I’ve been wearing the Apple Watch Ultra for long enough now to know two things for certain.

Firstly, I definitely don’t need it. There isn’t anything I do with the Apple Watch Ultra that I couldn’t do on a Series 8, or, arguably the Series 6 it replaced.

Secondly, it remains my favourite Apple device of last year. This is because of the reason above (I love products I have absolutely zero need for but yearn to own) and also because it is Apple at its silliest, which is my favourite version of Apple.

If you’ve got an Apple Watch Ultra and feel like you could be getting more for it, or if you’re eagerly awaiting the arrival of this over-the-top-and-ultimately-flawed smartwatch, I’ve got ten ways you can maximise your purchase.

1. Convince yourself that you deserve it

No one on this planet needs an Apple Watch Ultra – least of all the people for whom it is apparently designed.

Apple’s marketing material for its adventurer-focused wearable suggests that it is a perfect fit for anyone who regularly finds themselves undertaking ultra runs or challenging multi-day hikes. The problem is the fact that those people will already own a Garmin, which is far more adept at dealing with the aforementioned exertions.

None of this matters, though. The Apple Watch Ultra is a ‘want it’ device. It’s aspirational, silly, and pretentious. In tech, there’s nothing wrong with that; if you simply want an Apple Watch Ultra and have the money for it, you won’t be disappointed with your purchase.

You’re worth it.

2. Buy the right strap

There’s one thing I’d do differently if I had the opportunity to buy the Apple Watch Ultra again – I’d add a different strap to the shopping bag.

I opted for the Alpine Loop because I thought it looked cool in orange and appeared to be the most practical strap out of those that launched with the Ultra.

I was wrong on both fronts.

While it did indeed look rather fetching out of the box, it’s the worst Apple Watch strap I’ve owned when it comes to getting grubby. After just a few runs and daily wear, my Alpine Loop began to resemble the grubby example that can be seen on a climber’s wrist in the Apple commercial. Granted, I only ran it lightly under the tap after each workout, but it lost its vibrancy far too quickly for my liking.

The Alpine Loop is also trickier than it should be to wrap around your wrist. You have to be super careful while pulling it over your hand (more on that, below) and I still haven’t worked out the best rung in which to insert the metal clasp.

My advice? Configure your Apple Watch Ultra with a Trail Loop – it’s one of the comfiest, most practical Apple Watch bands I’ve ever worn.

3. Be careful with the Alpine Loop

I’ve got my YouTuber mate, Patrick Rambles, to thank for this.

After accidentally buying the wrong-sized Alpine Loop for his Apple Watch Ultra, Patrick found that it was all too easy to inadvertently mark the device’s aerospace-grade titanium while removing the said strap.

I’ll let his awesome video do the talking but, suffice it to say, it really does pay to choose the right size for your Alpine Loop – and be super careful when removing the Ultra from your wrist!

4. Don’t expect too much from the battery

There was always a lot riding on the Apple Watch Ultra’s battery and while it is indeed considerably more impressive than the one you’ll find in a regular Apple Watch, please don’t expect miracles.

My battery tests and daily experience with the Apple Watch Ultra have confirmed that this is resolutely a two-day device. You can get more out of it and your mileage may vary, but for general use (and by that, I mean daily workouts, notifications, multiple time checks and sleep tracking) it won’t go much beyond 48 hours.

If that disappoints you, it’s important to keep in mind how much the Apple Watch Ultra is doing behind the scenes. It is, essentially, a mini iPhone strapped to your wrist. We’re still a long way off Garmin levels of battery life on any Apple Watch.

5. Use Knight Rider Mode

From the Wayfinder watch face on your Apple Watch Ultra, twist the Digital Crown clockwise and marvel as the entire display fades into a deep, impressive-looking shade of red.

There’s a reason behind this feature (it has something to do with visibility while you’re in the wilderness desperately searching for basecamp or something) but I have no interest in that.

It just looks so, so cool.

6. Consider switching wrists

The Action Button is fast becoming my least favourite aspect of the Apple Watch Ultra.

It’s painted in International Orange, which goes some way to making it worthwhile, but it remains the only button on the Ultra that I constantly inadvertently press.

This happens most often when I’m interacting with the Digital Crown (with my thumb naturally resting where the Action Button resides), or via the edge of my coat sleeve, which regularly bashes into it.

There’s a fix for this, which is to move the Ultra to your right wrist. For me, this feels all kinds of wrong, but if it works for you, it’s probably a good idea from day one.

7. Get into a charging habit

Although I rarely check my sleep tracking data, I’m now a full go-to-bed-with-the-Apple-Watch convert. This is mainly due to its admirable ability to always wake me up on time with those gentle ‘taps’ on the wrist.

Because of this, I’ve had to get used to charging my Apple Watch Ultra differently to my previous Apple Watches. It’s super simple; as soon as I see the battery warning message, I’ll grab my ever-present puck charger and give it some juice.

I usually do this when I’m sitting writing, filming, or doing something that doesn’t involve any physical exertion, thus avoiding the possibility of missing out on those vital fitness metrics.

If you’re the sort of person who charges their Apple Watch overnight, I’d highly recommend adopting my charging strategy to get the most from your Ultra.

8. Remember to lock the screen during workouts

When I took the Apple Watch Ultra on a two-day hike to the Lake District last month, it annoyed the hell out of me.

This was because of the constant ‘ghost’ presses on the screen while I was walking. It resulted in my hiking workouts constantly being stopped and started and all manner of apps and functions being instigated without my say-so.

On the second day, I decided to lock the screen by heading into the control centre and tapping the water droplet. This is primarily designed for swimming, but it’s now a default setting for any serious walking I undertake because it completely removes any chance of those ghosts ruining play.

9. Take it for a long hike

Do it – seriously. Even if you’re not into hiking, I highly recommend putting the Apple Watch Ultra through its paces.

Like me, you can give that battery a proper test (try turning on low power mode – but make sure you switch on both options!) but you can also try out features like the awesome compass and backtracking feature.

Besides, this watch is apparently made for that kind of stuff, so you might as well give it a go, right? Who knows, you might take up scuba diving next.

10. Use it for telephone calls

I’ve rarely used my Apple Watches for making and receiving telephone calls in the past. I’ve always found the quality – both for me and the person I’m speaking to – rather unreliable.

Things appear to be far better on the calling front with the Apple Watch Ultra. If I’m on dad duty with our nine-month-old I rarely have more than one hand free, which means I’ve been relying on the Apple Watch Ultra more than ever for accepting incoming calls.

The speaker is fantastic, and I’ve never had an issue with the other person hearing me. Give it a go – I promise you’ll be impressed (plus using it in this way goes perfectly with the ultra-cool Knight Rider Mode!).

Wrapping up

I hope this list has inspired you to really make the most of your Apple Watch Ultra.

Because so few of us will ever put this thing through its paces in the way Apple seemingly thinks we should, it’s important to explore every nook and cranny of its capabilities. And, with that in mind, I’d love to hear your Apple Watch Ultra tips.

So, get involved in the comments! What have I missed above?

Before you go

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