How to view and manage notifications on your Apple Watch

In this tutorial, we will share all the basics you need to know to get started with app notifications on your Apple Watch. Among other things, these will ensure you can respond to alerts or dismiss them for later.

Notifications on Apple Watch

The basics

Any notifications that are sent to the iPhone paired with your Apple Watch can be forwarded to your Apple Watch.

An iPhone app does not need to have a watchOS counterpart in order to forward notifications to the 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 are forwarded to the Apple Watch. Otherwise, the notifications will simply show up on the paired iPhone and not your watch.

Go to the Notification Center

If you don’t respond to an incoming notification as it arrives, it will be stored in the Notification Center. You can access the Notification Center by swiping down from the top of the screen. If you’re inside an app, touch and hold at the top of the screen and then swipe down.

Opening Notifications Center on Apple Watch when inside an app

Respond to a notification

When you get a new notification from a texting app like Messages or WhatsApp, you can reply to it straight away.

If you do not reply, the alert will stack up in the Apple Watch Notification Center. If you tap the notification, it will show the option to reply or take appropriate action based on the app. Available actions may differ depending on the app.

Respond to a notification on Apple Watch

Dismiss a notification

New notifications should go away from the screen automatically if you do not interact with them. These alerts will then appear in the Notification Center. For chat-based alerts like WhatsApp that stay on the screen for longer, you can tap the Dismiss button or press the Digital Crown to remove it from the full screen.

If you tap Dismiss, the notification may not stay in the Notification Center. However, if you press the Digital Crown, the notification should go to the Notification Center.

Clear alerts from the Notification Center

When you have pending notifications, you will see a red dot at the top of the watch face.

To dismiss a notification, swipe left on an alert and tap X. You can also tap Clear All or Clear to dismiss them all in one swoop.

Clear alerts from Notification Center on Apple Watch

Mute notifications from an app

If an app is sending you constant notifications, you can swipe left on one of its alerts in the Notification Center and then tap the three dots icon followed by mute or turn off.

Mute notifications from an app on Apple Watch

Keep notifications private

When you receive a notification and raise your wrist, you’re provided with a summary of the notification automatically. If you’d like to keep the contents of the notification private, go to the Watch app > Notifications and turn on Tap to Show Full Notifications. With Notification Privacy enabled, you won’t see a summary of the notification, with its potentially sensitive details hidden, until you tap the notification.

Normal and private notifications on Apple Watch

Decide which app notifications are sent to your Apple Watch

Getting too many alerts on the wrist can be disturbing. So, you can configure your preferences exactly and choose which iPhone and watch apps are allowed to send you notifications on your Apple Watch. You can manage this in the iPhone Watch app > Notifications.

Do you enjoy receiving notifications on your Apple Watch? To me, it’s one of the best features on the device if tuned correctly.

Check out next: How to set notifications to deliver quietly on iPhone