How to silence Apple Watch with a simple gesture

By , Nov 11, 2015

Apple Watch Phone call notification image 001

When you’re in a meeting or at the movies and a phone call comes in or a loud alert starts dinging, nothing compares to the social awkwardness after realizing you’ve forgotten to silence your watch. Surely you don’t wanna being labeled as that guy, no?

While you can mute the alerts on the watch with a couple taps, by the time you fumble through the menus you’ll have already embarrassed yourself.

Thankfully, there’s a better way: the Apple Watch includes a nifty little feature for silencing incoming phone calls and other audible alerts with a super quick gesture.

How to quickly silence Apple Watch with your palm

Step 1: Make sure that the Cover to Mute option is enabled in the companion Watch app on your iPhone under My Watch → Sounds & Haptics.

Cover to Mute Apple Watch

Step 2: The next time a loud ringer goes off at the most inopportune time (or you receive an incoming call on your wrist, or hear a noisy notification buzzing), simply shut your Watch up by covering the whole screen with your palm for three seconds, like this.

Apple Watch hand mute dujkan 001

Step 3: You should feel a tap on your wrist: that’s your Apple Watch subtly letting you know that you’ve now silenced rings and alerts. To turn rings and alerts back on, tap the bell icon in the Settings glance available by swiping from the bottom on your watch face.

In a typical Apple fashion, covering the device with your palm to mute rings and alerts won’t silence alarms or timers, so you don’t miss anything of importance. As a quick reminder, alarms and timers set up on the watch differ from those enabled on an iPhone or other iOS devices.

This handy shortcut does the same thing as enabling Mute in Settings → Sounds & Haptics on the watch or the companion app on your iPhone.

To learn more about adjusting or muting sounds on your Apple wearable device, you’ll wholeheartedly recommended to check out this tutorial by my colleague Jeff.

How’s this different from Airplane and Do Not Disturb mode?

That’s a great question, actually.

When you cover to mute the watch, you’ll still receive haptic feedback when an alert comes in. Do Not Disturb mode silences both sound and haptic feedback so you won’t hear or feel a thing when those alerts hit.

As for Airplane mode, it shuts down Bluetooth and Wi-Fi radios. As a result, notifications won’t be relayed from your iPhone and you will lose some functionality because Airplane mode prevents the watch from keeping the connection with its paired iPhone alive.

RELATED: iDownloadBlog’s Apple Watch Guide.

Feel free to pass this tip to your friends and support folks. As always, we accept your tutorial submissions and ideas at tips@iDownloadBlog.com.

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  • InfinitePlusOne

    Someone buy me an apple watch… I got no money 🙁

    • Ángel Javier Esquivel

      Same here

  • jalexcarter

    I thought this was common knowledge, at least to people who own an Apple Watch. I’ve been doing it on mine since I got it.

    • George

      It’s been a feature on Android wear since the first watch lol

      • That_Fruitarian

        In the tech space, it’s irrelevant until Apple adopts it. Lol

    • Antzboogie

      Not everyone knew this. Thanks for this article now I know it was annoying when you couldnt silence the Apple Watch!!

    • Gregg

      I knew about it, but forgot about it. Great reminder!

  • ZMan82

    On the point of Airplane mode, whenever I turn it on my iPhone it does the same on the Apple Watch (which is good). But when I turn it off on the phone, airplane mode is still active on the watch… What am I missing?

    • Well, since Airplane mode shuts down Wi-Fi radios and Bluetooth, your iPhone cannot ping your watch and turn its Airplane mode remotely. Make sense?

  • Vince Reedy

    With the haptic feedback, I don’t use any audible notifications at all for my watch.

    • kron1k 

      Same here. A few taps on my wrist is all I need. Although it’d be nice to stop the haptic feedback when a call comes in.