By | November 23, 2023
3 watchOS 10 disasters and one that's being fixed

Important takeaways

  • watchOS 10 introduces big changes, including a Smart Stack of widgets and new mental health features, but it also disrupts old gestures.
  • Grid View is now just List View with icons, leaving users who liked the old beehive layout, while the Stopwatch app now has a white background, which looks odd and affects visibility in low light.
  • Issue fixed: watchOS 10.2 brings back the swipe to change watch face gesture, giving users more control and options.

The latest version of watchOS sees some of the biggest changes we’ve seen in any version of watchOS in years. You can run watchOS 10 on older models of the Apple Watch as far back as the Apple Watch Series 4, so unless you’re rocking a really old Apple Watch, you’ll be able to make the upgrade. A lot has been added to watchOS 10, including a brand new Smart Stack of widgets, new mental health features, and even a brand new gesture if you have an Apple Watch Series 9 or Apple Watch Ultra 2.

Related: What is Double Tap on Apple Watch: How do you use it and what can it do?

But so much has been added to the operating system that compromises were made. Some of the decisions are less than ideal, and there are some major issues with watchOS 10 that still cause frustration after months of use. The good news is that Apple is fixing one of these annoying problems. Several still remain, but here are three watchOS 10 disasters and a previous issue that are being fixed.

The three complaints we have

1. Some Apple Watch gestures have changed

apple watch widgets in watchOS 10

Muscle memory is a wonderful thing. Do an action enough times, and it soon becomes second nature. Navigating on your Apple Watch was a perfect example; if you had lost your iPhone, a quick swipe up from the bottom of the screen to open the Control Center and a tap on the Find iPhone button, your iPhone would start making a sound. Soon you could do it without even looking. Then watchOS 10 came along and ruined everything.

The addition of widgets to the Apple Watch is indeed a very useful feature, but accessing them uses the same swipe-up gesture used to open the Control Center. I’ve been using watchOS 10 for months, and I still find myself swiping up to open Control Center, only to find I’ve opened Smart Stack instead.

The Control Center now opens with a press of the side button. But that gesture used to be the way to open the dock. Now, to open the dock, you need to double tap the digital crown. That means there are three gestures that no longer do what they used to, and you have a lot of muscle memory to overcome. Eventually, all of these gestures will become second nature, but in the meantime, it’s a whole world of pain.

2. Grid View is now just list view with icons

apple watch grid view

There are a few questions you can quickly use to determine the type of person you are dealing with. Coke or Pepsi? Mario or Sonic? Grid view or list view?

The last question is now pretty much useless because the Grid View is now just a list view with icons. Instead of the beehive of icons that you can zoom in and out of using the Digital Crown, you now get a stack of app icons that you can scroll up and down through. It’s a list by any other name, and if you were on team Grid View, you’d understandably be annoyed that you only get to choose between two forms of list view now.

Currently, there is no way to go back to the old style Grid View, so zooming in and out of your grid may be gone forever.

3. Stopwatch app is now white

Apple Watch stopwatch

OK, this may be a personal preference, but the new Stopwatch app just isn’t my favorite. All other native apps on the Apple Watch use a black background, and the stopwatch app used to too. In watchOS 10, however, the Stopwatch app now has a white background, which shouldn’t make a huge difference, but somehow just looks wrong.

Good luck trying to time something in low light subtly; your Apple Watch face will shine like a beacon at night. It doesn’t seem like a hugely demanding task to give people the option to switch back to a black background if they want, but currently white is all there is.

To make matters worse, the graph view for the stopwatch has now also disappeared. In watchOS 9, you could choose between analog, digital, graphic, or hybrid views. In watchOS 10, you can choose Analog, Digital or Hybrid, but the graph view is nowhere to be seen. You can still see a graph of your lap times in the hybrid view, but you don’t get the same full-screen graph that you did with the Graph View. Bring back the watchOS 9 Stopwatch app, please.

Gripen that is being fixed

Swipe to a new face

apple watch swipe to new face

Another big complaint we had when watchOS 10 was released was that swiping between watch faces was no longer possible. In watchOS 9 and earlier, you can quickly switch to a new watch face by swiping left or right on the current watch face. This was really useful for creating different faces for different purposes, like a workout face, a work face, a home face, etc. You could then quickly switch from face to face with a swipe.

When watchOS 10 launched, the ability to swipe between faces was gone. Some Apple Watch users didn’t like the feature anyway, complaining that they accidentally switched to a different watch face without intending to, but there were plenty of people who used this feature regularly and weren’t too impressed that it was gone. It’s still possible to switch faces in watchOS 10, but you have to long-press the screen before swiping to another option, adding another gesture to an otherwise seamless process.

With the release of watchOS 10.2 (currently in beta), you can choose to bring back the old swipe to switch faces if you want, meaning both sides of the argument can have what they want. This is a refreshing change from being locked into something whether you like it or not. Hopefully Apple will see sense and provide meaningful options for some of the other issues listed above.

Here’s how to enable swipe to change watch face on Apple Watch

apple watch swipe to change watch faces

Turning on the Swipe to Change Watch Face feature is easy to do, although the setting is hidden where you wouldn’t necessarily expect to find it. You must be running watchOS 10.2 to use this feature.

  1. Open settings app on your Apple Watch
  2. Scroll down and tap Clock.
  3. Switch Swipe to change watch faces on.
  4. You can now swipe between watch faces, just like the good old days.

How to get watchOS 10.2 right now

This feature is only available in watchOS 10.2, and this version of watchOS 10 is currently in beta, so you can either wait until the official release or try the beta at your own risk. However, it shouldn’t be too long before the official version is released, so if you don’t want to risk bricking your Apple Watch, you might prefer to wait a little longer.

What’s great about watchOS 10?


If all of the above makes it sound like watchOS 10 is a pile of junk, it’s definitely not. There may be some frustrating issues with the new version of watchOS, but there are also plenty of great features.

The new widgets are really useful, allowing you to quickly access your favorite apps or shortcuts from any watch face. This means that you are not forced to use a dial that can fit into many complications; you can hide all these in Smart Stack.

NameDrop is another useful feature that lets you quickly share your contact information with other Apple users just by bringing your devices close together. There are some new options for mental health, including the ability to log your current mood and your mood for the entire day so you can keep an eye on your mental health trends.

apple clock on gradient pink and purple background

Apple / Pocket lint

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The WatchOS 10.1 update also introduced the Double Tap gesture for Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 users. It allows you to interact with your Apple Watch just by tapping your fingers together, which can be very useful if you don’t have both hands-free. If you don’t have one of the latest Apple Watch models, you can mimic the Double Tap feature even on older Apple Watch models. And of course, watchOS 10 lets you have Snoopy and Woodstock on your watch face.

It’s unlikely that Apple will change the gestures in watchOS 10, but hopefully the stopwatch and Grid View are things that Apple can address with updates so that watchOS 10 truly becomes the excellent watchOS that it almost is.

#watchOS #disasters #fixed

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