Documentation

Your guide to everything Workflow.

Using workflows from Apple Watch

Workflow comes bundled with an Apple Watch app for conveniently running your workflows right from your wrist. Workflows on your iPhone automatically sync with Apple Watch, and you can decide which workflows you’d like to show on your watch for easy access.

Workflow for Apple Watch supports a wide variety of tasks, including dictating or scribbling text, picking contacts and dates, fetching from the web, sharing, and more all from the watch itself. For parts of a workflow that aren’t supported on the watch, Workflow will silently run actions in the background on your iPhone, or handoff and finish running on your iPhone.

Workflow for Apple Watch also comes with a complication for launching workflows from your watch face. When it’s set up, you just raise your wrist and tap to run.

Accessing Workflow for Apple Watch

After adding Workflow to your Apple Watch, you can access it from the Home screen by placing it in your Dock, or by adding the Workflow Complication to one of your watch faces.

Adding the app to your watch

To add Workflow to your paired Apple Watch, open the Watch app on your iPhone. Scroll down and tap the section named “Workflow”, then turn on “Show App on Apple Watch”. It may take a few minutes for the app to install on your watch.

Opening the app on your watch

Raise your wrist and press the Digital Crown to access the Home screen. The watch face will minimize into your grid of apps, allowing you to pan around your apps and find Workflow. We recommend moving Workflow closer to the center of your Home screen so it’s easier to find. Tap the Workflow icon and the app will open to the My Workflows screen, which shows all the workflows from your iPhone that have the “Apple Watch” type enabled (more on this later).

When you tap on a workflow, it will start running right away. The workflow will show as a progress bar, while the icon turns into a stop while the workflow is running and then into a checkmark when the workflow successfully completes. Tap the stop button to halt the workflow while it’s running. When the workflow completes, tap “Done” to go back to My Workflows.

Note

By default, you will receive haptic feedback when a workflow begins or finishes running on Apple Watch. You can turn off haptic feedback in the Watch app on your iPhone by navigating to the “Workflow” section and turning off “Play Haptic Feedback”.

We’ve also included a small sample from our Gallery in the watch app. From the main screen of Workflow for Apple Watch, swipe right to access the Gallery and browse some example workflows. Tap a workflow to preview it, then tap “Get Workflow” to save it. The workflow will be available to use on both your Apple Watch and iPhone.

Putting Workflow in your Dock

Pressing the elongated side button on your Apple Watch brings you to the Dock, a way of quickly switching between apps. Swipe or rotate the Digital Crown to scroll through the apps in the Dock.

You can place the Workflow app in the Dock for easy access. To do so, press the side button while you’re viewing Workflow and locate the app on the far right side of the Dock under “Recent.” A button to “Keep in Dock” will pop up after a moment, allowing you to add Workflow to the Dock.

You can reorder the apps in the Dock by tapping and holding on one. The app will pop out of the list so you can drag it left or right. If you use Workflow frequently, try placing it on the far left. Then when you want to open Workflow, just press the side button to open the Dock and rotate the Digital Crown to find the app.

Adding the Workflow Complication to your watch face

You can place Workflow on one of your watch faces as a small widget called a “complication”. With the Workflow Complication, you just raise your wrist and tap a workflow straight from your watch face to run it.

To add the Workflow Complication, raise your wrist and press firmly on the watch face, then tap “Customize.” Swipe to the far right page to edit your complications. Tap one of the available slots and rotate the Digital Crown until Workflow occupies the spot. Finally, press the Digital Crown to confirm the change.

Note

Each watch face has a different arrangement of complications of various shapes (icon only) and sizes (some show multiple lines. Some faces do not offer spaces for complications at all.

You can also edit your complications from the Watch app on your iPhone. Under the “My Faces” section of the Watch app, tap a watch face and scroll down to “Complications” to make changes.

Now when you glance at your watch, you’ll have a button to quickly run an Apple Watch workflow.

If you want to use more than one workflow from the Complication, you can use the Time Travel feature. When enabled, Time Travel allows you to rotate the Digital Crown to scroll through your Apple Watch workflows. When you arrive at the workflow you’re looking for, you just tap to run it. To enable Time Travel, open the Watch app on your iPhone, navigate to the “Clock” section, and turn on “Time Travel”.

Setting a workflow’s type to Apple Watch

In order to have your workflows show up on Apple Watch, they’ll need to have the Apple Watch type enabled.

You can change a workflow’s type by opening it from My Workflows, tapping on the settings button in the upper right corner, and navigating to the section entitled “What type of workflow is this?”. Tap “Apple Watch” to enable that type on the workflow. A new toggle will appear to optionally show the workflow in the Workflow Complication. It may take a few minutes for a workflow to sync to your Apple Watch.

When creating a new workflow, you can quickly set the type of workflow you want to build. Select ”Apple Watch” to indicate the workflow you’re building is intended to be run on Apple Watch.

Note

Workflows can be set to multiple types. A single workflow can be an Action Extension, Today Widget, and Apple Watch workflow if you so choose.

To manage all of your Apple Watch workflows at once, see Organizing your workflows.

Running workflows and Handoff

Many workflows can run entirely on Apple Watch. The app supports a variety of tasks directly from your wrist, including (but not limited to):

  • Dictating or scribbling text,
  • Picking contacts, photos, music, or dates,
  • Fetching information from the Internet,
  • Sharing and sending emails and text messages,
  • Recording audio clips,
  • Getting Maps directions,
  • Logging data to Health,
  • Presenting alerts, menus, and lists,
  • Using Ask When Run and variables,
  • And working with many third-party services.

Workflows that work well on the Apple Watch are usually quick interactions that require only a few taps, like logging how much water you drank or entering a short reminder.

Workflows that don’t require any interaction also work well on Apple Watch, such as saving music to new playlists or even using Get Contents of URL to make an API call.

The Apple Watch is especially great for displaying alerts that you can quickly glance at on your wrist. For example, you can set up a workflow that interacts with other data, then shows you the final result right on your wrist, like in Advanced Log Water.

Due to limited screen space on the Apple Watch, however, not all workflows are capable of running entirely on the watch. A workflow may need to handoff to the paired iPhone if an action requires a special interface or requires too much memory.

When an action can’t run on the watch, you’ll be prompted to swipe up on the Handoff icon in the bottom left corner of your iPhone’s lock screen to finish running the workflow on your iPhone. Or, you can unlock the phone and enter multitasking by double-clicking the home button, where you’ll see a bar at the bottom to open Workflow via Handoff.

Once you’ve set a workflow’s type to Apple Watch, any actions that won’t work entirely on the watch will be updated to show that they require Handoff. Once you open the action pane and explore the list, you’ll see icons for actions that require Handoff there as well.


Now that you’ve learned all the basics of creating workflows, it’s time to learn about how to manage and sync all of your workflows, starting with Organizing your workflows. Or, take a moment to jump back and re-examine the other types of workflows you can build in Using workflows from the Today Widget and Using workflows from the Action Extension.