Apple Watch Notifications: The Complete Guide

The Apple Watch notifications screen enables users to keep up with incoming information. Users can tap on a notification to go to the app that raised the corresponding notification. The user can dismiss a notification that is no longer needed, or dismiss all notifications to clear the slate.

Apple Watch Notifications

How to Work with Notifications

  • Lift your wrist to wake the Apple Watch. You’ll now see the watch face.
  • The red dot on the watch face (just above the watch face) will indicate that there are unread notifications.
  • Swipe down to see the Notifications screen.
  • To choose between notifications, tap the notification you want to read. This notification will open in the appropriate app (Messages, Mail, etc.)
  • Tap Reply to reply to the message.
  • Tap Dismiss to dismiss the message. In this case, the notification screen will show again.
  • If you want to react to another notification, tap it to view this notification in the appropriate app.
  • Force-touch the screen to see the Clear All button.
  • When you see the Clear All button, tap it, and Apple Watch will clear all the notifications. Then, the watch face will appear again..

How to Turn off Notifications

Getting notifications is a great way to stay up to date. However, it’s recommended to keep the list of apps that can give you notifications to a minimum. This will help you avoid unnecessary distractions and it will cut down on power consumption.

How to Clear All Notifications

Unlike the iPhone, users can clear all the notifications on the Apple Watch at once. If you don’t want to delete all the notifications at once, you can choose to clear specific ones. Keep in mind that, when you remove any notification on your watch, it automatically disappears from the iPhone too. To remove notifications:

  • On the Apple Watch, click the Digital Crown to go to the watch face, if you are not already there.
  • Swipe down from the top of the watch face to bring up the Notification Center.
  • Then, you need to scroll to the notification you want to remove.
  • Next, swipe from right to left to bring up the X button.
  • Tap on this X button to remove the notification.

If you want to clean up all the notifications at once to free up space on your watch, you should proceed by following the above mentioned steps and then do the following:

  • Press firmly on the screen.
  • When the X button appears on the screen, tap on it to clear all the notifications at once.

You can repeat these steps to keep the Notification Center cleared.

How to Enable Notifications on the Apple Watch and iPhone

In order to have notifications enabled on the iPhone and Apple Watch, you need to turn off wrist detection on the smartwatch. To do this, open the Apple Watch companion app on your iPhone. Then fo to: Apple Watch app > General > Wrist Detection. Now toggle this option to off, ignore the warning, and you’re good to go. If notifications do not arrive on both devices just yet, reboot them, and that should solve the problem.

Troubleshooting Notifications on Apple Watch

Sometimes your Apple Watch fails to show you notifications for unknown reasons. There are some possible solutions:

Customized Notifications: On Apple Watch, notifications are set up to reflect your iPhone settings. In other words, if you have set up the iPhone Mail app to notify you only of Office emails, you can see only Office email notifications on your Apple Watch. You should check the settings to see if this is the case.

  • Launch the Watch app on the iPhone – Tap on the My Watch tab, tap on Notifications, and then tap on app.
  • If you want the app’s notification settings to reflect the settings on your iPhone, tap Mirror my iPhone. However, if you want to use different notification settings for your Apple Watch, tap Custom.
  • Cover to Mute Option: Open the Apple Watch App on your iPhone and tap on My Watch.
  • Once there, under the Sounds and Haptics section, you will find the Cover to Mute option. Turn the Cover to Mute option OFF. After turning this option off, you will start getting notifications on your Apple Watch. Now, you can turn the option ON.
  • Wrist Detection: Turn off the Wrist Watch Detection option by launching the Watch app on the iPhone, tapping My Watch, and then tapping General. Then, turn off the Wrist Detection option.
  • Make sure that your Apple Watch is not on Do Not Disturb mode. If it is, the system will send all notifications to your iPhone and not to your Apple watch.

Now you will get all notifications on your Apple Watch.


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This post currently has 23 responses

  • I am having a problem with notifications. I want my apple watch to vibrate when I receive a notification but also want my phone to give me notification like it always has. Seem like now if I get a vibration on my watch about a text message I do not hear or see any notification on my phone. Can I still have that?

    • Hi, Shantal.

      You can turn off Wrist Detection in your Apple Watch. This way notifications will go to both devices. But with Wrist Detection off you can’t use Apple Pay and many other features including single unlock and Stand credit, at least, for now. Hope this helps.

  • The fact iPhone stops notifying you while the watch is connected is a shame for apple and the reason I will give up with it

  • Frustrated, I cant get my husband’s phone to notify of a message if it comes on the watch, if it comes on the watch it doesn’t come on the phone. With this being the iPhone X, I expect it to have all the bells and whistles. This is why I stay with Samsung!!!

