The case of the missing Apple Watch Sport

Or: Why I'm not a fan of the Sports Band.

A few days ago I was making my way to work, standing on BART. The train stopped, and the driver announced that we were going to be delayed for a minute or two. That’s when I decided to check the time on my Apple Watch.

One problem: my Watch wasn’t on my wrist.

I’ve never been a morning person, and my morning routine is always a blur in my mind, but I was pretty sure I put my Watch on before I left the house.

I looked on the train floor around me and didn’t see my Watch. I quickly realized that there was no chance of finding my Watch if it fell off after I left my house and before I got on the train. I resigned myself to the idea of it being gone almost immediately.

When I got to the Macworld office, I called home, on the off chance my wife was still there. She was, and I asked her to search my office. No Watch, she said.

I lost my Apple Watch. Oh well. No one to blame but myself.

How I lost my Apple Watch Sport

After talking to my wife and my coworkers, I internally cursed myself for procrastinating. I’d been thinking about buying a replacement band and looked at a few, but I never made a purchase.

I bought a Space Gray 42 mm Apple Watch. The black fluoroelastomer Sports Band it comes with feels nice, but my faith in the pin-and-tuck closure was tested daily.

apple watch blk band wrist Roman Loyola

When you use the last hole on the M/L Sports Band, you're left with about 0.5 inches to tuck and secure the band. That may not be enough.

The problem with this closure is that its security relies on the band being tucked. I use the last hole on the Sports Band, which leaves about a half-inch of band to be tucked—a half-inch isn’t enough. I’ve have many times where throughout the day, the band becomes untucked, which makes the Watch unsecure on my wrist.

What makes the band untucked? It happens when I pull up my sleeve or when I put my hand in my pocket. It happens when I'm typing; I move my wrist in a way that pushes the band out (I'm not a trained typist). I’ve tried tightening the band, but the next hole is too snug to be comfortable. (I should note that before the Apple Watch, I was not a watch wearer. Using the second-to-last hole doesn’t create a painful, problematic fit. It’s a matter of personal comfort.)

With every Apple Watch Sport, the company includes two bands, one measuring 150 to 185 mm (S/M), and the other measuring 185 to 210 mm (M/L). Last August, Apple released a bigger Sports Band that measures 210 to 245 mm (L/XL). It’s $49 and available only in black or white. (Apple also released a $49 Link Bracelet Kit for people who need to lengthen their Link Bracelet band.

I’d been eyeing the larger Sports Band, but I can’t get over the pin-and-tuck closure. It’s a clever design that, for smaller wrists, seems to work. But for bigger wrists like mine, the cleverness comes at the cost of security. So I was also looking at other bands that use a more secure clasp. But I kept putting the purchase off, with my money committed to other priorities.

apple watch blk band Roman Loyola

For me, the amount of band that's tucked isn't enough.

How I found my Apple Watch Sport

One of the reasons why I was so quick to resign myself to the idea that I lost my Watch is because it’s a device with no real way to track it. Find My iPhone can be used to track a lost or stolen iPhone, but it can’t be used for tracking an Apple Watch.

According to Apple, the Apple Watch can connect to a Wi-Fi network, but it seems to use Wi-Fi only to pair with your iPhone if Bluetooth isn’t available. In other words, the Apple Watch is not using Wi-Fi to perform any functions at all.

So there’s no way digitally to track this version of Apple Watch. Maybe the next version will work with Find My iPhone.

There was still a possibility that my Watch fell off as I made my way out of my house. Since Find My iPhone was useless, I left work early to search my house. When I got home, I walked through my house and didn’t see my Watch sitting out in the open.

watch app alert volume

I walked through my house again, but this time, I took out my iPhone, opened the Watch app, and continuously adjusted the Alert Volume to create an audible “alert ping” from the Watch. And after a few steps in my garage, I heard it and saw it laying next the compost bin.

I found my Apple Watch. Whew.

Later, I went online and bought the L/XL Sports Band. I feel like I should give the pin-and-tuck closure another try with a longer band that provides a better tuck. And once I pay off other obligations, I’ll buy another band with a clasp that feels more secure to me.

In the meantime, my Watch is on a little tighter. The Sports Band does stretch over time, so either the band will give a little and become more comfortable, or, as with dental braces, I'll get used to it eventually.

Lose your Apple Watch or have a close call? Tell us about it in the comments.

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Roman Loyola

Macworld.com
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