How to use the Dock on your Apple Watch

Apple Watch is all about quick interactions — you lift your arm, tap and swipe, and drop your arm again. The Dock on your Apple Watch can help make your app interactions quick and reliable because your most-used and favorite apps are always at the ready!

Follow along to learn how to use the Dock on your Apple Watch.

What exactly is the Dock on Apple Watch?

Unlike your iPhone or iPad, the Dock on Apple Watch doesn't live at the bottom of your screen. Instead, you open it by pressing the side button. When you do, you'll see a vertically-scrolled list of cards that display shortcuts to your recently opened apps or favorites; you can pick which option you'd like to use with the Watch app on your iPhone.

These shortcuts will also display the latest information from each app on their card in case you want to quickly check a stock or your latest messages without opening the app.

If you're looking at the Recents View, you'll see up to 10 apps opened recently. If you're looking at the Favorites View, however, you'll instead see the apps you've denoted as Favorites displayed; if there are fewer than 10, the Dock will also display the most recently-opened app at the top of the list with an option to add it to your Dock permanently.

How to set up and organize your Dock to use either Recents or Favorites

By default, the Dock in watchOS is set up to display shortcuts for the 10 most recent apps you've opened. You can change that behavior through the Watch app, however, and instead, pick up to 10 favorite app shortcuts to display instead.

Tip: If you choose to use the Favorites view, you can add the Now Playing screen as a shortcut; normally, this is only available from watch faces.

  1. Open the Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap on the My Watch tab if you don't already have it open.
  3. Tap Dock.

    Open Watch app, tap My Watch, tap Dock

  4. Tap Favorites under the Dock Ordering section.
  5. Tap Edit to add or remove watch apps in your Favorites.
  6. Tap the green + button next to an app under Do Not Include to move it to your favorites.

    Tap Favorites, tap Edit, tap +

How to use the Dock on your Apple Watch to quickly switch between apps

Once you've chosen how you want to view the Dock, here's how to use it.

  1. Press the side button on your Apple Watch.
  2. Scroll with the Digital Crown or swipe up or down on the screen to view your apps.
  3. Tap to open the app you want to use.

    Press Side button, scroll with Digital Crown or finger, tap on an app

How to add, rearrange, and remove apps from your Apple Watch's Dock

While you can't switch between Recents and Favorites or completely rearrange your Dock directly on your Apple Watch, you can remove apps from your Dock — and, if you have fewer than 10 Favorites, be prompted to add the most recent app you viewed. And there are a bunch of things you can do on your iPhone through the Watch app.

How to add apps to your Dock

If you're using the Apple Watch Dock in Recents mode, apps are automatically added in the order you've opened them, with the oldest apps falling off once you've opened more than 10.

If you're in Favorites mode, you can only add apps directly on your Apple Watch if you've recently opened them — and only if you have fewer than 10 apps. If so, you'll be able to add the most recently opened app to your Dock.

  1. Scroll to the top of the Dock list and hover on the top card for a moment; the card will expand under the Recent heading and display a Keep in Dock button.
  2. Tap the Keep in Dock button.

    Scroll to top of the Dock, tap Keep in Dock

How to rearrange apps in your Dock

While you can remove apps from the Dock on your Apple Watch, you can only rearrange those apps on your iPhone, and only if you have Favorites mode enabled.

  1. Tap the My Watch tab in the Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap Dock.
  3. Tap on Edit in the upper-right corner.

    Tap My Watch, tap Dock, tap Edit

  4. Grab on the edit handles next to the app you want to move.
  5. Drag the apps to the new location and release the handles.
  6. Tap Done in the upper-right corner.

    Grab Edit handles, move app, tap Done

How to remove apps from your Dock

You can either remove apps from your Dock directly on your Apple Watch, or from your iPhone.

On your Apple Watch

  1. In the Dock, scroll or swipe to the app you want to remove.
  2. Swipe to the left on the app you wish to remove.
  3. Tap the red button.

    Scroll up or down in the Dock, swipe to the left on app, tap red button

    Note: This doesn't force quit or delete the app, just removes it from your Dock.

On your iPhone

  1. Tap the My Watch tab in the Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap Dock.
  3. Tap on Edit in the upper-right corner.

    Tap My Watch, tap Dock, tap Edit

  4. Tap on the - in the red circle.

  5. Tap Remove.
  6. Tap Done.

    Tap on -, tap Remove, tap Done

Questions?

Having trouble getting your Apple Watch Dock just so? Need some further clarification? Give us a shout in the comments or over on Twitter and we'll see what we can do!

Updated April 2019: Updated for watchOS 5 and iOS 12.

Serenity Caldwell contributed to an earlier version of this guide.

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