How to use your smartwatch as a camera remote control

Most people think of a smartwatch as a fitness gadget, or a way to unobtrusively display notifications. But did you know that you can also use your smartwatch as a camera remote control? Instead of scrambling to beat the next group photo or selfie timer, you can use your smartwatch to control your phone’s camera shutter.

Some smartwatches, such as the Apple Watch, have this feature built-in. For other smartwatches, you will need to download another third-party app. You also need to be within Bluetooth range, as the smartwatch is the way it communicates with your mobile phone. This probably shouldn’t be a problem in most scenarios, but it should be remembered if you’re thinking of using this feature in a more ambitious photo project.

In any case, here’s how to enable this feature on some of the most popular smartwatches:

Apple watch

Good news if you have an Apple Watch. As mentioned earlier, the Apple Watch comes pre-installed with the Camera Remote and Timer apps. You can also use the watch as a viewfinder when setting a photo, take a photo, and then view the photo directly from your wrist. In addition, you can use the clock to switch between other settings such as flash, HDR, live photo and more. Siri is also available as a hands-free option when using this feature.

It’s easy to tweak the settings. 3 Press the dot button.
Image: Apple

take a picture:

  • Once you’ve set up your iPhone to take pictures camera Clock app. It is the same icon as the iPhone camera app.
  • When you open the app, you can see how your photo will look on your watch face. Take this time to make a shot.
  • Zoom in and out using the digital crown
  • Tap the shutter icon in the center of the clock screen to take a picture

Tips and tricks:

  • Tap the thumbnail at the bottom left to see the photo you just took. Double tap to fill the screen with photos. Swipe left or right to see other photos taken.
  • Tap the 3 dot button at the bottom right to access the settings menu. This menu allows you to add a 3-second timer, switch between iPhone front and rear cameras, edit flash settings, edit live photo settings, and turn HDR on and off. increase.
  • If you want to mess with the focus, you can tap a specific area of ​​the photo on the clock screen.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and Samsung Tizen watches

Samsung also has a camera controller app for smartwatches.
Image: Samsung

If you have a Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 or Watch 4 Classic, you don’t need to install anything. The Camera Controller app is preloaded on your smartwatch. However, if you have an older Samsung watch that runs on your own Tizen OS, you’ll need to download the app.

If you are a Tizen watch owner, here’s how to install the Camera Controller app:

  • Open Galaxy store app And search Camera controller App
  • Tap install
  • Follow the prompt to grant permissions
  • When prompted, agree to install the app on the smartphone with which your watch is paired. Otherwise, you will not be able to use the app.

Like your Apple Watch, you can use Samsung’s smartwatch camera remote to see pictures of your watch. You can also use it as a viewfinder, set a timer, and select the camera you want to take a picture of. Finally, you can also use Samsung’s camera remote feature to record video.

To take pictures and videos:

  • Open Camera controller App
  • Take this time to set the shot
  • For video, switch to video mode on your phone
  • Tap capture Photo or record For video

Tips and tricks:

  • Swipe up on the clock to switch between the rear and front cameras
  • If you want to set a timer, there is a timer icon in the top center of the screen
  • To check the photos you took gallery [キャプチャ]Icon displayed next to the button

Wear an OS smartwatch

For Wear OS watches, you have several options. If your watch is paired with your Pixel smartphone, the easiest option is to download the Google Camera app. (Note: This app will not work on Android smartphones other than Pixel, but it is compatible with both WearOS 2 and WearOS 3.) If you have a Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, please refer to the section above. If you have a non-Samsung Wear OS watch that isn’t paired with your Pixel smartphone, you still have the option. This is explained in the next section.

Fossil Gen 6

Fossil Gen6 paired with a Pixel smartphone can use the Google Camera app.
Photo by Dieter Bohn / The Verge

For pixel owners:

  • Go to Google Play Store App
  • Search for Google camera Download the app and download it to your watch

To take a picture with Google Camera:

  • Go to the app menu
  • Tap camera
  • Press the circular shutter icon in the center of the screen

Tips and tricks:

  • Swipe up and tap the timer to turn the timer on or off. However, you cannot customize the time. Stacked with the default 3 second timer.
  • Drag the slider to the right or left to zoom in and out.

Third party camera remote app

If you have a watch other than Samsung Wear OS that isn’t paired with your Garmin, Fitbit, or Pixel smartphone, you’ll need to download a third-party app to take advantage of this feature. There are many options available, but you have to pay for the app and your mileage may vary.

That said, third-party apps are hit or miss. Since it’s not the manufacturer that codes these apps, they can break after the update, which is a whim of software updates pushed by the manufacturer. Different Android smartphones may have different power saving settings, which may affect the operation of the app.

The advantage is that there are different apps with different features and you can hunt around a bit to find the one that suits your specific needs. To find these apps, search the Google Play Store, App Store, Garmin Connect IQ Store, and Fitbit’s App Gallery.

Keep in mind that these are not native apps and you may need to perform some additional steps to install and use them. This is especially true for Fitbit and Garmin owners. This is because these watches do not have a robust third-party app ecosystem. In general, there are far fewer options available on these platforms, and the available options tend not to be appreciated.

Below are some options for third-party camera remote apps. The ones we chose provided a variety of features and support articles and were updated during the last year.

Samsung Galaxy Watch and Wear OS Smart Watch:

Camera one

This app is compatible with both Samsung Wear OS watches and Tizen watches. It can also be used with Wear OS smartwatches such as the TicWatch Pro 3. It can be used for self-shooting, photo grouping, audio recording, time-lapse video shooting, saving photos to clock or SD card, and has multiple timers. option. It’s free to install, but there is a premium version that offers more features and better image quality.

Camera remote control

This app works primarily with WearOS 2 watches and can be installed for free, but there are also in-app purchases. You can use the clock as a viewfinder and adjust settings such as zoom, exposure, and flash. You can choose to set a timer, record video, and switch between front and rear cameras. In other words, it’s not that advanced, but you understand the basics.

You need a third-party app to use this feature on your Fitbit smartwatch.
Photo courtesy of Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Fitbit and Garmin:

Camera remote control (IOS, Android, Fitbit, Garmin)

This $ 1.99 app is available on certain Fitbits and Garmin devices, regardless of the operating system your smartphone uses. For Fitbits, the app works with all Versa models, Sense, and Ionic. On the other hand, you can use the app on most Garmin devices — the list is here. That said, it requires more steps than a regular camera app, which can make the photography process cumbersome and error-prone. App developers have posted some tutorial videos, FAQs, and step-by-step instructions on their website.

Keep in mind that this app saves photos on your phone, not your watch. (However, you can check the photo on the clock.)

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