9th July: The set up.
Having spent some time unpacking both my Apple Watch and the additional Leather Loop strap I’d bought for it I got on with setting the watch up. I will state here that although I’ve read a fair bit about the Apple Watch I had, until now, never actually handled one let alone set one up. I also set the watch up with no sighted assistance at all, I’d been looking forward to setting it up myself, plus I wanted to see how the set up worked for a blind person doing it on their own.
It’s best to have the watch on your wrist when setting it up so first I put it on and noticed that despite my misgivings about the rubber sports strap that came with the Watch it is really very comfortable and robust with an easy to secure pin arrangement.
Next the watch needed to be switched on. This is done by pressing the Friends button for two seconds. Once pressed the watch takes about 90 seconds to boot up. Now it is worth mentioning here that I already knew to expect this so I simply went off and made a cup of tea whilst it did so. Once I’d got my freshly made cuppa it was time to turn on VoiceOver. Those of you who have iPhones, iPads or iPods will no doubt be familiar with the shortcut method for turning it on during set up, which of course is to press the Home key three times in quick succession. It’s exactly the same on the Apple Watch except that you press the Digital Crown instead. The Digital Crown gives a nice positive click as you press it which I found quite reassuring. VoiceOver takes two or three seconds to start, but once on you’re presented with a language selection screen where you can single finger flick left or right to find the language you wish to use. Then you simply single finger double tap on the screen to select that language.
Next the watch requires you to pair it with an iPhone. I have an iPhone 5s, but the Apple Watch is compatible with the iPhone 5, 5c, 5s, 6 and 6+ so as long as you have one of these you’ll be fine. Having said that, I doubt there is anybody who’s interested in buying an Apple Watch who isn’t aware of this.
When the watch announces the pairing screen, single finger flick right to scroll along each segment to listen to the information it gives you. At this point you’ll need to have your iPhone handy and have the Apple Watch app open. All you need to do then is follow the instructions that both the watch and the iPhone give you. I say the watch and the iPhone as VoiceOver announces each stage as you go through it and depending on which stage you are at determines whether you’re using the watch or the app on the iPhone. It’s worth pointing out here that there’s a time limit on putting the pairing code into the watch when the iPhone app asks you to, so this may mean you take a few attempts to type the code in quickly enough. I managed to do it on the second attempt, I think it was probably because the virtual number pad on the watch screen is so small that it takes a bit of getting used to.
Once you’ve completed the initial set up of your watch you can start taking a look around it and setting it up to suit your own needs. The first thing I’d recommend you do is make the accessibility shortcut switch VoiceOver on and off. To do this do the following:
1. Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone and single finger double tap on the GENERAL button.
2. Single finger double tap on the ACCESSIBILITY button.
3. Three finger swipe up the screen to scroll up then single finger double tap on the ACCESSIBILITY SHORTCUT button.
4. Single finger double tap on the VOICEOVER button.
You can now return to your Apple Watch and confirm this setting is active by pressing the Digital Crown three times in quick succession to switch VoiceOver off. Simply repeat the three Digital Crown presses to switch it back on. You can now control VoiceOver easily using this shortcut.
The last thing I’m going to talk about in this blog post is how to find the Apple Watch user guide. To get to the user guide do the following:
1. Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
2. Single finger double tap on the ABOUT button.
3. Three finger swipe up the screen to scroll up.
4. Single finger double tap on the APPLE WATCH USER GUIDE button.
You are then presented with a list of sections to browse. To expand a section and see what topics are within it simply single finger double tap on the name of the section. You can collapse the topics list by single finger double tapping on the section name again.
To read a topic, single finger double tap on the topic name. You can then do a two finger swipe down on the screen and VoiceOver will read the page to you.
Once you’ve finished reading the page single finger double tap on the TABLE OF CONTENTS button found at the top left of the screen under the signal strength status bar item and you will be returned to the user guide table of contents. When you’ve finished reading the user guide and wish to come out of it, single finger double tap on the DONE button found at the top right corner of the screen under the battery power display.
In my next blog post I’ll be talking about VoiceOver gestures for use on the Apple Watch as well as how to navigate around glances and notifications.