Ring Spotlight Cam Plus vs. Ring Spotlight Cam Pro | Digital Trends

Ring Spotlight Cam Plus vs. Ring Spotlight Cam Pro | Digital Trends

When it comes to home security, few products are as compelling as spotlights. These compact devices work just like regular security cameras, providing motion alerts and recording all activity on your property. However, they also come with a built-in light — allowing them to illuminate your yard and scare away intruders.

Within this category of security devices, the Ring Spotlight Cam Plus and Ring Spotlight Cam Pro are two of the most popular choices. Along with their names, the two spotlights share much in common, including support for the versatile Ring mobile app and Ring Protect plans. But what is the difference between the Spotlight Cam Plus and Spotlight Cam Pro? And is the more expensive Spotlight Cam Pro worth the upgrade?

Here’s a closer look at the Ring Spotlight Cam Plus and Ring Spotlight Cam Pro to help you decide.

Pricing and monthly fees

Ring

The Spotlight Cam Plus costs $170, though you can save money by purchasing a two-pack for $280. The Spotlight Cam Pro costs $230, and it also lets you save some cash by purchasing a two-pack for $380. Both spotlights can be used without a monthly Ring Protect plan, but you’ll be missing out on all of their best features.

Without a Ring Protect plan, you’ll just be able to view the live video feeds and check event notifications (along with a few other minor features). That means picking up a Ring Protect plan is practically a necessity. The cheapest plan is Ring Protect Basic, which costs $4 per month ($5 per month after March 11). This adds tons of functionality to your spotlight. Here are the highlights:

  • 180-day video history
  • Snapshot capture
  • Person and package alerts
  • Rich notifications

Since both products use the same monthly subscription, but the Spotlight Cam Plus is sold at a much lower price, it’s the better choice for budget-conscious shoppers.

Winner: Ring Spotlight Cam Plus

Design and installation

The Ring Spotlight Cam Plus security camera, installed outdoors.
Ring

Unless you place them side by side, it would be difficult to tell the Plus and Pro models apart from each other. They both feature a black faceplate that houses the camera and is flanked by lighting panels on its sides. The rest of the unit is covered in a white chassis. The main difference is that the Spotlight Cam Pro is slightly larger and the bottom speaker unit of the spotlight is a bit more circular (compared to an angular speaker on the Plus). Aside from that, they are remarkably similar.

Installation is the same for both spotlights, as they’re available as battery-powered units that can be placed almost anywhere around your property. Wired units are also available if you’re not a fan of swapping out dead batteries. It should take around 10 to 15 minutes to get the battery-powered spotlights up and running — after mounting them to your home, you’ll simply need to sync them with your smartphone and Wi-Fi network. Once that’s done, they’re ready for action.

Winner: Tie

Resolution and night vision

Ring Spotlight Cam Pro outside.
Ring

The Ring Spotlight Cam Plus films in 1080p, while the more expensive Ring Spotlight Cam Pro films in 1080p with support for HDR. That allows it to produce slightly more vibrant images, with improved clarity in both bright and lowlight environments. Both products are capable of color night vision, though the Pro should offer better all-around performance in lowlight due to its support for HDR. The Pro and Plus spotlights have a 140-degree viewing angle, which gives you plenty of coverage for backyards and driveways.

Winner: Ring Spotlight Cam Pro

Features and spec list

The Ring Birds Eye app showing how a person approached a door.
Ring

There are a few key differences to be aware of with these two spotlights. Much of their spec sheets are shared, but here are the things you should consider:

  • The Spotlight Cam Pro supports Bird’s Eye View. This gives you a detailed, overhead view of how people approached your home.
  • The Spotlight Cam Pro supports Pre-Roll, which captures six extra seconds of video.
  • The Spotlight Cam Pro supports dual-band 5GHz. The Spotlight Cam Plus supports single-band 2.4GHz. Be sure to check your network to see if you need to toggle any settings before making a purchase.
  • The Spotlight Cam Pro uses Audio+ technology for better noise canceling when recording video or using its two-way speaker.

Which is the better security camera?

The Ring Spotlight Cam Pro is a better security camera than the Ring Spotlight Cam Plus. With support for HDR and Bird’s Eye View, it does an excellent job of capturing all the motion around your property. Beyond those standout features, its secondary perks like support for 5GHz networks and Pre-Roll make it even more enticing.

However, homes that already have the Spotlight Cam Plus installed may not want to spring for the Spotlight Cam Pro. The exclusive features of the Pro are nice — but they’re not enough to warrant dropping $230 for a spotlight if you already have the Plus. Homes with lesser spotlight cameras should give the Pro careful consideration, as it’s an incredible upgrade when compared to entry-level models.

In short — the Ring Spotlight Cam Pro is the better spotlight, though frugal shoppers will be well served by the Ring Spotlight Cam Plus.

Editors’ Recommendations






iPad Weekend Sale: Save on the iPad Air, iPad Mini, iPad Pro | Digital Trends

iPad Weekend Sale: Save on the iPad Air, iPad Mini, iPad Pro | Digital Trends

Joe Maring / Digital Trends

If you’re thinking about getting one of the latest models of Apple’s iPad, don’t miss this chance to get one with discounts from a weekend sale by Best Buy. With the popularity of these tablets, we’re not sure how long stocks will last, so take a look at the offers that we’ve rounded up here and make your decision on what to buy quickly because like with most iPad deals, these prices aren’t going to last forever.

Apple iPad Mini 2021 (Wi-Fi, 64GB) — $400, was $500

The Apple Pencil attaches to the iPad mini magnetically.
Adam Doud / Digital Trends

The 2021 Apple iPad Mini is the oldest iPad in this list, but it’s still in our roundup of the best iPads as the best small iPad because it’s extremely portable with its 8.3-inch Liquid Retina display. Performance is still pretty quick by today’s standards as it’s equipped with Apple’s A15 Bionic chip, which is the same processor inside the iPhone 13 series, the iPhone 14, and the iPhone 14 Plus. The tablet features the Touch ID fingerprint recognition system for security, a 12MP Wide back camera and a 12MP Ultra Wide front camera with Center Stage technology, and a battery life of up to 10 hours on a single charge.

Apple iPad Air 2022 (Wi-Fi, 256GB) — $600, was $750

The back of the iPad Air 5.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The 2022 Apple iPad Air is our top choice among the best tablets for several reasons, but it all starts with the amazing performance provided by Apple’s M1 chip. It’s the same processor in the 2021 Apple iPad Pro and the 2020 Apple MacBook Air, and even if you multitask between several apps, the tablet simply won’t slow down. The 2022 Apple iPad Air also features a 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display, Touch ID, a 12MP Wide back camera and a 12MP Ultra Wide front camera with Center Stage, and a battery that can last up to 10 hours from a full charge.

Apple 11-inch iPad Pro 2022 (Wi-Fi, 128GB) — $749, was $799

The back of the iPad Pro (2022) in Space Gray.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

If you want the best performance that you can get from an iPad, you should go for the 2022 Apple iPad Pro with the M2 chip that’s also inside the 2022 Apple MacBook Air and 2022 Apple MacBook Pro. The smaller model with an 11-inch Liquid Retina display is still pretty large, which will give you a great view of the streaming shows that you’re watching and the projects that you’re working on. The tablet is protected by Apple’s Face ID facial recognition system, and it comes with a 12MP Wide back camera and a 12MP Ultra Wide front camera with Center Stage.

Apple 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2022 (Wi-Fi, 512GB) — $1,349, was $1,399

The iPad Pro (2022) sitting in the Magic Keyboard.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

For the largest display that you can get from an iPad, check out the 12.9-inch model of the 2022 Apple iPad Pro. The tablet’s larger model comes with all of the same features, expect for the 12.9-inch Liquid Retina XDR display that’s downright gorgeous for all purposes.

Editors’ Recommendations






How to enable Apple Music lossless audio on Apple TV | Digital Trends

How to enable Apple Music lossless audio on Apple TV | Digital Trends

Despite having spent hundreds of hours listening to lossless audio from Apple Music on my iPhone since the feature launched, I’ve done very little listening to the format via my Apple TV. Or at least, I thought I had done very little listening. As it turns out, I had done zero lossless listening via Apple TV, a fact that a video from Audioholics’ Gene DellaSala makes abundantly clear. Lossless audio is not turned on by default on that device.

Thankfully, the fix is easy and only takes a few clicks of your Apple TV remote. DellaSala’s video runs you through the steps, but I’ve reposted them here as a quick reference.

Unfortunately, these steps only apply to the three generations of the Apple TV 4K. Lossless audio from Apple Music isn’t supported on other Apple TV models.


Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

Switch the Apple Music audio quality setting from High Quality to Lossless

To get lossless audio from Apple Music on an Apple TV 4K, follow these five easy steps using your Apple TV remote or the Remote app on your iPhone.

Step 1: From the Apple TV 4K’s home screen, open the Settings app.

Apple TV 4K: Home screen with Settings app highlighted.

Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

Step 2: Scroll down and select the Apps menu item.

Apple TV 4K: Settings menu.

Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

Step 3: Scroll down and select Music under the App Settings heading.

Apple TV 4K: apps settings.

Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

Step 4: Take note of the current setting for Audio Quality under the Audio heading.

If it says “Lossless,” you’re already getting lossless audio quality from Apple Music, congrats!

If it says “High Quality,” move on to the next step.

Apple TV 4K: Apple Music settings.

Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

Step 5: Scroll down and select Audio Quality from under the Audio heading.

Apple TV 4K: Apple Music audio quality settings.

Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

Step 6: Highlight, then select the Lossless option.

The check mark should move from the High Quality option to the Lossless option. If it doesn’t, select the Lossless option again.

To confirm that the change worked, use the back button to return to the Music screen. You should now see “Lossless” in the Audio Quality field.

Apple TV 4K: Apple Music audio quality settings.

Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

Now that you’ve got lossless audio for Apple Music enabled on your Apple TV, we should point out one small caveat for audiophiles. While the steps above ensure that you’re getting the best possible audio quality from Apple Music on Apple TV, lossless audio isn’t actually Apple Music’s top quality level.

Included with every Apple Music subscription is access to the service’s collection of “hi-res lossless” tracks. These tracks are streamed in 24-bit/96kHz or higher resolution, but unfortunately, the Apple TV 4K is currently limited to regular Apple Music lossless quality of up to 24-bit/48kHz.

As DellaSala points out, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with 24-bit/48kHz. In fact, in many circles this resolution is considered the entry level for hi-res audio. Still, if you want to hear the very highest quality from Apple Music, you’ll need to use a hi-fi or headphone DAC that’s compatible with iPhones or Android phones. These will let you decode hi-res lossless tracks from the Apple Music mobile app.

Editors’ Recommendations






The 6 biggest announcements we expect from MWC 2024 next week | Digital Trends

The 6 biggest announcements we expect from MWC 2024 next week | Digital Trends

MWC

Mobile World Congress (MWC) is happening next week in Barcelona, and we can expect to see a lot of cool new announcements and reveals for the mobile industry.

But what exactly will we get a peek of? There are a few companies that we already know will be there, and they’ll be pulling back the curtain on their latest releases and even future concepts. Here are some of the biggest announcements we expect from MWC 2024.

Nothing Phone 2a

Leaked renders of the Nothing Phone 2a's design.
Nothing Community

Nothing, the consumer electronics manufacturer wfrom former OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei, has already confirmed that it will hold an event at MWC on February 27, and the full launch of the Nothing Phone 2a will be a few days later on March 5.

The brand has already established itself as a popular option for low-cost flagships among the competition. Currently, the Nothing Phone 2 starts at $599, which is a much more reasonable price compared to Samsung’s $800 Galaxy S24 or Apple’s $800 iPhone 15. But the Nothing Phone 2a will be an even more budget-friendly option with a rumored price of just $400.

One of the most unique things about Nothing Phones is the transparent glass back with LED lights. While there have been some conflicting leaks about what the Nothing Phone 2a design will look like, we can now confirm the final design of the Nothing Phone 2a.

It appears that the camera bump will be centered and horizontal rather than vertical, like on the Nothing Phone 1 and 2. There will still be LED lights, but based on the leak, it only looks like we’re getting three lights at the top, around the camera bump.

In terms of specs, the Nothing Phone 2a will have the MediaTek Dimensity 7200 Pro. This is the first Nothing Phone with a MediaTek chip, and it’s also the first phone to use the 7200 Pro. The Nothing Phone 2a reportedly has a 120Hz 6.7-inch AMOLED display, a hole-punch camera cutout at the top, and a possible resolution of 1084 x 2412 pixels. The minimum RAM should be 8GB and it will start at 128GB storage.

There haven’t been a lot of leaks regarding the cameras, but the dual-camera system should have at least 50MP and a possible 32MP selfie camera.

OnePlus Watch 2

Black and green variants of the OnePlus Watch 2.
OnePlus

OnePlus is also another company that has confirmed it will be attending MWC 2024. In this case, we can expect OnePlus to reveal its OnePlus Watch 2, which we have some information about already.

The OnePlus Watch 2 will have a traditional timepiece design with a round dial and a flattened edge that is a bit reminiscent of Casio’s G-Shock series watches. It features a stainless steel body with two colors — including a black finish and one with a natural silver style.

The main thing OnePlus has teased about the OnePlus Watch 2 is its battery life. OnePlus has confirmed that the OnePlus Watch 2 will get up to 100 hours of battery per charge. Even more interesting are rumors that the OnePlus Watch 2 will run Wear OS 4. A Wear OS smartwatch with that level of battery life is unprecedented, so we’re very eager to see what OnePlus has done to pull this one off.

Honor Magic 6 Pro

Honor Magic 6 Pro family.
Honor

Although it doesn’t have a presence in the U.S., Honor regularly produces some of the more interesting Android phones on the market. The company revealed its Honor Magic 6 Pro flagship phone on January 11. However, we’ll likely see a wider release for the Honor Magic 6 series, which Honor is teasing for its MWC event on February 25.

According to reports, the Honor Magic 6 Pro could see a release in Europe and the U.K. This would also include a base model Honor Magic 6. The rumored launch date is February 25.

The Honor Magic 6 Pro runs on the Android 14-based MagicOS 8.0 interface. It has a 6.8-inch Full-HD+ OLED display with an in-display fingerprint sensor and a dynamic refresh rate from 1Hz to 120Hz. It runs on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip, has 16GB RAM, and up to 1TB storage.

For cameras, the triple-lens system includes a 50MP main shooter, a 180MP periscope lens with 2.5x optical and 100x digital zoom, and a 50MP ultrawide camera. The selfie camera is an impressive 50MP. There is a massive 5,600mAh battery with support for 80-watt wired charging and 66W wireless charging. All in all, it looks like a pretty incredible package.

Xiaomi 14 Ultra

An official product render of the Xiaomi 14 Ultra.
Xiaomi

Xiaomi is another Chinese smartphone brand that will make an appearance at MWC 2024. Xiaomi will be showing off a new flagship smartphone for a more global audience (excluding the U.S.): the Xiaomi 14 Ultra.

Xiaomi released the Xiaomi 14 Ultra in China on February 22, and from what we’re seeing right now, it looks like one beast of a smartphone. We’re looking at a 6.73-inch display with a 1440p resolution and 3,000 nits of brightness, a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor, a 5,300 mAh battery, and 90W wired charging speeds.

The real magic lies with the camera specs, however. The main camera is a 50-megapixel sensor with a large one-inch sensor. There’s also a 50MP telephoto camera with 3.2x zoom, another 50MP telephoto camera with 5x zoom, and a 50MP ultrawide camera with a 122-degree field of view.

The Xiaomi 14 Ultra will join the current Xiaomi 14 lineup that includes the base model Xiaomi 14 and Xiaomi 14 Pro. These phones use Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipsets and feature an AI-heavy feature set and a new Android fork called HyperOS. The Xiaomi 14 has a 6.3-inch screen, while the Pro version has a 6.7-inch display, and both are LTPO displays with 1Hz to 120Hz refresh rates and peak brightness of 3,000 nits.

Xiaomi has confirmed it’ll be at MWC 2024 with the Xiaomi 14 Ultra, and we can expect this is where we’ll learn more about the company’s plans for an international/global release of the phone.

Crazy concept phones from Tecno

The folded Tecno Phantom V Fold and Tecno Phantom V Flip.
The Tecno Phantom V Flip (left) and Tecno Phantom V Fold Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

If you’re in the U.S., you may not have heard very much about Tecno since you can’t walk into a carrier store and purchase a Tecno phone. But Tecno is a brand that is very popular in the East, and it is ready to showcase some extremely interesting phones at MWC 2024, including some rollable screen phones.

So far, only Samsung has really shown rollable screen concepts that may actually work in real life. Motorola and Oppo also had such concepts, but they never made it past demos. This year, Tecno will be dipping its toes into the rollable waters.

At MWC 2024, Tecno will unveil the Phantom Ultimate smartphone, which features rollable screen technology. This will still be a concept phone, but it will have an “innovative double-sided screen.” The screen in question will grow from 6.5 inches to 7.1 inches once the rolling mechanism gets going. The dimensions suggest that it will go from a portrait-first to a tablet-like mode.

