How to Receive and Respond to Messages on Your Apple Watch - dummies

How to Receive and Respond to Messages on Your Apple Watch

By Marc Saltzman

You can keep your iPhone tucked away yet still correspond with important people in your life. When a message comes in, your Apple Watch vibrates on your wrist (and dings) to let you know you have a new message waiting to be read. (You can disable tactile feedback and sound in the Settings area of the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.)

Acknowledging a message

To receive, reply, and initiate a message to someone via your Apple Watch, follow these steps:

  1. If you feel a pulse and hear a tone, raise your wrist to see the message.

    You should see a screen with whom the message is from, what he or she wrote, and perhaps an integrated image. You can scroll up and down by twisting the Digital Crown button if the message is longer than what’s on the screen.


  2. To dismiss the message, lower your wrist or tap Dismiss at the bottom of the message.

    Do this if you don’t want to reply — or at least not right now. You can just exit the Messages app and return later.

  3. If you want to reply to the message, tap Reply at the bottom of the screen and you should see multiple options.

    Apple Watch suggests some preset words to reply with based on the context of the conversation, along with some preset responses you can choose from (such as Not Sure, Can’t Talk Now, Talk later?). Twist the Digital Crown button to see all the responses and then tap one you like.

Replying to a message

If you want to reply to a message with your voice, follow these steps in the Messages app:

  1. Tap microphone icon to speak (dictate) your reply and have it transcribed into text or sent as an audio clip.


    Speak clearly into your wrist and you should see the words typed out as you say them.

  2. Tap Done in the top right of the screen and then select Send As Audio or Send As Text.

    You should see a preview of the words before you send them. You can’t change it if something isn’t correct, so you have to tap Cancel in the top right and then say it again (perhaps slower and clearer).

Responding with animated emojis

To reply to a message with an emoji, follow these steps:

  1. Instead of replying with a preset message, tap the smiley face on the bottom left of the Apple Watch screen to launch the emoji selection list.


    This brings up a number of emojis to choose from to express yourself in a more playful way.

  2. Twist the Digital Crown button to select the right emoji that conveys your message or feelings — whether it’s a smile, a silly tongue hanging out, a sad face, a heart, or something else.


    The small green bar in the top right of the screen shows you where your list of options starts and ends. Leave the emoji on the screen for a moment to see how it’ll animate once received by someone else.

  3. When you find an emoji that fits the bill — maybe an animated thumbs-up or thumbs-down — tap Send in the top right of the screen to send it to the recipient.

    If you decide against sending the emoji, tap Cancel in the top-left corner of the watch screen.

Along with the animated emojis that fill up much of the Apple Watch screen, you can also send more traditional (static) emojis.