The Apple Watch is almost here and many of you may have already pre-ordered yours ahead of its 24 April release date. Apple's smartwatch boasts many features, from fitness tracking to social notifications and even games, and of course it can also tell you the time. One handy feature allows users to receive and respond to text messages, so here, we talk you through how to reply to a message on Apple Watch, and how to send a text on Apple Watch.

You might like: Apple Watch buying guide

How to reply to a text on Apple Watch

When you receive a text message while you're wearing an Apple Watch, you'll be able to respond instantly without having to pull out your iPhone. You'll be alerted to the message with a gentle 'Tap' using Apple's 'Taptic' technology, and an alert will sound if you're not using the device on silent.

Raise your wrist and you'll be able to see who the message came from, followed by the message itself. Lowering your wrist will dismiss the message – it's as simple as that.

If you want to reply, though, scroll down with the Digital Crown (the circular button/wheel on the side of the Apple Watch) to find the Reply button. Tap Reply and you'll find a list of short, smart replies that Apple thinks are relevant to the message. You can also add your own smart replies in the Apple Watch app for replying to future messages.

Instead, you could dictate a response by tapping the dictate button and speaking into your Apple Watch, which should accurately recognise what you've said using its built-in microphone and Apple's voice software. Then, press send to bring up the 'Send as audio message' or 'Send as text message' options.

Alternatively, Apple has made new animated emojis, hearts, and hands, which you can access by tapping Reply and then tapping the smiley face icon. Use the digital crown to scroll through the various expressions and animations until you find a suitable one and press Send.

Read next: Apple Watch accessories | Guide to phone calls on Apple Watch | How to take a screenshot on Apple Watch

How to send a text on Apple Watch

If you want to send a brand-new message to a contact, you can do so using the Apple Watch without needing to touch your iPhone.

First, press the Digital Crown to go to the Home screen, then tap messages. You'll be taken to a list of recent messages. Press firmly (this uses Apple's Force Touch technology to differentiate between a press ant a tap), then tap New Message.

From there, add a contact and create your message in the same way you would when you're replying to a message.

For more, visit our complete guide to Apple Watch.

Best Apple Watch apps | Best Apple Watch games  | How to add and remove Glances on Apple Watch | How to force quit an Apple Watch app

How to stop an text message from sending on the iPhone.