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How to Fix Apple Watch Not Getting Notifications

Did you stop getting notifications on your Apple Watch? Or, is there no sound or vibration for notifications? Alternatively, notifications may not always show. Whatever the issue with Apple Watch notifications, this post willl help. Read on to learn how to fix Apple Watch notifications not showing up.

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How Notifications Work on Apple Watch

Before we jump into troubleshooting, you should understand how notifications work on the Apple Watch. By default, notifications from your iPhone will either go to the Apple Watch or iPhone, but not to both devices at the same time, depending on the locked and unlocked status of the devices. Four cases arise:

  1. When your iPhone is unlocked, you will receive notifications on the iPhone only and not on the Apple Watch, as it’s assumed that you are using the iPhone, and it makes sense to send the notifications to the iPhone instead of the Apple Watch.
  2. If your iPhone is locked and you are wearing the watch, notifications will be sent to the watch only.
  3. If the watch isn’t on your wrist, the notifications will be sent to your iPhone, and you will not receive them on the watch.
  4. Finally, if your Apple Watch is in a locked state on your wrist, the notifications will be sent to the iPhone and you will not see previews on the watch unless you unlock it using your passcode. To avoid this, set the Apple Watch to unlock automatically when your iPhone is nearby or turn off the passcode.

How to Fix Apple Watch Not Getting Notifications

You may not get some notifications on your watch for valid reasons. For instance, your iPhone may be unlocked. But if you have ruled out these reasons, try the methods below to restore notifications on the watch. We’ll start with three preliminary fixes then tackle more granular methods.

1. Restart Apple Watch

If you aren’t receiving notifications from the iPhone to your Apple Watch, you must first try to restart your Apple Watch.

  1. Press and hold the side button of the watch until a menu shows up.
  2. Tap on the Power icon (watchOS 9), then drag the “Power off” slider to the right side to turn off your watch.

Note: On watchOS 8 and earlier, you will not see the Power icon. Simply drag the “Power off” slider.

  1. Once the watch has turned off completely, press and hold the side button again until you see the Apple logo to restart the watch.

2. Enable Bluetooth

To receive notifications on your Apple Watch, Bluetooth must be enabled on both your watch and iPhone. Once activated, make sure that both devices are in a suitable range, otherwise the watch will disconnect from the iPhone, and you won’t receive notifications on it.

Follow the steps below to connect your Apple Watch and iPhone via Bluetooth.

  1. Open “Control Center” on the watch by swiping up.
  2. You should see a green iPhone icon at the top. Tap on it to see the connection status. If it says “Connected,” there’s nothing more you need to do, but if it says “Not connected” or “Disconnected,” follow the next step.
  1. Open the Settings app on your Apple Watch and go to Bluetooth.
  1. Scroll down and enable the toggle next to Bluetooth.
  1. Similarly, go to “Settings -> Bluetooth” on your iPhone.
  2. Enable the Bluetooth toggle. Make sure Apple Watch is listed as “Connected” under the “My devices” list.

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3. Turn Off Airplane Mode

Next, make sure that Airplane Mode isn’t active on either the Apple Watch or the iPhone. If enabled on any of the devices, you will face issues receiving notifications on the watch.

  1. Open “Settings -> Airplane Mode” on your Apple Watch.
  2. Turn off the toggle next to “Airplane Mode.”

Tip: you can keep Bluetooth enabled on your Apple Watch when Airplane mode is active by turning on the Bluetooth toggle under “Airplane mode behavior.”

  1. Similarly, open Settings on your iPhone and turn off the toggle next to “Airplane Mode.”

4. Turn Off Silent Mode on Apple Watch

Apple Watch comes with a Silent Mode. When enabled, you will not hear sounds for notifications that arrive on your Apple Watch. Therefore, you must disable Silent Mode to fix the notification sounds not working on your Apple Watch.

