Receiving Calls on Apple Watch

When I first saw an Apple watch my first thought was Dick Tracy had it right all along. (If you don’t know who Dick Tracy is, look him up)

If you have an Apple Watch then you know it works with your iPhone. It took me a bit of time to figure out all the nuances of using them together and one day I was sitting in a meeting at work when my watch started ringing with a phone call.  I tried to play it cool and look around to see who had left their phone turned on while I frantically tried to stop the ringing. At that moment I realized I didn’t have it all figured out.

So here are the simple things you need to know to use your watch to receive calls.

On Apple Watch, calls are routed through the iPhone, but you can answer using your watch, even if your iPhone in another room or tucked away.

Answering a call on your watch works just like the calls on iPhone. You tap the green answer button. If you don’t want to answer it, you can tap the red decline button and send the call to voicemail instead. Note to self: frantic dithering doesn’t help.

Watch face for accepting or declining calls

You also have the option to answer the call on your iPhone or send a text message. When the call comes in, turn the Digital Crown or swipe upwards to access these options and tap the one you want.

Options for sending a message or choosing to answer on the iPhone

If your watch rings at an inconvenient time you can mute the ring sound by covering the watch display with the palm of your hand for three seconds and then tap to confirm that mute is enabled. You do have to enable this feature. Here’s how.

  • Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
  • Select Sounds and Haptics from the menu.
  • Toggle the “Cover to Mute” switch to the On position.

If your caller leaves you a voice mail (Hello, I have a bridge I want to sell you) you can retrieve it on your watch or iPhone. In the case of your watch a Voice mail notification will appear on your watch face. Tap the play button just like you do for Voicemail on your iPhone.

Once that notification goes away you can still get to a message.

  • Tap on the phone icon on your watch.  Icon for making a call on Apple Watch
  • Scroll down to Voicemail.
  • Tap the message you want to listen to.
  • Tap the Play button.

You will note that all the voicemail messages available on your phone are also there on your watch.

The next blog entry will tell you have to successfully make calls on your Apple watch.

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Ways to Place Phone Calls Using iOS 11.

There several different ways you can make phone calls using iOS 11. Some even work on older versions of iPhones. The first method is Wi-Fi.


Wi-Fi calling can be very useful if you need to make a call in an area with little or no cellular coverage, or if you are using an iPad that doesn’t have a data plan.  This will work on iPhones version 5c or later on a supported carrier. Check here if you want a list of supported carriers. Even easier, if Wi-Fi calling is available, you will see the Wi-Fi symbol after your carrier name in the status bar.

Image of the Wi-Fi symbol

To make it work, turn on Wi-Fi calling in Setting > Phone > Wi-Fi calling on your iPhone.

Image of iPhone settings page "phone"

Set Up Wi-Fi Calling

And while you are there, turn on calls on other devices and indicate the devices you want to use – like an iPad, an Apple watch, or your Mac. You can make those calls if your carrier supports Wi-Fi calling on iCloud-connected devices. Your iCloud-connected devices will work even if your iPhone isn’t on the same Wi-Fi network or even turned on. However, make sure you’re signed in to iCloud and FaceTime with the same Apple ID you use on your phone. Your device(s) must meet the following requirements.

  • Pad or iPod touch with iOS 9 or later
  • Apple Watch with watchOS 2 or later
  • Mac (2012 or later model) with OS X El Capitan

Steps to make a Wi-Fi call from your iPad, iPod touch, or Mac

  • Open FaceTime
  • Tap Audio
  • Enter a contact or phone number and tap 📞
  • You can also place a call by tapping a phone number in Contacts, Mail, Messages, or Safari. 

Steps to make a call from your Apple Watch

  • Open the Phone app on your watch. Icon for making a call on Apple Watch
  • Choose a contact
  • Tap the phone icon 
  • Select the phone number or FaceTime address that you want to call.

One last thing, you need to turn on Wi-Fi calling on your other devices to make all this work.

Turn on Wi-Fi Calling 

On your iPad or iPod touch, go to Settings > FaceTime > Calls from iPhone and tap Upgrade to Wi-Fi Calling.

On your Mac, open FaceTime and choose FaceTime > Preferences > Settings and select Calls From iPhone > Upgrade to Wi-Fi Calling.

When a six-digit code appears, enter it on your iPhone and tap Allow.

On Apple Watch, Wi-Fi Calling turns on when Calls on Other Devices is enabled.

See more ways to make calls in my next blog entry. 

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iOS 11 – Files App, FaceTime, and Do Not Disturb

iOS 11 has lots of new features. In this blog entry I’m going to discuss the new Files App, FaceTime photos, and the Do Not Disturb While Driving features.

A new folder, named Files, has been added in iOS 11 and is available on all your iOS devices.

iOS 11 Files App

Use this app to access all of your documents, even those stored in iCloud Drive or other third-party storage providers.

