The ‘Reverse Crown’ Apple Watch orientation

BY Gautam Prabhu

Published 28 May 2015

Apple Watch - making a call

It has been more than a month since I’ve been using the Apple Watch. But after you’ve get used to a new type of device, you tend to wonder if you’re using it efficiently.

A great way to figure that out is to find out how others are using the device. I came across this interesting article by Craig Hockenberry, developer of Twitterific, a popular Twitter client for iPhone and iPad, where he explains why he prefers the Digital Crown on the left side on his left wrist.

One of the first things I noticed about using the Apple Watch was that pressing the digital crown on my left wrist required a fairly awkward position of the index finger on my right hand. While pressing on the crown without another finger to provide resistance, the strap twisted uncomfortably. When you try to get your thumb on the opposite side of the case to provide support, you either cover the face or resort to contortions.

Luckily, I had spent some time digging around in the settings in the Apple Watch app and remembered seeing some odd settings in General > Watch Orientation. The wrist selection is obvious enough, but being able to change the position of the digital crown had no obvious benefit. That is, until I tried it.

Apple Watch - Digital Crown - left

So I tested the Apple Watch with the Digital Crown on the left. After testing it out for a couple of days, I prefer the default position of the crown, which is on the right. Since you’re so used to the crown being on the right, even in case of mechanical watches, it feels as if you’re wearing the watch the wrong way. So it takes some time to get used to the idea of having the crown on the left.

While I agree with Hockenberry that it is a little awkward to use the index finger to press the digital crown, and it seems a lot more natural to use the thumb, I have got used to it. In fact, I found it a little awkward to use the Digital Crown to scroll with my thumb. Using the index finger to scroll also wasn’t as convenient as using it when the Digital Crown was on the right side. The other problem is that accessibility to the Side button isn’t great when it is above the Digital Crown because of the protruding crown.

But I can see why Hockenberry, and the fact that there is a setting available, suggests that some people at Apple also preferred the position of the Digital Crown reversed.

About the Setting:

You can change the settings by following these steps:

  • Launch the Apple Watch companion app on your iPhone.
  • Tap on General.
  • Tap on Watch Orientation.
  • Tap on Digital Crown on Left Side.

It also goes without saying that you need to wear the watch with the Digital Crown on the left. Note, this feature is meant for left-handed users who want to wear the watch on the right hand.

Do you prefer the Digital Crown on the left or right side? Let me know in the comments below.

Credit: Marco Arment for the title.