Apple Watch notifications hero image

watchOS notifies you when you have Apple Watch notifications you haven’t responded to by putting a little red dot at the top of your watch face. On by default, this handy notification icon feature can be disabled optionally so that the red dot no longer appears for unread Apple Watch notifications.

If you don’t respond to an incoming notification on your wrist, watchOS will store it in your Notification Center. To indicate to the user that they have unread alerts, the watchOS software displays the red dot (aka the notification icon) at the top of the watch face.

TUTORIAL: How to keep Apple Watch notifications private

The red dot auto-disappears when there are no unread items in your Notification Center.

Apple Watch notifications - the red dot indicator at the top of the watch face

Some people find the notification icon distracting or cluttering their already busy watch face.

PRIMER: The difference between round and square Apple Watch notifications

In this step-by-step tutorial, we will teach you how to decrease the clutter on your watch face by hiding the notification icon so it no longer appears when there are unread notifications.

Disabling Apple Watch notification icon

This toggle is available in the Watch app on your iPhone, not on the watch itself.

1) Open the companion Watch app on your paired iPhone.

2) Tap the My Watch tab at the bottom.

3) Choose Notifications from the list.

4) Set the switch labeled Notifications Indicator to the OFF position.

The notification icon can be disabled in the Watch app on your paired iPhone

Doing so shall hide the notification icon from plain sight.

If you don’t respond to an incoming notification as it arrives, the red dot icon won’t appear on the watch face to inform you that you have unread notifications in your Notification Center.

Don’t worry, you’ll continue receiving haptic feedback when a new alert hits your wrist.

Disabling the red dot indicator makes it difficult to confirm with just a glance that you have unread notification

Confirming with a glance that you have unread notification is hard without the red dot indicator

Folks who primarily sift through the notifications using their watch may find this visual cue very useful. If you’re among them, you’re wholeheartedly recommended to keep the notification icon enabled at all times. “When this is on, a red dot will appear at the top of your watch face when you have unread notifications,” reads the feature’s description.

With the icon enabled, a red dot appears at the top when you have unread notifications

So how do you manage notifications on your Apple Watch, girls and boys? We’re eager to learn about your strategies for reduce the notification conundrum so share them with fellow readers in the comments down below.

Accessing Notification Center in apps

As a quick refresher, your Apple Watch displays notification alerts only when you’re wearing it and it’s unlocked. The watch is smart enough to figure out when you’re actively using your iPhone to prevent notifications from hitting your wrist.

TUTORIAL: How to access Notification Center on Apple Watch from inside apps

To view missed alerts, swipe down from the top of your watch face. This will pull down the Notification Center screen where you’ll find all the unread notifications.

Before watchOS 5, accessing Notification or Control Center was limited to watch faces.

Unread notifications go to your Notification Center

Tap and hold at the top to reveal the Notification Center overall when using an app

With watchOS 5 and newer, you can also bring up your Notification Center or pull up the Control Center overlay when using an app: rest your finger on the top/bottom edge of the display until a hidden handle appears, then drag down/up to enter your Notification/Control Center.

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