  1. Go to “Settings → Sounds & Haptics.”
  1. Turn off the toggle next to “Silent Mode.”
  2. Alternatively, swipe up to open “Control Center.” If the bell icon is red, it means Silent mode is enabled. Tap on the bell icon to turn off mute.

5. Increase the Alert Volume

You might have accidentally lowered or turned off the alert volume on your Apple Watch, then stopped hearing notifications. The following steps should fix this.

  1. Go to “Settings → Sounds & Haptics.”
  1. Press the loudspeaker icon on the right side of the Alert Volume slider multiple times or use the Digital Crown to increase the volume.

6. Enable Vibration on Apple Watch

If vibration isn’t working on your Apple Watch, try this:

  1. Go to “Settings → Sounds & Haptics.”
  1. Scroll down and enable the toggle next to “Haptic Alerts.”

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7. Unmute Notifications on Watch

You might have accidentally muted notifications from an app on your Apple Watch, leading to notifications from that app not working.

  1. Swipe down on your watch’s screen to open the notification center.
  2. Swipe left on the notification that you want to unmute, and hit the three-dot icon.
  1. Select “Unmute.”

8. Turn On Message Indicator

If you don’t see the message indicator on your Apple Watch but are receiving notifications, you might have turned the option off and may need to activate it again.

  1. Go to “Settings → Notifications” on your Apple Watch.
  1. Enable the toggle next to “Notifications Indicator.”

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9. Enable App Notifications on iPhone

If you aren’t receiving alerts from a particular app on your Apple Watch, check whether notifications are enabled for that app. This tweak applies mainly to iOS 15 users. To achieve similar results on iOS 16, follow the instructions under “Turn Off Scheduled Summary.”

  1. Open Settings on your iPhone.
  2. Scroll all the way to the bottom and tap on the app in question, then tap on “Notifications.”

Note: your Apple Watch will receive notifications only if the app on your iPhone is receiving notifications. Therefore, ensure that your iPhone is connected to the Internet.

  1. Ensure that the toggle next to “Allow notifications” is enabled.
  1. Choose “Immediate Delivery” instead of “Scheduled Summary” under “Notification Delivery.”
  1. Enable other alerts as well, such as Lock Screen, Notification Center, and Banners.
  2. Scroll down further and tap on “X Notification Settings,” where X is the name of the app.
  3. You will be taken to the notification settings of the app. Again, ensure that all the notification settings are enabled and that “No exception” for any contact is active.

Also read: How to Add a Contact to the Home Screen on Android and iPhone

10. Enable App Notifications on Apple Watch

Apple allows you to customize the apps that can send notifications to your Apple Watch. You might have accidentally turned off notifications for a particular app, so it is not able to notify you on the watch. Follow these steps to reverse the situation:

  1. Launch the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap on Notifications and scroll down until you find the list of Apple apps. Tap on the app in question.
  1. Select “Allow Notifications” on the next screen.
  1. Go back to the Notifications screen and scroll down to the list of third-party apps. Make sure the toggle next to the desire app is enabled.

11. Turn Off Scheduled Summary

iOS 15 and higher has a feature known as “Scheduled Summary” that sends notifications at scheduled times. If enabled, you will not receive notifications immediately on your iPhone nor on your watch.

  1. Open Settings on your iPhone.
  2. Go to “Notifications” followed by “Scheduled Summary.”
  1. Turn off the toggle next to “Scheduled Summary” to completely disable it or scroll down and turn off the toggle next to the app in question.

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12. Check Third-Party App

If you aren’t receiving notifications from a particular app on your Apple Watch, you must check whether the app is working properly on your iPhone. For instance, you might have to log in again to the app. Check this by opening the app on your iPhone.

13. Turn on Show Notifications on Wrist Down

You might have turned off the feature to show notifications when your wrist is down, leading to you not receiving notifications on your Apple Watch.

  1. Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Go to “Notifications → Show Notifications on Wrist Down.”
  1. Enable the toggle next to “Show Notifications.” Also, scroll down and make sure all the desired apps are enabled through the toggles.

