7 Switched-on Smartwatch Hacks

7 Switched-on Smartwatch Hacks - Hippo.co.za


Wearable tech's popularity is growing by the day... But do you really know what your smartwatch can do? Here are some of the lesser-known smartwatch features that'll help you hit your goals for a healthy, active lifestyle.


You found your way home last weekend with your fitness tracker's built-in GPS and you've been using your wearable tech to track your daily step count for ages now. (One down, 9 999 to go!) Your smartwatch can do all of this... And – here comes the sarcasm – it can even tell the time.


But what else can it do? Here are eight things you didn't know you could do with your smartwatch... Or might not be doing as well as you could!


1. Pay for stuff


Wallets? Pfft. Who needs wallets? Behold the magic of NFC! Near Field Communication is the wireless tech that lets your smartwatch act as a payment mechanism at connected merchants, using mobile payment apps like Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay. With options for multiple bank cards and loyalty cards, your days of carrying cards and cash are over.


2. Filter the noise


Pretty much every smartwatch wearer does it: they'll switch their phones to silent, but then endure countless distractions from the constant buzzing on their wrist. Apps like Samsung's Galaxy Wearable let you manage the notifications you want to receive on your smartwatch.


This'll help you filter out the noise (seriously, you don't need to know every time anybody posts a random tweet), while alerting you to urgent updates (like phone calls, texts and tweets from Hippo.co.za).


3. Listen to your heart


The Apple Watch has had an electrocardiogram app available since Series 4 – and that's a big, big deal for people who are monitoring their heart health. That little app can detect conditions like AFib, an irregular heartbeat that's a known risk factor for stroke, as well as heart rate variability, which helps to measure how well your immune system is working.


During the Covid-19 pandemic, when patients have used pulse oximeters to measure their oxygen saturation, this little feature has proved to be a literal lifesaver. On that note...


4. Track your blood oxygen levels


Look, nothing's going to beat a proper, dinkum pulse oximeter. But it's reassuring to know that most Samsungs, Apple Watches, Garmins and Fitbits are able to measure your blood oxygen levels to a high degree of accuracy using their built-in health-monitoring apps.


We say "reassuring" because blood oxygen is a key indicator of heart issues, lung problems and – you guessed it – Covid-19 symptoms.


5. Avoid waterborne disasters


Most smartwatches are waterproof, which means you can wear them when you go swimming, surfing or SUPing. Only problem is, when you're out in the water, you could easily bump your watch or accidentally activate it with a wake-up hand gesture... Which means, depending on the make and model, you could end up texting your Crazy Ex midway through your beach day. (Did somebody say "Regret Monster"?) Nobody wants that.


So activate Water Lock mode, either in the Quick Settings panel on your Samsung device or in your Apple Watch's Control Center. The button will look like a water droplet.


6. Find your phone


Don't laugh. It happens. Smartphones go missing: sometimes into the pockets of thieves and skelms, usually down the back of a couch or under a pile of papers on your desk. If your phone and watch are connected via Bluetooth, simply tap Find Phone on your smartwatch (you can usually find it by pressing the power button) and return to normal life.


7. Remote control your phone camera


Kiss those long-arm selfies goodbye. The default Google Camera app lets you link your Android smartwatch to your smartphone and use it as a remote shutter for the phone camera. (No luck there? Try an app like PixtoCam.) Simply frame your shot, position your camera, gather your friends or family and tap your watch to take the picture.


We're rapidly reaching a point where smartwatches are as useful as smartphones – and they're pretty expensive to replace. Just like you have Cellphone Insurance to cover your phone, it's worth using our handy tool to compare Home Contents Insurance quotes to get the best deal on covering your wearable.


And while we're talking about heart rates and blood oxygen levels... When last did you compare Medical Aid quotes? You might be missing out on the best cover for you and your family.


This article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial, legal or medical advice.

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