Another concept that Tecno is working on is a foldable phone with no borders. There aren’t any known details about this one, but it would be interesting to see if this kind of foldable would have any practicality to it, or if it’s just purely aesthetics. Regardless, there’s a lot to look forward to.

A new Motorola phone

Hands on with the Motorola Rizr concept phone.
Digital Trends

Motorola is a familiar face at MWC, and we expect to see something from the company, even though it hasn’t made any official confirmations.

During last year’s MWC, we got a look at the Motorola Rizr concept. This was Motorola’s rollable concept with a 5-inch display and 15:9 aspect ratio that can roll out to a 6.5-inch display. It was comfortable to hold, and it was a great compact size.

Unfortunately, this never made it past the demo stage, as it had many durability concerns — the bottom of the screen had no bezel, so it was likely to get damaged if you dropped it. And when the screen is rolled out, it extends past the rest of the hardware, so it wasn’t flush.

Motorola adaptive display concept on wrist.
Lenovo

In October 2023, Motorola also revealed another concept phone that you can wear. This bendable phone can be worn on your wrist like a smartwatch, or it can bend and serve as a smart display.

We’re unsure if we’ll see another rollable or bendable phone concept from Motorola at MWC 2024. Or maybe we’ll see something entirely new. Whatever Motorola may have up its sleeve, it will certainly be something unique.

Editors’ Recommendations






5 phones you should buy instead of the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra | Digital Trends

5 phones you should buy instead of the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra | Digital Trends

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

It’s hard not to lust after the biggest and most powerful smartphone on the market, and at the moment, that’s the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra. Samsung’s new flagship is here, and it’s simply one of the best smartphones you can buy today. The Galaxy S24 Ultra isn’t just another smartphone; it’s extremely powerful and has some of the most advanced AI features we’ve ever seen on a phone, along with an excellent camera and battery life. Simply put, it’s great.

But you know what? You don’t have to buy it. As good as it is, the Galaxy S24 Ultra is only one of a number of smartphones you can buy, and many of them are as good as the S24 Ultra — and may even exceed it in a few key ways.

Not sure about dropping $1,300 on Samsung’s latest? Here are five smartphones you should buy instead of the Galaxy S24 Ultra.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus

Someone holding the Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus with its screen turned on.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

What is the Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus? Simply put, it’s the phone that made us forget about the Galaxy S24 Ultra. After a great review, we were set to place the S24 Ultra at the top of the Samsung pile and call it good for another year. Then, the Galaxy S24 Plus dropped into our lives.

In short, it’s the S24 Ultra with all the “extras” carefully removed. Sure, you don’t get the Ultra’s S Pen or periscope zoom lens, but did you really need those? Because what you get for a full $300 less is the same high-speed Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor, the same 1440p AMOLED display with a 1-120Hz dynamic refresh rate, and 45W charging speeds. Yes, you’re taking a hit in the battery and screen size departments, but these decreases are absolutely tiny, as you’ll lose 0.1 of an inch from the screen’s diagonal measurement and 100mAh of a 5,000mAh battery. It’s so small a change as to be unnoticeable, and the same applies to the camera too. The S24 Plus doesn’t have the sky-high megapixel counts of its bigger sibling, but it doesn’t need them, as it delivers fantastic results each time.

You can get more from the S24 Ultra, that’s for sure — but are those extras really worth $300 to you? That’s a question only you can answer, of course. But as far as we’re concerned, the S24 Plus is phenomenal value for the money and simply the best Samsung Galaxy S this year.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

Someone holding the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra and the Galaxy S23 Ultra.
The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra (left) and S23 Ultra Joe Maring / Digital Trends

It’s all too easy to forget about yesterday’s toys when that new model is sitting right there, but it’s worth remembering that “new” doesn’t always mean “better.”

OK, so it kind of does, and yes, the S24 Ultra is technically better, but the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is still an incredible phone. Compared with the newer model, the differences are barely noticeable and can only be pinpointed by diving into the spec sheets. The older model is a gram lighter, has a handful fewer pixels in the display, and has a slightly older processor. It’s still a beefy, premium-feeling brick, with a gorgeous display and a transcendent amount of processing grunt hidden beneath a gorgeous design.

The S24 Ultra has Galaxy AI as its new headline feature, but honestly, you can drop that without worrying too much about it. The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is still a heck of a lot of smartphone, and as a bonus, it actually has a little bit more than the newer model. Remember the S24 Ultra’s 5x periscope zoom lens? The S23 Ultra has a 10x zoom lens, which is hilariously so extra when you look back at it. Who needs that? No one, which is why Samsung dropped it. But that’s the whole reason why the Ultra line exists, and we should celebrate when it turns the dial to 11. Buy the Galaxy S23 Ultra instead, and grab a nice discount for almost the same phone.

OnePlus 12

OnePlus 12 Flowy Emerald leaning on a park bench.
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

The OnePlus 12 isn’t a flagship killer (that’s the OnePlus 12R), but there’s a strong argument it’s a Galaxy S24 Ultra killer.

OnePlus made a name for itself by focusing on the raw specs and cutting out as many extraneous features as possible — and in that sense, it’s the ideological opposite of the S24 Ultra, as the specs, not the special features, are the reason to buy this phone. It’s powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, giving it the same big brain as the S24 Ultra, but then OnePlus threw in up to 512GB of storage and a truly ludicrous up to 16GB of RAM. Backing that up is a 1Hz to 120Hz refresh rate on a 1440p display that’s just as big as the S24 Ultra’s. This phone can easily trade punches with the brawny Ultra and stay standing round after round. It’s even a faster charger, thanks to the blindingly fast 80-watt charging speed.

The camera isn’t as good, but it’s still a solid shooter, and it’s easily balanced out by the vast gulf in price. The OnePlus 12 starts at $800, an incredible $500 difference in price. Granted, that’s for the base 256GB model with 12GB of RAM, but that’s equal to the specs offered by the basic S24 Ultra, so it evens out. If you want a big phone with big specs, then grab the OnePlus 12 and save a bucketful of cash.

Google Pixel 8 Pro

Someone holding the Google Pixel 8 Pro in front of a colorful mural.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Google’s Pixel line isn’t as common as Samsung’s Galaxy, but it’s made a strong reputation for itself, and for some very good reasons.

In previous years, we’d have immediately plugged the Google Pixel phone as the best camera phone, but this year, the Galaxy S24 Ultra has taken a shocking win in our S24 Ultra vs. Pixel 8 Pro camera comparison. But even with that in mind, there are still many great reasons to pick the Google Pixel 8 Pro over Samsung’s huge smartphone. The camera system is still incredible and takes shots with superior real-life colors, eschewing the vibrant saturation Samsung tends to opt for in its cameras. While the wide-angle and telephoto shots aren’t as strong as Samsung’s, it would be a mistake to think the Pixel 8 Pro doesn’t have an incredible camera system.

That’s not all Google’s biggest new phone has going for it. It’s a similar size to the S24 Ultra, so you’re not missing out in that department, and it has similar display specs, too, including the 120Hz dynamic refresh rate. The Google-made Tensor G3 processor is powerful and fast, and it even has similar AI features to the S24 Ultra — because Google did it first.

The battery life falters a little bit, offering only a single day per charge, but the Pixel’s version of Android makes up for that with a super-clean interface and useful features that don’t bulk up the phone. While we love One UI on the S24 Ultra, there’s no doubt that there’s a lot of extra stuff thrown in there, and purists will love what Google offers.

The final point is the price. The Pixel 8 Pro is a big phone with similar power, camera systems, and features to the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra, but it does it at a much lower price. The Google Pixel 8 Pro starts from $999, a full $300 less than the S24 Ultra, and upgrading to 256GB of storage (putting it on par with the Ultra) will cost $1,059 — still well below what you’ll pay for Samsung’s latest.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 half folded on a showcase.
Prakhar Khanna / Digital Trends

A strong reason to buy the S24 Ultra is because it provides the cutting edge of smartphone tech with extremely powerful specs, a very impressive camera, and almost the most advanced display money can buy. Why almost? Because the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 exists, and if you’re already spending at least $1,300 on a smartphone, why not go all-in and buy the most cutting-edge device instead?

In terms of specs, it’s similar to the S24 Ultra, even if it’s not quite as powerful. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is a stellar chip with more power than you’re ever likely to need, and the camera is still excellent. But we all know what the real draw here is: the folding screen. The 7.6-inch inner display has the same refresh rate as the S24 Ultra while offering almost twice the width. When using such a large tablet-like screen isn’t feasible, there’s also a 6.2-inch display on the outside.

Unlike most of the options on this list, the Z Fold 5 is more expensive than the S24 Ultra, with prices starting at $1,799. But when you’re looking to pay an already large amount of money on the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra and clearly want to get a bit extra, why not go a little bit further and really shoot for the stars?