The Do Not Disturb Notification is designed to prevent notifications and texts from distracting you when you are driving.  To turn it on select Settings > Do Not Disturb. It is a helpful safety feature, but it does have one little quirk. Every time I use my walker to get around, the Do Not Disturb features becomes active. I promise you I have never achieved 60 mph in a walker.

Last, but not least, is FaceTime Live Photos.  If both you and your correspondent are using iOS 11 while conversing on FaceTime, you can capture a live photo of the other person by tapping the shutter button.

Take Instant Photos in FaceTime

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iOS 11- Customizable Control Center

I love the new features in iOS 11 and I plan to cover several of them in my next few blog entries.  The Customizable Control Center for iPhone and iPad is one of my favorites.

To get to the Control Center, slide up from the bottom.  Use touch to access any one element.  To add or remove items go to Settings > Control Center > Customize Controls.

Customizable Control Center

One of the best items in the Control Center is the lock screen option. (see arrow) Now you can use lock screen on a single app and it will stay that way, rather than reformatting your whole phone layout.

Items you can put in your personal Control Center in iOS 11.

Camera Low Power Mode Toggle Notes Screen Recording
Wallet Do Not Disturb While Driving Guided Access Home
Apple TV Remote Flashlight Magnifer Calculator
Alarm Accessibility Shortcuts Stop Watch Voice Memos
Timer Text Size Controls

I think if you play around with this option you may find it to be extremely helpful. Once I started to remember to access it first thing I found it saves me all kinds of time.

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What Is VPN?


If you aren’t sure if a VPN is something technical or a rock band, then the following info is for you.

Rather than connect directly to the internet, a  VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is a service that allows you to connect to the internet via a server run by a VPN provider. You still have to have an internet service provider, VPN is an extra layer on top of that.

All data traveling between your computer, phone or tablet, and this “VPN server” is securely encrypted. As a result of this setup, VPNs:

  • Provide privacy by hiding your internet activity from your ISP (and government)
  • Allow you to evade censorship (by school, work, your ISP, or government)
  • Allow you to “geo-spoof” your location in order to access services unfairly denied to you based on your geographical location (or when you are on holiday)
  • Protect you against hackers when using a public WiFi hotspot
  • Allow you to P2P download in safety
  • Allow users to securely access a private network and share data remotely through public networks.

VPN services cost between $5 and $10 a month. You can find free providers, but remember you get what you pay for and a service that is free to you is making money somehow.

With VPN your internet provider will not know what you are doing on the internet. It can’t see your data because it is encrypted. It can only see that you are connected to the VPN provider.

Your VPN provider can know what you are up to so it is good practice to pick one that employees technical measures to protect you.

Your internet may slow down – it takes processing power to encrypt and decrypt data. However if you have strong and fast internet, you probably won’t notice a change.

It is legal for US citizens and in most other countries.

When choosing a VPN provider check their reviews.

When you share a VPN connection over a wireless network, every device that is connected to the network is automatically protected by the VPN.

This means there is no need to download and install VPN apps for each one of your devices.

You need:

  • an active VPN account
  • a computer connected to the internet through an ethernet cable or WiF.
  • Wi-Fi switched on on your mobile devices
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Minimalistic Totallee Leather iPhone Case is Classy

Company:  Totallee


Price:  $29

Sizes:  iPhone 6, 6 plus, 7, and 7 plus

Color:  black

Weight:  0.1 oz

Thickness:  0.02 inches

Warranty:  2 years

I really like this case.  It has a sophisticated look and feel.  It will fit with any charging stand you might prefer because of the thinness.  It is a “formed” type of case and yet it is made completely of lambskin leather.

There is just enough fold around the case edges that sit on the front of the case to provide minimal protection to your phone. I tested it on an iPhone 6s.  It turns out that I accidentally tested this protection when I dropped my phone face down on my kitchen floor.  It survived intact.

I will also mention that the packaging is very nice and makes a nice presentation if you want to give this case as a gift.

I personally have a preference for this type of case.  My lifestyle is such that I don’t need a heavy duty case and I do use a stand to charge my phone each night. I’m pleased to be able to use this one.

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Create eMail Templates Using Apple Mail on Your Mac

This tip is for OS X. If you find yourself sending emails with the same content over and over, create a template.

  •  Open Mail, click on New Message and enter the subject.
  • Enter the From email address, and create the message.
  • Don’t include any salutation, but leave a space for it if you plan on using one.

Sample Template

  • Select Save as Stationary from the file menu.
  • A window will open asking you to name your new stationary. It also tells you that your new stationary (template) will be saved to the Custom section of the stationary picker.
  • To use your template, open Mail and select New Message.
  • When a new message opens, click on the Show Stationary button in the top right corner. The stationary options will open.
  • Scroll down to Custom and you will see your template.
  • Click on it and add whatever additional information you wish.
Posted in Apple Mail Tips, Beginner Mac Tips, Mac Tips | Leave a comment