do a couple of things each, but there’s actually a ton that they can do, either alone or together.

Here are some things you probably didn’t know the Digital Crown and Side button could do on your Apple Watch.

1. Call for Siri

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Your Digital Crown does more than just look pretty; it can also call Siri for you. If you don’t want to say “Hey Siri,” you can call the virtual assistant by just long-pressing the Digital Crown until Siri appears on your screen. Then you can ask anything like you usually would.

2. Return to the Home Screen or Watch Face

If you’re inside an app, you can press the Digital Crown on your Apple Watch to take you back to your Home Screen. If you want to go back to your watch face instead, all you need to do is press it again. Be careful not to double press the Digital Crown too quickly, or your Apple Watch might do something else.

3. Open the Most Recent App You Used

If you exited an app on your Apple Watch, but you didn’t mean to, you can always find it on your Home Screen. However, there’s a faster way to reopen it.

By quickly double-pressing the Digital Crown on your Apple Watch, you’ll automatically reopen the app you most recently used. You can use this from your watch face, Home Screen, or if you’re in another app already.

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4. Reopen an App from Home Screen

Another cool thing your Digital Crown can do is reopen an app from your Home Screen. For instance, if you open an app and go back to the Home Screen, you can scroll up with your Digital Crown, and your Apple Watch will reopen the app with a smooth yet satisfying animation.

You can also scroll down to zoom out and see all your installed apps.

5. Wake Up Your Apple Watch

You probably know that you can wake up your Apple Watch with your Digital Crown by pressing it. But that will automatically open the Home Screen, which can be a bit annoying. Instead, you can just scroll up or down with the Digital Crown, and your Apple Watch will automatically wake up and be ready for anything you need.


6. Access Your Apple Watch Dock

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You can quickly access the Dock on your Apple Watch simply by pressing the Side button once. The Dock will keep a list of your favorite apps or the apps that you recently opened. You can change which apps to show from your Apple Watch or the Watch app on your iPhone.

Related: An Introduction to the Dock on Your Apple Watch and How to Use It

7. Open Apple Pay

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If you’re using Apple Pay from your Apple Watch, you’d want to have it open as soon as you need to pay. Fortunately, there’s a really quick way to do it.

All you need to do is double-press the Side button and your Apple Watch will automatically open Apple Pay for you.

Related: Is Apple Pay Safe?

8. Turn Your Apple Watch Off

The Side button will also help you turn off your Apple Watch whenever you want. All you need to do is long-press the Side button until the power-off screen appears, and you feel a haptic response on your wrist. Then drag the power off slider to the right, and your Apple Watch will do the rest.


If you want to turn it back on again, you can press the Digital Crown or the Side button until you see the Apple logo.

9. Access SOS or Medical ID

Your Apple Watch is great for emergencies. It’ll automatically detect if you’ve fallen and, if you don’t let your Apple Watch know you’re okay, it’ll call for help. Your Apple Watch also has your medical ID at hand, so anyone can watch it in case of an emergency.

Related: How to Turn On Fall Detection for Your Apple Watch

If you want to send an emergency call for yourself or see your medical ID, you can do so by long-pressing the Side button until you feel a haptic response on your wrist. Right below the turn-off slider, you’ll see your medical ID, if it’s available, and the option to send an emergency SOS.

If you long-press the Side button again, your Apple Watch will start an emergency call. You’ll need to keep the Side button pressed for five seconds actually to send the call.

10. Take a Screenshot

Another cool thing is that you can use the Side button and the Digital Crown together and do many more things. A great example is taking screenshots. Believe it or not, you can take a screenshot from your Apple Watch. The image will be automatically saved to your iPhone, so you don’t have to worry about your Apple Watch’s storage.

Related: How to Take Screenshots on Your Apple Watch

First, you need to enable this feature on your Apple Watch, since it’s off by default. You can do so by going to the Watch app on your iPhone and then tapping General. If you scroll down, you’ll find the option to Enable Screenshots. Make sure to toggle it on if it isn’t already.

Now, you can go to your Apple Watch and press the Digital Crown and the Side button at the same time to take a screenshot.

11. Pause or Resume a Workout

If you’re using the Workout app on your Apple Watch, you can pause or resume your workout by quickly pressing the Side button and the Digital Crown at the same time. Keep in mind, though; if you have screenshots enabled, you’ll also take a screenshot every time you do this.

12. Force Restart Your Apple Watch

Another helpful feature to keep in mind is that you can force restart your Apple Watch with its physical buttons. Just long-press the Digital Crown and Side button on your Apple Watch for about 10 seconds. You’ll need to keep pressing them until you see the Apple logo on the screen.

Your Apple Watch will automatically restart, and that will hopefully fix any issues you had.

Master Your Apple Watch Buttons

With these tricks, you can master your Apple Watch in no time. Now you even know how to restart your Apple Watch if it slows down or gets stuck. Of course, if it’s slowing down too much, there are other ways you can fix it.



Wet Apple Watch on someone's wrist.
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