Editors’ Recommendations






How to stop spam texts on iPhone and Android phones | Digital Trends

How to stop spam texts on iPhone and Android phones | Digital Trends

Everyone from legitimate marketers to outright scammers wants to get your attention these days. With a mobile phone in nearly every pocket, many of these have turned to SMS text messages as a way to extend their reach. After all, it’s a fast means of communication that’s much more likely to be noticed than traditional email messages. Plus, there aren’t nearly as many spam filtering solutions available for dealing with text messages, making them ripe for abuse. Here, we explore your options for reducing spam, depending on your phone type.

Regardless of your smartphone platform of choice, the first rule of dealing with suspicious text messages is the same as for email: Don’t interact with them in any way. Don’t reply to a spam text, even if it seems like there’s a valid “opt-out” option, as you’ll just be confirming your existence. And definitely don’t click on any links in a text, as some of these can lead to sites that will try to install malware on your phone. Contrary to popular belief, smartphones aren’t immune to such things. Instead, check out our guides below for ways in which you can deal with unwanted text messages.

Looking for tips on how to stop spam calls instead? See our guide on how to stop spam calls on iPhone and Android phones!


Joe Maring/Digital Trends

How to report spam texts on an iPhone

While it’s nearly impossible to avoid text message spam entirely, you can help cut down on it by reporting spam texts to your carrier and Apple. Thankfully, Apple has made this very easy to do in iOS 16 with a one-tap reporting feature. This can also be used to report the rare bit of text spam that comes through Apple’s iMessage service, but it’s best at helping you report SMS/MMS spam — as long as your carrier supports it. Here’s how to do this.

Step 1: Open the Messages app on your phone.

Step 2: Select a conversation that contains a spam text.

iPhone showing a spam text with the Report Junk option.

Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

Step 3: Select the blue Report Junk link below the most recent message. As long as your carrier supports it, this should appear for any conversation for which the sender is not in your contact list, and to which you have not replied.

iPhone showing the prompt in Messages to Delete and Report Junk.

Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

Step 4: Select Delete and Report Junk from the pop-up that appears at the bottom of your screen.

*Note that this does not automatically prevent future spam texts from this messager, but you can block the number manually. We’ll explain how to do that in the next section. *

How to block spam texts on an iPhone

You can block any number to prevent text messages from that number from getting through to your phone. Spam texts often come from a wide assortment of seemingly random numbers, so it probably isn’t worth your time to block every single one, but this can be handy if a large number of unwanted texts are coming in from the same number.

Step 1: Open the Messages app on your phone.

Step 2: Select a conversation that contains a spam text.

Example of a spam message in iPhone Messages app.

Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

Step 3: Select the icon with the number at the top of the conversation.

Example of a spam message in iPhone Messages app.

Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

Step 4: Select the Info button from the card that appears.

Option to block caller in iPhone Messages app.

Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

Step 5: Select Block this Caller at the bottom of the next screen.


Block Contact confirmation in iPhone Messages app.

Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

Step 6: From the pop-up that appears, select Block Contact to confirm.

This will block both texts and phone calls from the selected number — including FaceTime audio and video calls. Incoming cellular calls will be sent to voicemail, FaceTime calls will be ignored, and texts will be silently discarded. Note that texts coming in from a blocked number cannot be recovered even if you later unblock the number.


You can view and manage your list of blocked contacts in the iPhone Settings app under Messages > Blocked Contacts.

How to filter spam messages on iPhone

You can automatically filter out messages from unknown senders — those not in your contacts list. Filtered messages will still appear in the Messages app, but they’ll be grouped into their own folder. You can also disable notifications for messages from unknown senders so they won’t disturb you or light up a badge on your Messages app icon. Here’s how to set this up:

Step 1: Open the Settings app on your iPhone.

iPhone showing Messages options in Settings app.

Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

Step 2: Scroll down and select Messages.

iPhone showing Filter Unknown Senders switch in Messages settings.

Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

Step 3: Scroll down and find Filter Unknown Senders and select the switch to toggle it on.

iPhone showing Messages settings screen.

Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

Step 4: To also disable notifications for messages from unknown senders, scroll back up and select Notifications near the top of the Messages settings.

iPhone showing how to Customize Notifications for Messages.

Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

Step 5: Select Customize Notifications at the bottom.

iPhone showing option to disable message notifications for unknown senders.

Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

Step 6: Toggle Unknown Senders off. Note that this setting only applies to notifications on your iPhone; you’ll need to turn it on separately on your iPad or Mac if you’re syncing your text messages to those devices.

Step 7: Once you’ve enabled the option to Filter Unknown Senders, a new Filters option will appear in the top-left corner of the conversation view in the Messages app. Selecting this will allow you to choose between viewing all messages or filtering the list by either known or unknown senders. There are also options here to filter by unread messages and view recently deleted conversations.

Two iPhones showing how to permanently delete a conversation in the Messages app.

Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

Step 8: Note that Apple considers any active conversation you’ve replied to as coming from a known sender, even if the number isn’t listed in your contacts. If you’ve replied to a spam text and want to revert that number to being treated as an unknown sender, you’ll need to permanently delete the conversation: 


  1. In the Messages app, swipe to the left on the conversation you would like to delete and continue swiping until you feel some haptic feedback and see the red banner expand all the way across the screen.
  2. Select Delete from the pop-up that appears.
  3. Select Filters from the top-left corner.
  4. Select Recently Deleted.
  5. Choose the conversation you just deleted. A blue checkmark should appear on the left side to indicate it’s selected.
  6. Select Delete from the bottom-left corner.
  7. Choose Delete Message to confirm.
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra next to the Google Pixel 7 Pro.

Joe Maring/Digital Trends

How to block spam texts on Android via Google Messages

Blocking spam texts on Android can be trickier since just about every handset maker has its own take on the operating system, which often includes its own app for handling text messages. Thankfully, the most popular smartphone makers have more recently standardized on Google Messages. Here’s how to block spam there:

Step 1: Open the Messages by Google app on your phone.

Step 2: Select your profile picture or initials in the top-right corner.

How to access setting in Google Messages.

Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

Step 3: Select Messages settings.

Google Messages Spam Protection option in Settings.

Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

Step 4: Scroll down and select Spam protection.

Google Messages Enable Spam Protection Setting.

Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

Step 5: Select the toggle beside Enable spam protection to turn it on.

Messages that are identified as spam will go into a Spam & blocked folder that can be accessed from the three-line hamburger menu in the top-left corner of the Messages app (the one with three lines on top of each other).

How to report spam texts on Android

Unfortunately, enabling spam protection for the first time won’t scan your existing messages, meaning any messages you’ve already received will remain exactly where they are. However, you can manually report these as spam. Further, since Google’s algorithms aren’t perfect, some spam messages will slip through. Manual reporting will move these to the spam filter and help train your phone to better recognize similar patterns in the future. Here’s how to do this.

Step 1: Open a spam message in the Messages app on your phone.

Report spam banner in Google Messages.

Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

Step 2: Select Report spam.

Report spam confirmation in Google Messages.

Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

Step 3: Select the box beside Block to block the number permanently as well.

Step 4: Choose the Report spam button.

Banner for a blocked number in Google Messages.

Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

Step 5: Select the back arrow in the top-left corner to return to your message list. The reported conversation will no longer appear on the main list since it’s been moved to the “Spam & blocked” folder.

Step 6: You can also report a message as spam without opening it by long-selecting it in the Messages app and choosing the Block option from the three-dot menu in the top-right corner. This shows a pop-up box with the opposite behavior of the Report spam option; it blocks the message by default, with a separate checkbox to optionally report it as spam.

Close up detail of a man iMessaging on an iPhone.

Neil Godwin / Future/Getty Images

Other tools for stopping spam texts

Apple and Google both provide “hooks” in their messaging platforms that allow third-party apps to scan your incoming text messages to try to determine if they’re spam before passing them on to your phone. As a result, a number of developers have taken up the challenge of trying to build better anti-spam filtering than what Apple and Google’s messaging apps offer on their own.

These range from dedicated apps like Truecaller to more full-featured security suites like Malwarebytes for iPhone or Android.

If you opt for a third-party app, be sure to read the company’s privacy policies very carefully. By necessity, these apps need to scan your text messages to do their job, and that’s usually done by sending copies of the messages from your device to that company’s servers. Thankfully, Apple and Google offer some protections against this turning into a free-for-all on your messaging data, such as only allowing access to messages from unknown senders, but there are still privacy trade-offs with any of these apps, and some apps require that you expose more of your data, such as uploading your entire contact list to their servers.

Blocking a number sending spam SMS on a phone.