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14. Turn Off Wrist Detection

Make sure you are wearing the watch correctly if you want to ensure you receive notifications. Note that if you have tattoos on your arm, those could affect the wrist-detection feature, thus causing notification issues on the Apple Watch.

If you would like to receive notifications on the watch even while you are not wearing it or if wrist detection isn’t working properly, you can turn off wrist detection.

  1. Go to “Settings → Passcode” on your Apple Watch.
  2. Scroll down and turn off “Wrist Detection.”

15. Turn Off Focus Modes

Just like iPhone, Apple Watch supports Focus modes such as “Do not disturb,” Driving, and Reading. For the unaware, these are simply sound profiles that let you mute your Apple Watch at a specific time or for a specific duration.

If any Focus profile is active on your watch or iPhone, you will not receive notifications on the watch. Turn off an active profile with the steps below.

  1. On your watch, swipe up to open “Control Center.”
  2. If the Focus mode icon is enabled, turn it off to disable the active Focus Mode.
  1. Open Settings on your watch and go to “Focus.”
  1. Here you will find different Focus Modes. Tap on each one of them and check whether they are set to activate automatically. For instance, the “Do Not Disturb” mode can be scheduled to activate at a certain time. Turn off any such active automation.

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16. Turn Off Focus Mode Sharing

If you activate a Focus mode on your iPhone, the same will be enabled on the watch as well. To stop this mirroring process:

  1. Go to “Settings -> Focus” on your Apple Watch.
  1. Scroll down and turn off the toggle next to “Mirror my iPhone.”

17. Turn Off “Cover to Mute”

The “Cover to Mute” feature basically allows you to mute notifications by covering the watch screen with your palm for 3 seconds. Your watch may have muted itself by thinking that it’s covered due to a bug or glitch in this feature, leading you to think your notifications are not working on your Apple Watch.

  1. Go to “Settings → Sound & Haptics.”
  2. Scroll down and turn off “Cover to Mute.”

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18. Disable Low Power Mode

Apple introduced the “Low Power” mode feature on WatchOS 9. When enabled, the notifications on the watch could be delayed. Therefore, you must turn it off to fix the issue with notifications not showing up on Apple Watch.

  1. Open “Settings -> Battery” on Apple Watch.
  2. Turn off the toggle next to “Low Power Mode.”

Note: On watchOS 8 and earlier, if you only see the time on your watch and are not receiving notifications, you will have to turn off the “Power reserve” feature by pressing and holding the side button on the watch.

19. Update Apps and Devices

Notifications could stop working on your Apple Watch if you are using an outdated version of WatchOS, iOS, or the problematic app. You must update the devices and apps in question to resolve the issue.

  • To update WatchOS, go to “Settings → General → Software update” on your wearable.
  • To update iOS on your iPhone, go to “Settings →General → Software update.”
  • Open App Store and find the app that you want to update. Hit the “Update” button.

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20. Force Restart Your Watch

If nothing has worked so far, you should force restart your watch, an action that serves as an advanced version of the regular restart. Doing so will forcefully shut down any malfunctioning app or service on your watch, thus fixing issues like Apple Watch notifications not working.

To force restart the Apple Watch, press and hold both the side button and the Digital Crown until you see the Apple logo, then release both buttons.

21. Unpair Apple Watch

Try to re-pair the watch with your iPhone by unpairing the watch first, then pairing the gadgets again.

  1. Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone and go to “All Watches” in the top-left corner.
  2. Hit the “(i)” icon next to your watch.
  1. Scroll down and hit the “Unpair Apple Watch” button.
  1. Bring the Apple Watch near your iPhone to pair them again.

Also read: How to Customize Your iPhone or iPad Lock Screen

Bring Notifications Back

Once you’ve managed to get notifications working again on your watch, you might be interested in jazzing it up with Watch Face apps.

All screenshots by Mehvish Mushtaq.