How to Enable and Use the Handwashing Timer on Apple Watch

Feb 19, 2021 - Leave a Comment

Apple Watch handwashing

Keeping your hands clean is always an important thing to consider and while it might seem like one of the easiest things to do, it turns out that some people aren’t washing their hands for as long as they should. Apple wants to help out and it’s introduced a new Handwashing timer to do just that. With the feature enabled, and your Apple Watch will detect when you’re washing your hands and then count down from 20 to make sure you’re doing it properly.

That 20-second countdown isn’t random, either. The World Health Organization recommends that we wash our hands for at least that long to make sure that germs are irradicated and any shorter length of time could prove problematic. Previously, people recommended singing “Happy Birthday” twice to time hand washes, but having your Apple Watch do the counting seems like a much better way to us!

Anyone wanting to use the new Handwashing feature will need to be using an Apple Watch with watchOS 7 or later installed and have the feature enabled. Here’s how to do exactly that.

How to Enable Handwashing Detection

You’ll first need to enable the Apple Watch’s Handwashing detection feature and as with so many things, that can be found in the Settings app.

  1. With the Settings app open on your Apple Watch, scroll down and tap “Handwashing”.
  2. Switch “Handwashing Timer” to the “On” position to enable the timer function.
  3. Switch “Handwashing Reminders” to the “On” position to have your watch alert you if you haven’t washed your hands for long enough.

Your Apple Watch will now detect when you are washing your hands and automatically begin a 20-second timer.

How to Check Your Past Handwashes

Amazingly, your Apple Watch keeps tabs on how long you’ve washed your hands for and you can see that data in the Health app on your iPhone. The iPhone needs to be running iOS 14 or later for this to be available.

  1. Open the Health app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap the “Browse” tab.
  3. Tap “Handwashing”.

All of the data is presented alongside an explanation of how the feature works.

WatchOS has all sorts of handy features to assist you in better health and to make your life easier. Don’t miss out on checking out other Apple Watch tips and tricks to learn many more.


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Posted by: Oliver Haslam in Apple Watch, Tips & Tricks

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