    • Hello Dorren! Yes, iOS is tricky sometimes. The messages can go to the iPhone OR to the Apple Watch, but NOT both. We’re really sorry that your problem can’t be solved.

  • Is there a way to adjust Apple Watch settings, so my watch notifications are vibration-only and my iPhone notifications are audible? I definitely don’t want to “mirror my iPhone.” My iPhone has distinctive sounds for various apps like email, calendar, text messages, etc. and I prefer those sounds only.

  • I am having trouble to get Notification on my Apple Watch but I’ll get notification on my iPhone and I don’t know what to do

    • Hi Daisy! The notifications come either to your iPhone or to your Apple Watch (depending on which device is unlocked at the moment) but never to both. Apple is definite about it. The developers assumed that you use your Watch when your iPhone is out of reach and vice versa: when your iPhone is in your hands and unlocked, you don’t need the Watch. Hope this helps.

  • In the “My Watch app” on the iPhone, go to “Passcode.” Scroll down to “Wrist Detection.” Turn it off. You should be able to get a notification on both iPhone and Apple Watch.

  • I see the red dot on my apple watch to let me know I have a notification. It will not let me view it. I can not scroll down.

  • Since I got this new Apple Watch (Series 4), I am missing more texts than I ever did. That’s not what I paid $400 for, Apple. I have wrist detection set to “on,” because I like the security of my phone locking when I’m not wearing it, and I like it monitoring my pulse. But when my kids text me and I’m wearing my watch, I miss the text until I happen to look down at my watch and see “1 new message,” or I pick up my phone and discover my child texted me 2 hours ago, and my phone, laying right beside me (not on silent or vibrate), said nothing. This is frustrating. I feel I took a step backwards when I decided to purchase the Apple Watch. I need my phone to say something when I get a text, whether I am wearing my watch or not. Yes, I have my watch set on silent, because I don’t want it to say anything, just vibrate. The comment that the Apple guy mad, that when you’re wearing your watch, you don’t need your phone to notify you, is malarky. I don’t have my phone set to silent, just my watch. I sure do miss that lovely sound my phone used to make to notify me that a text just came in, I NEED IT. Don’t take it upon yourself to set my phone on silent just because I’m wearing my watch. Making that assumption about me is a bridge too far. And I know I’m not being unreasonable, because I see many others with this same complaint. Apple, please put out a fix, before we put out a quit.

  • I just got a new phone and when i paired my watch I had to start over. I used to see just the notification when I got a text message, which I like. Now when I get the vibration and look at my watch i see the message. I want to switch it back to just seeing the message notification bubble. How do I correct that?

  • My watch face used to tell me the number of unread texts/imessages. Now it seems to always have a number on the message symbol on my watch face. it does not even match the number of read of unread messages I have. How do I have this only show me the number of unread messages?

    • Hi, Candace.

      Unfortunately, this is a nasty WatchOS bug that takes place with the iPhone X generation. You can power off both your iPhone and your Apple Watch, then turn them back on and let them re-sync with each other. Switching off a mirror mode or a silent mode can also help. Anyway, we’d like to read your feedback if anything of this works.

  • 100% agree, is absolutely infuriating to the point of maybe returning this watch for a fitbit again due to the options not letting notifications go to both devices.
    I’m missing more important notifications that I ever was now. and the WHOLE POINT OF GETTING THIS WAS TO MISS LESS.
    and to make matters worse there are many times i leave my phone unlocked around the house: Music, movies, youtube, timers, give phone to kids for youtube and I wont EVER get a notification about important messages because my phone is unlocked.
    Fitbit always let me know…….always.

  • I totally agree! I switched from a Fitbit to the Apple watch so I could get notifications all the time and not just when my phone is near but I am now missing notifications. I also had to download a billion (seems like that but its currently 3) just to get the same sleep, heart rate and activity summaries compares to the Fitbit

  • This website is very informative All the data are very useful all the data of this website is very important we have also website of watches Apple straps watches this is one of the brand apple watch this website isw very important becuse apple notification a;ll the data are show directly so plz vist and see watches

  • I have had the watch for a couple of years now and I too miss so many texts and notifications, I have over the years tried to fix on my own by looking and re-looking at the settings and could not figure it out. I was convinced that my settings or icloud is messed up until I stumbled upon this thread. While I understand the logic, I am not convinced that it works perfectly and Apple should give us the control on where and how to receive notifications. Please consider this.

  • Hi does anybody know if you can have notifications to your watch and not have banner messages pop up on the screen of your phone . I’ve tried everything I can see .

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