A Joyous Sidekick: Answering Phone Calls on Apple Watch

2 minute read
| Editorial

The Apple Watch is known for its ability to monitor health and fitness. And that has improved my life. But the standout feature for me has been the ability to answer phone calls received on my iPhone.

Apple Watch apps at work

At a glance – to answer or not.

I’m not one of those people who keeps my iPhone in a pants pocket when around the house or office. It sits on a desk in a stand that props it up. I’m not always at that desk. But I do receive a fair number of legit phone calls. The ability to receive those phone calls on my Apple Watch (AW) been a game changer. Big time.

I don’t engage in activities, like swimming or jogging, in which one might leave the iPhone behind and depend on a “GPS + Cellular,” version which has its own cellular subsystem and phone number. My guess is that the vast majority of Apple Watches, like my Series 4, are the “GPS” only version. So if my iPhone is within Bluetooth distance of my GPS AW, the functionality is the same.

{As an aside, answering a phone call on a GPS Apple Watch paired with your iPhone, to first order, is easy, but there are some details to be aware of. See Apple’s: “Answer phone calls on Apple Watch.” Such as how to transfer a call back to the iPhone, something that can be mysterious for some. Return from subroutine.}

Life Changed

One of Murphy’s Laws most certainly says that when waiting for a return call, it won’t come while I’m waiting. It’ll come, instead, as soon as I leave the room that has the iPhone. Then I end up running back, almost tripping over a scurrying cat. If occupied, say cooking something that might burn, the call might be missed entirely.

This has happened to me in pre-AW days more times that I can count. The ability to answer an important business or family call, from someone in my Contacts app, right away isn’t so much being slaved to “traditional phone calls” as it is a matter of timely and opportunistic communication with a real person. This has value.

I should note that the microphone in my Series 4 is very good. I’ve never had a caller complain that I seem to be talking via a tin can and string. In fact, I’ve had some lengthly calls on just the AW, and the speaker is pretty good too.

Another nice thing about a phone on my wrist is that if I’m, say, in the bathroom, and the call is from my wife at work or on the highway (possible emergency), I know it’s okay to answer. Otherwise ::cough:: the caller can wait. Laugh if you must, but this has happened to me.

Finally, the AW acts as a screening device. I get a fair number of spam calls. The display on my wrist tells me, when the iPhone is in another room, that there’s no need to go investigate. I have an iPhone app that informs me of telemaketers or outright fraudulent calls. I see the alert on my Apple Watch.

All in all, having a phone on my wrist has been a joyous affair. It’s one of the things Apple does so well — making my life better.

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wab95

John: Many thanks for that. I whole-heartedly concur. In fact, so common is my usage of my AW in answering phone calls, I scarcely even think about it any longer. The microphone and acoustics are so good that I no longer have to Dick Tracy my way through a call, but will continue my normal activity whilst conversing with no adverse impact to my listener. Having colleagues across the planet, I get phone calls at all hours of the day, and have lost count of the number of times that I’ve had to take a quick call from the shower,… Read more »

I like it too, but now when I get a phone call, everything starts ringing: my Mac, my iPhone, my iPad, my Apple Watch. It’s fine in private but weird when it happens in my cube at the office.

Lee Dronick

Finally, the AW acts as a screening device. I get a fair number of spam calls. The display on my wrist tells me, when the iPhone is in another room, that there’s no need to go investigate. I have an iPhone app that informs me of telemaketers or outright fraudulent calls. I see the alert on my Apple Watch.

Fastflyer

I couldn’t agree more with John. I can’t even estimate the number of times it would have been awkward or impossible to dig my phone out of my pocket but it is breeze to answer on my watch. I do have the GPS + Cellular and find it a boon. My home sits on an acre so when I am working in the yard I am almost always outside of bluetooth and wi-fi range. I don’t like having my phone on my person while trimming trees, swinging an ax, etc. so the GPS + Cellular is perfect for my needs.… Read more »