How to Use Siri on Apple Watch to Create Immediate Countdown Timer

Image credit: Apple

Occasionally, when one is under severe time pressure, many crucial things have to be done, say, just before a meeting or big event. While one could change faces on the Apple Watch and bring up the chronometer and a timer, there's a much faster and more convenient way. Siri comes to the rescue.


Every workday at The Mac Observer, we have a staff meeting. Every day, I am working furiously to get some things done before the meeting starts. While I would prefer a mode on the Apple Watch that keeps the display alive for about 5 minutes, that's not possible right now via settings.

As an aside here, there is a workaround. "How to Prevent Your Apple Watch Display from Timing Out and Going Dark." Unfortunately, the methods described there require continuous attention to the Apple Watch.

Recently, I discovered a nice trick with Siri on the Apple Watch. Just say, "Give me a countdown timer, five minutes." Or whatever time you need.

Siri will not only bring up a countdown timer on the watch's display, but it will automatically start running. It looks like this in the example here.

Yes, the display will still go dark after 20 seconds, but one can just flick and raise the wrist to bring it back to life. At the end of the countdown, the Apple Watch will play a sonar-like sound and vibrate. Your coach is a pumpkin.

This is one of the things I love about the Apple Watch. You get to try new things that are helpful, and they generally work. It's mildly unexpected actually and, as a result, delightful.

Still, I hope watchOS 2 will eventually have a setting to keep the display continuously alive and lit for 5 minutes.

I'm sorry John, I can't do that.

Do you have a similar tip? Let me know in the comments below.