The Apple Watch: Underestimated Tech for Digital Minimalists?

This is a guest post by Matt Jennings from

Over the last few months, I have been testing the Apple Watch as a tool for decreasing my reliance on my iPhone, and so far, it’s been a great success.

You see, as someone who tries to be mindful of my technology use, I’m always tinkering with ways to reduce my usage, without forgoing it entirely.

The problem is not the technology itself, but our use of it.

Our phones are designed in a way that is so addictive that we get sucked into the rabbit hole of social media, shiny apps, and endless web surfing.

By replacing my iPhone primarily with an Apple Watch (or, if not in the Apple eco system- one of these equally useful smartwatches.), I get the most essential functionalities of a smartphone, without the distraction.

Since I have owned an Apple Watch, I am much less reliant on my phone, and it’s liberating.

For example:

  • I can see who is calling or texting me without having to take my phone out of my pocket.
  • I receive notifications from certain apps on my wrist, and without my phone nearby the temptation to unlock my phone is no longer present.
  • I can receive calls and messages, without the need to have my phone on me (let’s face it, this is probably the most important reason people think they need their phones on them at all times.)
  • With the cellular version of the apple watch, I can leave the house without my phone and still be contacted if needed (it’s amazing!).
  • The wallet app on my watch means when I go out  I can leave my wallet behind!
  • My screen time on my iPhone has decreased significantly.

In saying that, the Apple Watch could still be distracting if you wanted it to be. You could download games, for example, but the small form factor just doesn’t lend itself to any long-term intricate usage.

Three tips to make the Apple Watch more Minimalist(ic)

If you decide to try an Apple Watch for digital minimalism, consider the below tips to ensure the device remains as distraction-free as possible.

1. Use the watch face to display only the information you need.

By default, the Apple Watch face shows a lot of information that you might not need or want to see. To customize what information is displayed on your watch face, open the apple watch app on your iPhone and go to ‘My Watch’ > ‘Face Gallery’.

From here, you can choose from a variety of different watch faces, and select which complications (or mini-applications) to display. For example, I have chosen to display calendar events, battery, date, digital time, and fitness tracking, with quick access to drafts (for notes input) and Spotify.

2. Use Do Not Disturb to reduce distractions.

One of the great things about the Apple Watch is that you can manage notifications so that you only see the ones that are most important to you.

To do this, open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone and go to ‘My Watch’ > ‘Do Not Disturb’. From here, you can schedule when Do Not Disturb should be enabled, and choose which types of notifications you want to receive.

3. Use apps wisely.

One of the benefits of the Apple Watch is that there are many different types of apps available, from productivity to fitness to entertainment. However, it’s important to use these apps wisely, as they too can quickly become a distraction if used excessively.


I can already sense the digital minimalism purists saying that replacing an iPhone with an Apple Watch is still feeding our reliance on technology when sometimes, we should just be able to go without.

I agree with this statement.

But unfortunately, technology has been so ingrained into our lives that it is often impossible to remove our reliance on it entirely.

The Apple Watch, I feel, provides a good solution between having endless distractions a swipe away (a smartphone) or having the essential functionality of a smartphone on hand for those important times it is needed.

Matt is a Sales professional and Musician. He enjoys writing about digital minimalism, productivity and sales. You can find Matt at

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