For the longest time, there was no way to actually “type” a message on the
Apple Watch. You could either send a pre-configured canned message, an emoji, a doodle, speak a message aloud and hope the Watch would transcribe it properly and that was it. To actually reply something, even if it was couple of letters, required you to pull out your iPhone. That changes with watchOS 3.
Don’t worry, they’re not building in an entire keyboard. They’re doing something much more 90s, they’re building in Newton and Palm Graffiti like handwriting/scribbling feature.
Yeah, so when you get a message, say your colleagues asking you which room the meeting is in, you can just scribble the letters “5”, “0”, “7”, and be done with it. Apple Watch will identify the words (fairly quickly and accurately, I might add), and convert them into digital text. Then just send it along.
Here’s how you can access the Scribble feature.
When You Get A Notification
The best thing about this feature is that it already works in basically all messaging apps that support the Watch’s reply feature. So I was able to send replies using Scribbles not only using Messages but also with Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.
When you get a notification with a text, swipe down on it. You’ll see a “Scribble” button here, just around the Dismiss button. If not, then tap the “Reply” button (the UI will differ based on the app notification”. If you get to the canned messages, you’ve scrolled too far.
Tap on the Scribble button and you’ll see a dotted grid area, kind of like a trackpad. Just move your finger here and write one letter at a time. Once you’re done writing a letter, it will show up at the top. You can use the Backspace button in the bottom to erase something.
Once you’ve written all of it, tap the “Send” button.
When You’re Sending A New Message
Let’s say you want to send a new message to someone, using the Watch. Go to the app in question – Messages for instance – and select the conversation.
You’ll see the “Scribble” button here. Tap it and do your thing.
Going Backwards To Go Forward
It’s amazing that we’ve come full circle and are integrating 90s technology in our latest devices. We can make fun of it all we want but to be honest, I think the Scribble feature is going to be really useful. It’s already a habit for me.