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

How to identify a spam text

Traditional spam texts are usually pretty easy to spot, as they’re typically trying to sell you something. These are also fairly easy to ignore, but of course, the reporting and blocking options we explained above will help you filter out some of the noise.

Sadly, there’s a more insidious category of spam texts that fall more into the category of scams. These are most commonly used for phishing attacks designed to steal your passwords or make you give up other personal information. They’re often disguised as alerts from your bank or other financial institution, a government agency such as the IRS, or even just an online service like Amazon, Google, Facebook, or Apple’s iCloud. They can also appear in other forms such as job offers. Some of these phishing scams can even be used to install malware on your phone.

In every case, these messages should be considered highly suspect and treated with extreme caution. Do NOT click on any links in these messages, as they’ll usually just lead you to a fake website that looks just real enough to convince you to enter a password or credit card number to “confirm your identity.” If you’re worried one of your online accounts may be compromised, open a separate browser window and visit it directly by typing in the address rather than clicking on a link in an email or text message.

There’s another category of spam/scam texts that have been making the rounds in recent years that may seem much more innocuous on the surface. Rather than offering up links or alerts, these are incoming messages are phrased in such a way to make you think somebody simply sent a text to your number by mistake. They can begin with everything from a simple greeting to a message that looks like it’s following up on a referral or another conversation, such as the examples shown in the screenshots above about a “golfing party tomorrow” or “a pet dog for sale.”

These are almost never real texts. Instead, they’re designed to draw the recipient in to a conversation with a scammer as a form of “social engineering” attack. Many folks will be tempted to respond either out of curiosity or a genuine desire to be helpful by letting the person know they have the wrong number. The scammer will then try to engage you with some friendly banter that will ultimately lead to a request for some kind of help that will involve clicking a link they provide or sending them some money.

It’s usually easy to recognize these messages by the numbers they come from — folks in South Carolina or San Bernardino aren’t likely to be legitimately mistyping a Toronto number asking about a pet dog for sale or announcing a golfing party.

Editors’ Recommendations






Are Kindle books free? How to read on your Kindle for free | Digital Trends

Are Kindle books free? How to read on your Kindle for free | Digital Trends

While real books still hold a special place in our hearts, there’s no denying an Amazon Kindle is an exceptional piece of kit. Whether it’s simply to save yourself some shelf space (or avoid buying a new bookshelf), to read in the dark, or to give you a lightweight way to travel while carrying lots and lots of books, no avid reader should really be without a Kindle. Best of all, unlike physical books, it’s not too hard to find Kindle books for free.

We have a list of some of the best free Kindle books you can get, but it’s not a comprehensive guide, and you might be looking for something more to your tastes. As such, here are a number of ways you can find free books for your Kindle, from the most simple to the more complex.

Kindle Paperwhite on top of Kindle Scribe

Joe Maring/Digital Trends

How to get free Kindle books on Amazon

Surprisingly, Amazon is the easiest place to get free Kindle books. Yes, there are plenty of free books on Amazon, with available titles including older works that are in the public domain now, as well as first entries from a series that entice you to buy the rest to finish the story. If that sounds good to you, getting hold of these books couldn’t be simpler.

Step 1: Open up the Amazon website or app, and search for “free Kindle books”.

Step 2: Find one you like.

Step 3: Select Buy now with 1-click.

How to get free Kindle books from your library

Did you know you can get Kindle books from your library for absolutely nothing? Libby is a free service that lends out digital library books from across the U.S., and if you’re in the States, it can send them straight to your Kindle as well. All you need in order to get started is a library card.

Step 1: Start by downloading the Libby app for Android or iOS.

Libby App iOS

Michael Archambault/Digital Trends

Step 2: Open the app and complete the sign-up process by finding your library and entering your library card number.

Step 3: Now, you’ll be able to browse your library’s selection in the app. Select a title to borrow.

Step 4: Head to your Shelf > Loans to find your chosen title.

Step 5: Select Read with > Kindle.

Step 6: If you haven’t linked accounts already, you’ll be sent to an Amazon page to sign in.

Step 7: Sign in and choose the Kindle device the book is to be sent to.

Step 8: Finally, choose Get library book to have the book sent to your device.

How to get free Kindle books with Amazon Prime

Did you know an Amazon Prime membership also gives you access to thousands of books through

? While you technically pay a subscription for access to Prime Reading, if you’re paying for Amazon Prime anyway, Prime Reading is a handy bonus.

Prime Reading gives you access to unlimited access to a catalog of books, audiobooks, comics, and magazines at no extra charge. It also comes with a free book every month for a prerelease title. It’s a great deal and one that many people forget they have.

Step 1: To find your Prime Reading options, open the Amazon app or head to the Amazon site.

Step 2: Open the menu (in the bottom right of the app), and select Prime > Prime Reading.

Step 3: On the website, you’ll need to select All > Kindle e-readers & books > Prime Reading.

Step 4: From here, you can use the search bar to search just within Prime Reading, or you can browse the main page’s selection.

Step 5: Once you find an option you like, select it and choose Add to library.

How to get free Kindle books with Project Gutenberg

The final option can be applied to a number of websites that offer free digital books, but as Project Gutenberg is the most well-known, we’ve chosen to highlight this one.

Project Gutenberg is an enormous repository of some of the most famous books in the world, all of which have fallen into the public domain. As such, you can grab them and read them for absolutely nothing. You’ll need to send each book to your Kindle, but that’s not too difficult; here’s how it’s done.

Step 1: Head to the Project Gutenberg website on your phone or PC.

Step 2: Search for or browse until you find a title you want.

Step 3: In the downloads of your chosen title, select one of the downloads. Select a file marked EPUB or Kindle.

Step 4: Once you have the file, head to the Content and devices page of your Amazon account, then select Devices.

Step 5: Find your Kindle, and copy its individual email address.

Step 6: Open your email app (or website), insert your Kindle’s email address, and attach the file for your new book. Send it, and it’ll be sent to your Kindle.

Editors’ Recommendations






How to use wireless charging on your Samsung phone | Digital Trends

How to use wireless charging on your Samsung phone | Digital Trends

Today’s Samsung devices, including the latest Galaxy phones, Samsung smartwatches, and even compatible Samsung earbuds, all work with wireless charging. Place your device down on the right pad, and it’ll charge up all on its own. That saves time and wear and tear on your cables — but it’s important to know how it works first. Our guide will go over all the basics so you’re ready for every kind of Samsung wireless charging.


Image used with permission by copyright holder

Wireless charging basics

If you’re primarily interested in the nuts and bolts of wireless charging, here’s how to get started.

Step 1: Make sure you have a compatible Samsung device. For phones, that means have either a Galaxy S6 or newer, a Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy Note 8, or newer, or a Galaxy Z Flip or Fold model. Galaxy A series devices are not compatible.

For smartwatches, you’ll need the Galaxy Watch 3 or newer.

For earbuds, the Galaxy Buds, Buds 2, Buds+, Buds Live, and Buds Pro all work with wireless chargers.

Step 2: Get a compatible wireless charger. Samsung’s devices use the common Qi standard, so most any wireless charger you find should work. However, newer chargers are more likely to support faster charging speeds. You can also get chargers that can charge multiple devices at once, like the Charger Trio, in order to charge a Samsung phone, watch, and earbuds at the same time.

Step 3: Plug your charging pad in, and place your Samsung device on top of it with the back facing the charger. When the charger has connected with the device, it should turn on an indicator light. You may have to reposition the device until this indicator light comes on.

how to use wireless charger samsung indicator light

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Step 4: Wait for the device to charge. While chargers vary, a steady red or blue indicator light usually means something is still charging, and a green light means a device has finished charging.

anker mago magsafe charger battery useful magnetic wireless maggo use

Anker Innovations

Helpful tips for wireless charging

Wireless charging is simple, but there are a few things everyone should know to make the process as smooth as possible.

Step 1: Wireless charging can work through cases … but not all of them. Thinner cases will allow wireless charging to work, although you may need to double-check that the positioning above the charging coil is correct. Thicker cases can run into problems, especially thick leather cases or similar materials. These can block wireless chargers from working until you take them off. Cases should specifically say that they are compatible with wireless charging. We have guides to our favorite cases where you can find more options.

Step 2: Wireless chargers generally stay in one spot, which means you need to spend some time picking the right spot to fit your daily habits. Some prefer chargers at their bedside, where devices can recharge while they sleep. Others prefer them on desks or in offices where devices can charge while they work. Sometimes a central location on a counter or an entryway shelf is ideal.

Step 3: If you are charging at your bedside, be wary of bright indicator lights. Some indicator LEDs are more or less unobtrusive, but others are bright and could be annoying if you’re trying to sleep. If it’s too late to get another charger, you can always cover the indicator with a piece of tape to remove the annoyance.

