How to view and manage notifications on your Apple Watch

Incoming Notification Apple Watch

There’s nothing more liberating than being able to take action on an incoming notification directly from your watch. Once you’ve configured your Apple Watch notifications, it’s time to reap the rewards and actually view those notifications.

There are two basic ways to view notifications on Apple Watch—immediately as they arrive, or later via Notification Center. In this concise Apple Watch guide, we’ll show you how to do both. We’ll also show you how to manage those same notifications after they arrive on your wrist.

The basics

Any notifications that are being sent to the iPhone paired with your Apple Watch are eligible to forwarded to your Apple Watch. An iPhone app does not need to have an Apple Watch counterpart in order to forward notifications to Apple Watch. One of the best examples of this is the Gmail app. As of this post, it doesn’t have an Apple Watch app, but you can still receive Gmail app notifications on Apple Watch.

Your Apple Watch must be on your wrist and your iPhone must be locked before any notifications will be forwarded to Apple Watch. Otherwise, the notifications will simply show up on the paired iPhone.

Notification Center

If you don’t respond to an incoming notification as it arrives, it will be stored in Notification Center.

Notification Center Apple Watch

Notification Center on Apple Watch can be accessed by swiping down from the top of the screen while on the watch face.

Responding to a notification

There are a few ways to respond to a notification. If you tap on the notification’s app icon, it will open the app corresponding to the notification. Or, you can scroll down to the bottom of the notification to dismiss it or take another action if available. Available actions may differ depending on the app.

Dismissing a notification

When a Notification arrives and is displayed on your Apple Watch, you can dismiss the notification or choose to ignore it and address it later.

Swipe to Dismiss Apple Watch

There are actually two ways to dismiss an incoming notification: by tapping the Dismiss button or by swiping down on the notification.

Clearing notifications

You can clear a single notification contained in Notification Center, or clear all Notifications in Notification Center in one fell swoop.

To clear a single notification, swipe left on the notifications and tap the Clear button.

Clear All Notification Center Apple Watch

To clear all notifications in Notification Center, Force Touch the screen while Notification Center is displayed, and tap Clear All to confirm.

Silencing notifications

At times, you may not want the sounds that accompany an incoming notification. To silence notifications, swipe up from the watch face and find the Settings glance.

Silent Mode Apple Watch

Once the Settings glance is displayed, tap the Silence button to silence all incoming notifications. You will still receive taps from the taptic engine, but all audible sounds will be silenced.

How to keep notifications private

When you receive a notification and raise your wrist, you’re provided with a summary of the notification automatically. If, instead, you’d like to keep the contents of the notification private, you can enable Notification Privacy in the Apple Watch settings on the paired iPhone.

Notification Privacy Apple Watch

Step 1: Open the Apple Watch app on the paired iPhone

Step 2: Tap the My Watch tab

Step 3: Tap Notifications

Step 4: Enable the Notification Privacy switch

Notification Privacy Icon Apple Watch

With Notification Privacy enabled, you won’t see a summary of the notification, with its potential sensitive details, until you tap on the notification.

Do you enjoy receiving notifications on your Apple Watch? To me, it’s one of the best features on the device if tuned correctly. Be sure to become familiar with how to fine tune notifications using this guide, and check out some of our other Apple Watch tips in our full guide.