How to customize Apple Watch default replies for Messages and Mail

By , Oct 12, 2015

Apple Watch (Messages, Emoji)

The Apple Watch includes a pretty robust implementation of iOS’s Messages and Mail apps allowing you to respond to text messages with dictation, an animated emoji, a map showing your location, an audio clip or one of Apple’s built-in canned responses such as “On my way,” “Sorry, can’t talk right now…”, “See you soon” and some such.

You can select one of default replies when composing a new message or replying to one. Thankfully, stock replies are fully customizable so you can change them to say anything you like.

How to customize default Messages and Mail replies on Apple Watch

You cannot change canned responses directly on your Apple Watch. Instead, you’ll need to do so in the companion Watch app on your iPhone.

Step 1: Launch the companion Watch app on the iPhone paired with your watch.

Step 2: Tap the My Watch option in the tab area alongside the bottom of the app.

Step 3: Now navigate to the Messages → Default Replies section.

watchOS 2 Messages Default Replies Watch companion app iPhone screenshot 001

Step 4: To substitute your own phrases, tap on one of the built-in default replies to change it to suit your own needs. These prepared phrases will be accessible within Mail and Messages apps for your convenience.

With watchOS 2, you can customize up to twenty different auto-reply messages at a time, up from just six responses in watchOS 1. Keep in mind that each one must replace one of Apple’s default messages.

Whether you are in a meeting, out to dinner, at the movies or in the shower, you can let your sender know that you can’t respond in detail at the moment.

watchOS 2 Messages Default Replies Watch companion app iPhone screenshot 002

Indeed, prepared replies can save you a lot of time when responding to texts or emails from your wrist. As an example, I often get messages from my Mom or friends when I’m working.

Therefore, it made sense to create a ”I’m blogging right now, will talk to you later” response to reuse without dictating the same response over and over again.

Stock replies in wrong language?

If you’d rather use Apple’s generic replies but they aren’t in the language you want to use, press the display firmly and select Choose Language. The available languages are those you’ve enabled on your iPhone in Settings → General → Keyboard.

watchOS 2 Messages Default Replies change language Apple Watch screenshot 001

How to use customized responses

To use your own prepared replies when creating a new email message or iMessage, or replying to one on your Apple Watch, do the following:

Step 1: Launch Messages on your Apple Watch.

Step 2: Firmly press the list of conversations, then tap the New Message icon.

Step 3: Tap a contact in the list of recent conversations that appears or hit the plus sign in the lower left to choose from your full list of contacts. You can also tap the mic button to search for someone in your contacts or to dictate a phone number.

Step 4: After choosing your contact, tap Create Message to see a list of your prepared replies. Just tap one to send it or turn the Digital Crown to scroll the list.

If you’re replying to the existing message, open the conversation and hit Reply at the bottom. You’ll then see your customized replies.

The process of using canned responses in Mail is largely similar .

Customizing canned responses on your iPhone

Quick responses are available when responding to an incoming call with a text on your iPhone, but not when texting or replying to email messages.

To customize them to your liking, go to Settings → Phone → Respond with Text. You can tailor up to three different auto-reply messages at a time to say anything you like.

Full tutorial: How to create auto-reply Messages on iPhone

As mentioned, it is not yet possible to craft prepared phrases for responding to texts in Messages and emails in Mail for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.

See also:

Check out these helpful resources from our archives:

Please share this tip with your friends on social media and Apple support folks. As per usual, feel free to send us your feedback and submit your own ideas for future tutorials at tips@iDownloadBlog.com.

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  • Fanboy 

    For some odd reason, my canned responses never show up in the same order. Sometimes they show at the bottom of the list of the default responses, sometimes they show at the top of the list. Anybody else?

  • Steven Honey

    This may be because the software tries to put the best responses toward the top of the list depending on the text going on in your conversation with your contact. So, if your conversation requires a yes or no response from you…yes and no will appear toward the top.

    Could be wrong though.