Step 4: The wattage of the charger indicates how fast it can charge devices. Currently, you’ll want around 10W to 15W on your wireless charger for the fastest possible charging speeds. Note that for multi-device chargers, the wattage will typically be divided among different charging coils, so those numbers will naturally be higher.

how to use wireless charger samsung powershare in action

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Use Samsung’s Wireless PowerShare to help charge your accessories

You can’t be near a wireless charger all the time, but there’s another solution for that. You can find Wireless PowerShare on most newer Samsung devices. It allows those devices to act as remote wireless chargers for other devices. That means you can charge wirelessly on the go for your device or a friend’s device that’s running low. Here’s how to enable it.

Step 1: Check your battery. Your Samsung phone should be charged to at least 30% or more before using Wireless PowerShare.

Step 2: Swipe down from the top of the screen to open up Quick settings. Then swipe down again. You should see an option to turn on Wireless PowerShare with the icon of a battery and arrow. Select it.

If you don’t see this icon, check that your Samsung phone is up to date. Head into the Quick settings customization to manually add it. You can find this in More options, the three vertical dots in the Quick settings menu.

how to use wireless charger samsung powershare option

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Step 3: Place the device you want to charge on the back of the Wireless PowerShare phone within 60 seconds of turning PowerShare on (again, thick cases may prevent this feature from working). PowerShare works with most Qi-compatible devices, so it doesn’t matter if the other device is Samsung or not. You can even charge other phones this way.

Editors’ Recommendations






The most common Apple Watch problems (and how to fix them) | Digital Trends

The most common Apple Watch problems (and how to fix them) | Digital Trends

The Apple Watch is one of the most popular and feature-packed wearables out there. A godsend for iOS users, the Apple Watch pairs to your iPhone to keep you up-to-date on everything from text message and notifications to health monitoring. Once in a while though, your Apple Watch may run into glitches and bugs that complicate your user experience.

Whether you’re having issues connecting to your iPhone, receiving notifications, or you can’t seem to transact with Apple Pay, we’ve put together this list of some of the most common Apple Watch problems, with solutions and troubleshooting tips provided for each debacle.


Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends / Digital Trends

Restart your Apple Watch

Before we get into the list of more specific Apple Watch problems and their possible solutions, there are a couple of things you should try right off the bat. Firstly, restart your Apple Watch. It may sound like a cliché, but many odd behaviors are indeed solved by a simple reboot. Here’s how to do that.

Step 1: Ensure your Apple Watch is not on its charger, and hold down the side button until a screen appears with the Medical ID and Emergency SOS sliders.

Step 2: If your device is using watchOS 10 or newer, you should see a power button in the top-right corner. Select this, and a Power Off slider should appear.

If your device is using watchOS 8 or older, you’ll see the Power Off slider on the first screen above the Medical ID slider.

Step 3: Select the white button to the left of Power Off and drag it to the right. Your Apple Watch should power off.

Step 4: Wait at least 10 seconds to ensure your watch has fully shut down, and then press and hold the side button again until the Apple logo appears. Then release it and wait for your Apple Watch to finish starting back up.

If your Apple Watch fails to start up or won’t turn on, you can force-restart it by holding the side and Digital Crown buttons down together for 10 seconds until the Apple logo appears. This also works to reboot your watch in the event that an app is hung or it’s otherwise become unresponsive.

Checking for watchOS updates on an Apple Watch and iPhone.

Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends / Digital Trends

Ensure your Apple Watch software is up to date

The second common step is to make sure that your Apple Watch is running the latest official release of watchOS. Apple routinely fixes problems in even the most seemingly minor updates, so it’s possible that whatever problem you’re running into has already been fixed, and you just need to apply the update to take advantage of that.

While it’s true that your Apple Watch should install updates automatically (unless you’ve explicitly turned this setting off), those automatic updates can sometimes take days or even weeks to appear. Checking manually is the surefire way to get the latest updates as soon as possible. You can do this from your Apple Watch or your iPhone. Here’s how.

Step 1: To check for watchOS updates from your Apple Watch, open the Settings app and select General > Software Update.

To check for watchOS updates from your iPhone, open the Watch app and select General > Software Update.

Step 2: Your device will reach out to Apple’s servers to see if any updates are pending. If one is found, you can install it by selecting Download & Install. Otherwise, you’ll be advised that your Apple Watch is up to date.

Checking the watchOS version on an Apple Watch.

Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends / Digital Trends

Step 3: If you’re checking for updates from the Watch app on your iPhone, you’ll also be shown the version of watchOS that’s installed on your wearable. If you’re doing this from your Apple Watch, you’ll merely be told that your device is up to date. If you’re curious, you can find out what version you’re using by selecting General > About from the watch’s Settings app.

Note that only the Apple Watch Series 4 and newer can be updated to watchOS 10. If you’re still using an Apple Watch Series 3, you won’t be able to move beyond the latest release of watchOS 8. That’s 8.8.1 as of this writing — and will probably continue to be the latest unless Apple discovers a critical security flaw in that version and needs to release a patch for it.

Three Apple Watches showing software update screens.

Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

Apple Watch won’t update

If you run into problems updating your Apple Watch to the latest version of watchOS, try restarting both your Apple Watch and iPhone and trying to run the update again. If the Apple Watch still fails to update, it’s likely the result of a botched download attempt. Here’s how to clear that out so you can download a fresh version of the watchOS updater.

Step 1: On your iPhone, open the Watch app.

Step 2: Select General from the My Watch tab.

Step 3: Scroll down and select Storage. After a few seconds, you should see a list of what’s taking up space on your Apple Watch.

Step 4: Look for the entry for the watchOS update, select it, and choose Delete to remove it from your Apple Watch storage.

Also, remember that while you can download a watchOS update at any time as long as your iPhone is in range of your Apple Watch and connected to Wi-Fi, the update won’t actually install until your Apple Watch is charged to at least 50% and sitting on its charger.

The Apple Watch SE 2 on charge.

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Apple Watch is stuck in power reserve or won’t charge

If your Apple Watch isn’t charging when you connect it to its magnetic charger, there are a few things you can try before taking it in for service.

Step 1: Try charging with the official Apple Magnetic Charging cable that came with your Apple Watch and confirm that it’s connected properly to the USB power adapter and outlet.

Step 2: Clean the back of your Apple Watch and the top of the magnetic charger to ensure there’s nothing interfering with the magnetic contact. Also, make sure you’ve removed the plastic wrap from both sides of the charging disc.

Step 3: If your Apple Watch still isn’t charging, try force-restarting it by holding down the side button and the Digital Crown for 10 seconds until the Apple logo appears.

Note that if your Apple Watch battery has dropped low enough that it won’t even light up in Power Reserve mode, you may have to wait a few minutes before the green lightning bolt appears on the watch face to confirm it’s charging.

how to unlock mac with apple watch passcode

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Apple Watch repeatedly asking for passcode

You may sometimes find your Apple Watch repeatedly asking you to enter its passcode. It’s not entirely clear what causes this issue, but ensuring the following settings are enabled and changing your passcode can help resolve it.

Step 1: Open the Watch app on your iPhone and select Passcode from the My Watch tab.

Step 2: Ensure that Wrist Detection and Unlock with iPhone are both enabled.

Step 3: Select Change Passcode and follow the instructions to set a new passcode on your Apple Watch.

Step 4: Make sure that your Apple Watch fits snugly on your wrist, with the back in contact with your skin at all times — not worn over clothing. The Wrist Detection feature relies on skin contact to keep your Apple Watch unlocked, so if your Apple Watch can’t detect your wrist, it will require a passcode every time you want to use it, just like when you’re not wearing it.

Apple Watch Series 7 on wrist.

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Apple Watch doesn’t turn on when wrist is raised

If your Apple Watch isn’t lighting up properly when raising your wrist — either staying blank or showing the dimmed always-on display — here are a few things you can check.

Step 1: Ensure that the Wake on Wrist Raise setting is enabled. You can find this under Display & Brightness in either the iPhone Watch app or the Apple Watch Settings app. If this is already on, try toggling it off and back on again to reset it.

Two Apple Watches showing setting for Wake on Wrist Raise.

Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

Step 2: Ensure your Apple Watch isn’t in Theater Mode. As the name suggests, this setting is designed to prevent your Apple Watch from inadvertently lighting up in a darkened theatre, which could distract those around you.

When Theater Mode is enabled, you should see a small orange icon at the top of your screen that looks like a pair of masks. To disable Theater Mode, tap on your watch screen or turn the Digital Crown to wake it up, then press the side button to bring up the Control Center (for watchOS 9 or older, swipe up from the bottom to bring up the Control Center)

Two Apple Watches showing Theater Mode settings.

Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

Music controls on the Apple Watch Series 7.

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Bluetooth won’t connect or frequently disconnects

If you’re having problems connecting your Apple Watch to a Bluetooth device such as headphones or a fitness accessory, or if your Apple Watch frequently disconnects from your iPhone, here are a few things you can try to get it working again.

Step 1: Firstly, proximity matters for Bluetooth, and some devices may be more sensitive to that than others. Some people have reported better performance simply by switching the device they’re using to the same side of their body as the Apple Watch. You could also try switching your Apple Watch to the other wrist. Such a small change in distance shouldn’t make a difference, but some devices can be finicky, so it’s worth a try.

Two Apple Watches showing Bluetooth settings screens.

Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

Step 2: Toggle Bluetooth off and back on again on your Apple Watch. This can be found in the Bluetooth section in the Settings app.

Step 3: If the issue is with Bluetooth headphones and music streaming, syncing your playlist onto your Apple Watch and turning off Bluetooth on your iPhone might help. This avoids extra Bluetooth interference and may allow your music to play seamlessly without annoying disconnections.

First, try toggling the Bluetooth off using the icon in the iPhone’s Control Center, accessed by swiping down from the top-right corner of your iPhone screen. This disables Bluetooth connections from your iPhone to devices like headphones but leaves Bluetooth enabled for communicating with your Apple Watch, so you’ll still be able to connect to the internet and receive notifications from your iPhone.

If that doesn’t help, try switching the Bluetooth radio off entirely on your iPhone by going to the Settings app, selecting Bluetooth, and toggling it off. This will disconnect your Apple Watch from your iPhone, but you can still listen to the music stored on your watch and any workout data will be synced to your iPhone once you re-enable Bluetooth at the end of your run.

Data from a workout showing on the screen of the Apple Watch Series 8.
Apple Watch Series 8

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Apple Watch isn’t tracking activity

Sometimes your Apple Watch won’t properly track your workouts. This can take several forms, such as inaccurate or missing workout metrics, not having your routes tracked, or workout data from your Apple Watch failing to appear on your iPhone.

Step 1: If your workout data is accurate on your Apple Watch but isn’t appearing properly on your iPhone, ensure that Bluetooth is enabled under Settings > Bluetooth on both the iPhone and Apple Watch, and try restarting both devices to see if things sync up.

Step 2: If you’re getting inaccurate readings for things like calories burned or heart rate, make sure your Apple Watch isn’t too loose on your wrist. Adjusting the band may help the watch better track your activity.

You can often see this problem by the heart rate indicator turning a faded grey during a workout, showing that your Apple Watch isn’t picking up your heart rate properly from your wrist. It’s not abnormal for this to happen occasionally during some workouts, but if it’s happening more frequently, it could indicate a problem with the fit of your Apple Watch, a bug in the watchOS software, or an issue with the physical heart rate sensor.

Apple Watch showing workout in progress when unable to read heart rate.

Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

Step 3: If workout data doesn’t seem accurate, your watch may need recalibrating. You can start this process by opening the Watch app on your iPhone, selecting Privacy > Reset Calibration Data, and following the calibration instructions.

Step 4: Ensure your personal information, such as height and weight, are up to date. The Apple Watch uses this data to calculate things like calories burned, so while it won’t stop your Apple Watch from tracking your workouts, the data you get may not be as accurate if this information is out of date.

You can check this by opening the Watch app on your iPhone and selecting Health > Health Details. If anything needs to be changed, select the Edit button in the top-right corner and make any necessary updates. This includes adding any medications you’re taking that could affect your heart rate.

Step 5: If your walking or running routes aren’t being tracked properly, ensure that location services are enabled under Privacy & Security > Location Services in your iPhone Settings app. Both Apple Watch Faces and Apple Watch Workout should be set to While Using with Precise Location toggled on.

Also, be sure you’re using the Outdoor version of walking or running workouts, as the GPS on your Apple Watch doesn’t kick in for indoor workouts.

Notifications on an Apple Watch Series 8.

Joe Maring/Digital Trends

Notifications don’t appear on Apple Watch

If notifications aren’t appearing on your Apple Watch the way they should be, the most likely cause is that the Apple Watch is locked or a Focus Mode with a Do Not Disturb setting has been enabled. Here’s what you can check:

Step 1: You won’t receive notifications when your Apple Watch is locked with a passcode. If you’ve enabled Wrist Detection in Settings > Passcode, your Apple Watch will stay unlocked as long as you’re wearing it but will lock itself down as soon as it loses contact with your skin.

This means that it will start out locked every time you put it back on, so you won’t receive notifications until you’ve unlocked your watch, either by entering the passcode directly or unlocking your paired phone (if Unlock with iPhone is enabled under Settings > Passcode).

Note that if Wrist Detection is off, your Apple Watch will lock a few seconds after you stop interacting with it, blocking all notifications until you unlock it again.

Step 2: Your Apple Watch will mirror any Focus modes you’ve set on your paired iPhone, so if you’ve blocked notifications due to a Do Not Disturb or Quiet Time focus, this will also be reflected on the Apple Watch.

You can see if a Focus mode is enabled by looking for the appropriate icon at the top of your watch face, and you can disable (or enable) Focus modes by swiping up on the watch face to bring up the Control Center and looking for the Focus mode icon. If a Focus mode is enabled, it will match whatever you see at the top of your watch face.

Three Apple Watches showing Focus mode settings.

Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

Step 3: If you’re only missing notifications from certain apps, check to ensure those are enabled on your Apple Watch. These don’t always mirror your iPhone settings, so it’s good to take a quick trip into the Notifications section of your iPhone’s Watch app and confirm everything there is set up the way you prefer.

Three Apple Watches showing Find My Items and Find My Devices apps.

Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

Notify When Left Behind not available on Apple Watch

Some folks have complained that the Notify When Left Behind feature that was introduced with iOS 15 isn’t working on the Apple Watch. When trying to set it up, the option is greyed out, and they’re told that the feature isn’t available. This seems to occur most commonly with the Apple Watch Series 6, but it’s not exclusive to that model.

This is a software issue known to Apple, and it’s believed to have been fixed in later point releases of iOS 15 and watchOS 8, so your best bet is to ensure that both your iPhone and Apple Watch are running the latest official releases. If you continue experiencing problems, you can try the following:

Step 1: Close the Find My app and restart your iPhone and Apple Watch. Likewise, toggle Notify Left Behind off and then toggle it on again.

Step 2: Make sure you use the same Apple ID for your iPhone and Apple Watch. Notify When Left Behind alerts won’t work if your devices are signed in to different Apple ID accounts.

Step 3: On your iPhone, open the Settings app and choose Privacy & Security > Location Services. Make sure you have Location Services on and set to Allow While Using App for all of the “Apple Watch Find…” settings and that Precise Location is toggled on.

The Apple Watch SE 2 with its Earth watch face.

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends / Digital Trends

Apple Watch won’t connect to LTE

Following the release of the Apple Watch Series 3, the first LTE-capable model of the wearable, we saw more than a few reports of problems connecting to the cellular network. Apple has long since fixed this bug, which had to do with the hand-off between Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and LTE.

If you do run into this problem where your cellular Apple Watch refuses to connect to an LTE network, it’s most likely either a glitch with how your plan was provisioned on your Apple Watch or an issue on your carrier’s end.

Step 1: Try setting up your cellular plan again through the Watch app on your iPhone. Choose Cellular, select the i button to the right of your carrier name, and then choose Remove [carrier] Plan from the pop-up that appears at the bottom of your screen.

Once the plan has been removed, you can add it again by selecting Add a New Plan and following the instructions to reactivate it with your carrier.

Step 2: If that doesn’t resolve the issue, reach out to your mobile provider. We’ve seen reports, particularly from AT&T customers, that their LTE plan had to be reinitialized on the carrier’s end for things to start working properly again.

Stretching out the Solo Loop band on the Apple Watch Ultra.

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Skin beneath Apple Watch feels uncomfortable and itchy

For some folks, the area of skin that comes into direct contact with their Apple Watch’s sensors can become itchy and feel uncomfortable, especially after wearing it for an extended period of time. Some people have this problem with watches in general, but even those who have never encountered this with other watches may find the sensor points on the Apple Watch to be specifically irritating.

Unfortunately, this is usually a skin sensitivity issue, so there isn’t really a technical solution for it. However, there are a few ways to lessen its impact:

Step 1: Loosen the strap on your Apple Watch. Sometimes the issue can be caused by sweat becoming trapped between the skin and sensors, effectively lowering your skin’s ability to breathe. Loosen your strap a little, and the extra room will allow your skin to breathe a little better. This shouldn’t affect your Apple Watch’s sensors too much either as long as they remain in contact with the skin; they don’t need to be tight against your wrist, just touching it.

