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Here’s Why Your Apple Watch Is Not Getting Notifications (and How to Fix It)

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Writer, Apple

Over the last decade, Farhad has gained hands-on experience with smartphones, laptops, accessories, wearables, printers, etc. If he's not writing, you can bet he's trying to keep up with the latest technology. He oversees coverage of iPhone, iOS, and Apple Watch for Gotechtor.

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Apple Watch is a handy gadget that helps you check your notifications without taking your phone out of your pocket. Generally, Apple Watch receives any notifications that your phone gets.

But sometimes, this feature might not work due to many reasons. It is unlikely that a hardware failure will result in your Apple Watch not getting notifications.

Luckily, you can fix this problem by following the troubleshooting tips below. Let’s get to the fixes.

Why Is My Apple Watch Not Getting Notifications?

If you don’t see notifications on your Apple Watch, you need to check your internet connection.

Swipe up on the watch face to open Control Center. If your devices are disconnected, you might see the red iPhone icon, the red X icon, or the Wi-Fi icon. Try to pair your Apple Watch with your iPhone.

Some features on your Apple Watch might prevent notifications from coming through if they’re enabled.

If you have no idea which features you may have accidentally enabled, the settings below may ring a bell:

  • Scheduled Summary
  • Airplane mode
  • Wrist Detection
  • Cover to Mute

In the right circumstances, these features are very helpful but can sometimes cause problems and prevent your Apple watch from receiving notifications.

1. Restart Apple Watch

The first and most basic thing to do in this situation is to restart your Apple Watch. This would solve the problem if a system bug caused the notification issue.

  1. Press and hold the side button of your Watch.
  2. In the newly opened menu, select the Power option and drag the slider to the right to turn your Watch off.
Turn off Apple Watch.
Powering off Apple Watch. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor
  1. Press and hold the side button again to restart your Watch.

Note: You will only see the Power icon if your Watch has watchOS 9 or later. The previous models don’t have a Power icon or a slider.

2. Activate Bluetooth

To pair your Apple Watch with your iPhone, you need to enable Bluetooth connection on each device.

Once you have enabled it, make sure your iPhone and Apple Watch are in an approximately close range from one another.

  1. To check the connection status, head to the Control Center on your Watch by swiping up.
  2. Press the Green iPhone icon and ensure that it says connected.
Green iPhone icon on Apple Watch
Green iPhone icon. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor
  1. If not, open the Settings app on your Watch and go to Bluetooth.
bluetooth settings of apple watch
Enable Apple Watch Bluetooth. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor
  1. Enable the toggle next to Bluetooth.
  2. Follow the same path on your iPhone to enable your iPhone’s Bluetooth.
Bluetooth in Settings app
Enable iPhone Bluetooth. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

3. Turn Off Cover to Mute

Cover to Mute will mute your Apple Watch if you put the palm of your hand on the screen for 3 seconds. Your Watch will mute itself even if you have covered it accidentally.

  1. Head into Setting on your Watch and select Sounds and Haptics.
Apple Watch sounds-&-haptics
Go to Apple Watch Sounds & Haptics. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor
  1. Find and turn off Cover to Mute.

Keep an eye on your Apple to see if it gets notifications after turning off the “Cover to Mute” feature.

4. Disable Wrist Detection

Having tattoos on your wrist or wearing the Watch on the top of your shirt will mess up the Wrist Detection system causing your Watch to behave strangely and disable notification alerts.

Thus, turning this function off will help you fix Apple Watch Not Getting Notifications.

  1. Select Settings and then Passcode.
  2. Disable Wrist Detection.
Apple Watch Wrist detection
Enable Apple Watch Wrist Detection. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

5. Toggle off Scheduled Summary

If your turn Schedules Summary, your iPhone will only send notifications to your Apple Watch in a specified time.

  1. Open Settings on your iPhone.
  2. Go to Notifications.
Notifications option in Settings
iPhone Notifications menu. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor
  1. Find the Scheduled Summary and turn it off.
Turn off Scheduled Summary
Disable the Scheduled Summary option. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

6. Turn on App Notifications on Apple Watch

It has happened to most of us when we accidentally adjust the notification settings of our phones or smartwatches.

This might be the reason for your Apple Watch not getting Notifications.

  1. Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Head into Notifications and select each app one by one.
Apple Watch Notification
Go to Notifications. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor
  1. Check if the Allow Notifications option is enabled, then head back to the Notification screen and scroll down to third-party apps. Make sure that the toggle next to each is enabled.

7. Disable Focus Modes

Apple Watch comes with a few focus modes, and the famous one is the Do Not Disturb mode. Each of these profiles will alter the Watch settings; if enabled, you won’t receive notifications on your Watch.

  1. Swipe up to open Control Center.
  2. Press the Focus mode icon (the half-moon) to disable it.
Apple Watch half moon focus mode icon
Disable Apple Watch Focus Mode. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

Note: You will find the Focus Mode profiles in the Apple Watch settings and the Focus section. You might want to check each one to see if they are set to turn on automatically.

8. Check Low-Power Mode Settings

WatchOS 9 came to the smartwatches with a new feature called Low-Power mode. Enabling it will prolong your Watches battery life but may cause the notification to be delayed.

  1. Launch Settings on your Watch and select Battery.
  1. You should find the Low-Power mode there. Turn it off.
Apple Watch low-power mode option
Disable Apple Watch Low Power Mode. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

Note: WatchOS 8 and earlier have a similar feature called Power reserve. Press and hold the side button and turn the feature off.

9. Turn Off Airplane Mode

Airplane Mode is notorious for messing with notifications settings on mobile devices and gadgets. If you enable this feature on your Watch, it will deny any incoming notifications.

  1. Go into Settings on your Apple Watch and select Airplane Mode.
Apple Watch Airplane Mode
Turn off Airplane Mode on Apple Watch. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor
  1. Press the toggle to turn the feature off.

10. Disable Silent Mode

Silent Mode does what you think it does: mutes all the sound from the Apple Watch; thus, if you receive any notifications, you won’t notice it.

  1. Go to Settings, and then Sounds & Haptics.
  2. Turn off Silent Mode.
Apple Watch silent mode option
Deactivate Apple Watch Silent Mode. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

Wrap-Up: Apple Watch Not Getting Notifications

It remains unclear why Apple has equipped the Apple Watch with so many notification-disabling features.

As a result of these features, it’s easy to accidentally mute your Apple Watch and wonder why notifications aren’t coming through.

If you’ve tried all these fixes and your Apple Watch still won’t receive notifications, you may need to get in touch with Apple Support for more advice. 

Did one of these fixes work for you? If so, let us know in the comments below!

Writer, Apple

Over the last decade, Farhad has gained hands-on experience with smartphones, laptops, accessories, wearables, printers, etc. If he's not writing, you can bet he's trying to keep up with the latest technology. He oversees coverage of iPhone, iOS, and Apple Watch for Gotechtor.

Farhad Pashaei

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