The Apple watch was designed to be worn on your wrist, but in my hubris I still want to control it from my iPhone. Most often it’s when the clock is on the charger in the other room and I want to check a function or continue an update process without having to go back and forth from the charger to do it all the time. The good news is that I never have to take another step, because it is now possible to mirror the Apple Watch screen to the iPhone.
This feature isn’t just designed for external Apple Watch use either. The main purpose is to help those who have trouble interacting with the Apple Watch’s small screen. Apple Watches these days aren’t as small as they used to be, but they still are tiny. Whether it’s the 40mm Apple Watch SE or the 49mm Apple Watch Ultra, any screen that needs to be measured in millimeters is likely to be a small guy.
No matter what you use, streaming Apple Watch screen to iPhone is convenient and useful. You can check the clock from another room, show off a feature to a friend more easily, and access everything with the ease that comes with a much larger screen. On my 12 Pro Max, my Apple Watch screen is hugeand while I’d never have one that big, it’s cool to interact with it in this new context.
To use this new feature, you need a Apple Watch Series 6 or later running watchOS 9. That watch must be paired with a running iPhone iOS 16, which means you need at least an iPhone 8, X or later. The watch doesn’t even have to sit on the wrist. As long as it’s on and within Bluetooth range of your iPhone, this feature will work.
Go to Settings > Accessibilityso see below Physical and motor section for Apple Watch mirroring. Here you will see a single switch. Tap it and a window will appear with a simulated version of your watch and name. Once a connection is established, you’ll see the watch’s screen light up on your iPhone. If you’re not currently wearing it, you’ll need to enter your passcode, but once it’s unlocked, you can control any part of the watch from this window.
If you know how to use your Apple Watch, you know how to control it here. You can swipe and tap around the screen to open and interact with apps, just like you would on your watch. While you can’t turn the on-screen Digital Crown, you can tap it to exit an app and long-press and release it to activate Siri. Press the side button on the screen to bring up the app switcher, and hold and release to bring up the power menu. You can even take a screenshot by pressing both screen buttons at the same time.
The best part, in my opinion, is that your watch doesn’t go to sleep until you stop mirroring (by pressing (X) on the streaming window) or you place your palm on the screen. Since your watch, by default, turns off the screen pretty quickly after you stop using it, it would be frustrating to constantly wake it up from your iPhone. That said, it can be easy to forget you’re using the feature, in which case the watch will always stay lit, then drain the battery.
This article was updated on Monday, September 19 to correct which Apple Watch models are compatible.