Step 2: Take a scheduled break from your Apple Watch every day. Give your watch time to recharge and your skin a chance to recover. If your symptoms are minor, just a little time off can stop it from becoming irritating. You may have to forego sleep tracking, or at least take a few nights off every week, but letting your wrist breathe at night can make a big difference.

A collection of Apple Watch bands.

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Step 3: You’re not stuck with the fluoroelastomer band that comes with the standard Apple Watch models, which, let’s face it, can be kind of irritating for longer periods of wear. One of the great things about the popularity of the Apple Watch is that there’s a massive selection of different bands and straps to choose from, so you may find that swapping it out for a band made from a more breathable material can help reduce skin irritation.

Apple Watch overheating

A few years ago, a number of Apple Watch SE owners shared reports that their wearables were getting extremely hot on their wrists. This was typically followed by physical damage to the watch’s screen.

We haven’t heard any reports of this recently. Still, if you run into a situation where your watch is heating up to the point of being uncomfortable, it’s best to take it off and let the battery run down — don’t put it on the charger, as that’s likely to exacerbate the problem. This is almost certain to be a hardware fault, so it’s best to take it to an Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider before you attempt to wear it again.

Low Power Mode on the Apple Watch Ultra.

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Poor battery life

Apple promises up to 18 hours of battery life for the Apple Watch, and while your mileage will vary on that one, a relatively new Apple Watch should still be able to get you through the day before you need to refuel.

Keep in mind that the lithium-ion batteries used in most modern electronics have a limited number of charge cycles. For the Apple Watch, that’s 500 full discharges and recharges. Once that number is reached, your battery capacity will slowly begin to drop. For most Apple Watch users, this works out to about two years of normal use before it becomes noticeable. So, if you’re still wearing an Apple Watch that’s more than two to three years old and your battery is no longer cutting it, you’ll likely need to either get the battery replaced or upgrade to a newer model.

Whether it’s new or old, here are a few things you can try to eke some longer battery life out of your Apple Watch:

Step 1: If you have a cellular Apple Watch model, be aware that using LTE drains the battery significantly faster. Using the Apple Watch on Wi-Fi is considerably better, but it will get the best battery life when you keep your iPhone nearby. Your iPhone has a much bigger battery, so your Apple Watch prefers to let it do the heavy lifting of handling power-hungry data communications.

If you regularly go out without your iPhone, disabling your cellular connection can make a big difference in battery life. You can easily toggle cellular off and on through the Control Center, accessed by swiping up from the bottom of the screen when viewing your watch face. Alternatively, take your iPhone with you whenever you can.

Step 2: If you have an Apple Watch Series 5 or later with an always-on display, you may be able to save a bit of power by toggling this off under Settings > Display & Brightness. The always-on display is designed to consume very little power, but if your Apple Watch is older and your battery is getting weak, every little bit helps.

Two Apple Watches showing settings for Always on Display and brightness controls.

Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

Step 3: While you’re in the Display & Brightness settings, try turning down the brightness of your display. Again, every bit of power conservation can help here.

Step 4: Similarly, toggling off Wake on Wrist Raise in the Display & Brightness settings will keep your display from turning on as frequently — especially if you move your wrist more often. When this setting is off, you’ll need to tap on the screen or move the Digital Crown to light it up.

Step 5: Opening the Watch app on your iPhone and selecting Notifications will let you review anything that might be needlessly coming to your wrist. Fewer notifications mean fewer haptics, sounds, and activation of the display. Plus, you’ll get more peace of mind by filtering out the things that aren’t really urgent enough to appear on your watch.

Step 6: If you’re running watchOS 10 or newer, you can enable Low Power Mode to automatically disable many of the more power-hungry background features all at once. This includes heart rate and blood oxygen measurements and notifications, the always-on display, and persistent Wi-Fi and cellular connections. This last part means you won’t receive notifications, messages, or even phone calls when your iPhone isn’t nearby, although you’ll still be able to connect to the internet when you open an app that requires a data connection.

You can enable Low Power Mode by swiping up to bring up the Control Center, selecting the battery percentage icon, and toggling the Low Power Mode switch. Scroll to the bottom and select either Turn On to switch it on until you manually toggle it off or Turn on For… to select a time interval of one, two, or three days.

Three Apple Watches showing steps to enable Low Power Mode.

Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

Step 7: You can also optimize battery life during workouts automatically by enabling Low Power Mode when you start a workout, and further reducing the number of GPS and heart rate readings taken during a running or hiking workout. You can find these options in Settings > Workouts on the Apple Watch or in the Workouts section of the iPhone Watch app. This feature requires an Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch SE (2022), or Apple Watch Ultra, running watchOS 9.1.

iPhone showing Workout Low Power settings in Watch app.

Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

Step 8: If you have an older Apple Watch, or you haven’t yet upgraded to watchOS 10, you’ll only have the option of putting your Apple Watch in Power Reserve mode. This effectively powers down the Apple Watch almost entirely, disabling all the advanced features and turning your smartwatch into a mere timepiece. However, it’s better than switching it off and being without a watch, and you can take the watch back out of Power Reserve when you need it to be a smartwatch again.

To enable Power Reserve mode manually, press your Apple Watch’s side button to bring up Control Center (or swipe up on the watch face for watchOS 9 or older)

Restore your Apple Watch to factory settings

While it’s a more drastic step, if all else fails, you can easily restore your Apple Watch back to factory settings and then re-pair it with your iPhone as if it were a new device. When you do this, you’ll have the option of restoring from your last backup or starting fresh.

Step 1: Open the Watch app on your iPhone.

iPhone showing My Watch view in Apple Watch app.

Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

Step 2: Select All Watches in the top-left corner of the “My Watch” screen.

iPhone showing All Watches view in Watch app.

Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

Step 3: Select the i button to the right of the watch you would like to unpair.

Step 4: Select Unpair Apple Watch at the bottom of the screen, and then select Unpair [your Apple Watch name] to confirm.

iPhone showing option to Keep or Remove Cellular plan when unpairing Apple Watch.

Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

Step 5: If you’re using a cellular Apple Watch, you’ll be asked whether you want to keep your cellular plan or remove it. In most cases, you should select Keep Cellular Plan as you’ll be setting this Apple Watch up again.

If you do opt to remove your plan, it will be disabled on the eSIM in your Apple Watch. Depending on your carrier, you may need to contact them to get it set up again. Note that removing your plan in this manner will not automatically cancel your subscription with your mobile provider.

iPhone showing prompt to enter Apple ID Password when unpairing Apple Watch.

Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

Step 6: When prompted, enter your Apple ID password and select Unpair. This additional security step confirms you’re authorizing the removal of the Apple Watch from your account and disables the Activation Lock and Find My Watch features.

Step 7: Your iPhone will create a new backup of your Apple Watch and then proceed to erase all content and settings from the wearable. This backup is stored on your iPhone and included in any backups you make from your iPhone to iCloud or your computer.

Apple Watch backups include most of the data and settings from your watch; however, for security reasons, credit and debit cards used for Apple Pay, Bluetooth pairings, and your Apple Watch passcode are not backed up, so you’ll need to set these up again.

Step 8: Once the process has finished, the Apple Watch should restart to the initial setup screen. Proceed to pair it with your iPhone as if it were a new Apple Watch.

If you’re setting it up with the same iPhone that you unpaired it from — or a new iPhone that you’ve transferred your data to — you’ll be offered the option to restore from a previous backup or set it up as a new device.

Depending on the problem you’re having, it may be a good idea to skip the backup and set it up as new to see if the issue recurs. If it does, you’ve likely run into a hardware or watchOS issue. However, if everything is okay, then you can follow the above steps to unpair your Apple Watch again and then restore it from your prior backup during setup.

Apple Watch Ultra laying on its side, showing the Digital Crown.

Joe Maring/Digital Trends / Digital Trends

Gunked-up buttons

While most of the Apple Watch UI is screen-based, the side-facing Digital Crown and side button are key parts of your user experience. If you’ve noticed your Digital Crown isn’t turning correctly, or you can’t seem to get the side button to react, you may be dealing with sticky components. Gunk and dirt buildup is no match for these steps though!

Step 1: Power down your Apple Watch and remove its band.

Step 2: Dab a Q-tip into isopropyl alcohol, then gently work the Q-tip into the grooves, seams, and surface of both the Digital Crown and the side button.

Step 3: Alternatively, you could use warm, running water; although the isopropyl alcohol has a better chance of breaking down tougher substances.

Step 4: Use the dry end of the Q-tip to sop up any excess liquid.

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