Inside the highly customizable companion app that will connect your Apple Watch to your iPhone

AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission as an Amazon Associate and affiliate partner on qualifying purchases. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content.

The forthcoming Apple Watch is all about customization, as demonstrated by the long list of user-configurable options found in the companion app hidden within Apple's iOS 8.2 beta for iPhone.

With the help of tools released by developer Steven Troughton-Smith, AppleInsider dug into the Apple Watch companion application, and offers a closer look at the settings that will be available when the wrist-worn device launches later this year.

With the companion app, users will be able to configure a number of custom settings, such as what content is displayed on the Apple Watch, what music or photos are stored locally on the device, personalized text message quick-reply choices, and much more.

The Apple Watch companion app is still in beta, so any of the options shown here could change before iOS 8.2 ships, as well as the Watch itself to be released this April.

In the beta build, four parent menus are available corresponding to contacts, health-related applications, messages, and calendar. The app also includes a fifth, catch-all menu labeled "More."


Apple allows up to 12 of a user's contacts to appear on the Friends screen, which can be accessed by pressing the side button on the Apple Watch. From there, users can call, send messages, or use the Digital Touch to send sketches, taps and heartbeats.

The Apple Watch companion app also has its own blocked list, where users can be barred from sending messages directly to the watch. The iPhone's block list also applies, but giving the watch its own block list provides users an even greater level of control.


The Activity menu allows users finer control of the health-related functions of the Apple Watch. Here, users can opt to turn on or off stand reminders, which alert the user to move around if they've been sitting for 50 minutes of an hour.

The Apple Watch also allows customizable progress updates, letting users set an interval for how often to receive an update on their Activity progress. Users can also turn on or off alerts for goal completions related to moving, exercising and standing.

Achievements are also a feature of the Apple Watch, notifying users when they reach a milestone or a personal best. And there's a weekly summary option, which gives users a recap of their movement every Monday if they so choose.


Users are given the option to mirror messages settings as they are configured on their iPhone, or to set up a custom set of rules. For example, users can enable or disable alerts, repeat alerts, or read receipts separate from the rules configured on the iPhone.

Apple also gives users the ability to choose between sending an audio message or a dictation transcript from the Apple Watch. If the user prefers always using one or the other, they can set it up to automatically send that version.

The Apple Watch companion app also lets users change the default reply options on their device, creating customizable quick-access options from their wrist.


As with Messages, users can have Calendar settings mirror their iPhone, or they can customize the options. These options include whether alerts are displayed on the wrist, and if the user wants time zone override enabled.


The More section of the Apple Watch companion serves as a catch-all for other functions of the device. These are broken down into the following categories:

  • Clock - 24 hour time, notifications, timers and alarms and more.
  • Contacts - Display contacts as they are on the iPhone, or customize how they are arranged.
  • Mail - Display Mail as it is on the iPhone, or customize alerts and appearance.
  • Maps - Enable or disable turn alerts when using turn-by-turn directions.
  • Music - Choose a playlist to sync with the Watch, and set a size limit for local storage.
  • Photos - Choose photos to be saved locally on the Watch, and set a size limit.
  • Phone - Mirror the iPhone's call display, or customize call settings. Configure respond with text options.
  • Stocks - Choose a default stock or mirror the iPhone's choice. Display current price, points change, percentage change or market cap.
  • Weather - Select the default city displayed in Glances and on clock face complications.
  • Accessibility - Options for voiceover, zoom, grayscale, bold text, motion reduction, reduced transparency, on/off labels, mono audio, and the accessibility shortcut.
  • Health Privacy - Configure settings and information shared with the iOS 8 Health app.
  • Paired Unlock - Create a passcode for the Apple Watch, or set it to unlock automatically once the iPhone is unlocked.
  • Layout - Change how Apple Watch icons are displayed in the grid on the home screen.
  • Motion & Fitness - Enable or disable heart rate and fitness tracking.