14 tips for texting like a pro on an Apple Watch

Texting is a task typically handled on your phone, but if you have an Apple Watch, you can read and send text messages right from your arm. The process isn’t as easy as texting on an iPhone, but there are ways to make it more user-friendly. Here are our top tips.

Configure text notifications

Want to receive a notification on your Apple Watch the next time you receive a text? You will need to enable the correct notification option in the watch settings of your iPhone or Apple Watch. From iPhone, open the Watch app and tap Notifications. On your watch, go to Settings> Notifications. (The following settings are for devices running iOS 15 and watchOS 8.)

Turn on the switch to Notification indicator to display a red dot on your watch when you have an unread notification. Turn on the switch to Show summary when locked to see a summary of your notifications even if the watch is locked. To fall over Tap to view the full notification to on if you want to hide notification details unless you tap your watch.

Tap the option to Show notifications on the wrist to see notifications even if your arm is not raised. On the View Notifications screen, turn on the switch to Show notifications. Swipe down on the screen and make sure the switch is on to messages.

New notifications will appear on your iPhone or Apple Watch, but not both. If your iPhone is unlocked, it will receive new notifications. If your iPhone is locked or sleeping, your watch will receive new notifications. Some types of notifications only appear on your phone, but new text message notifications will appear on the watch.

Ask Siri to read a new message

siri settings

When you wear Apple AirPods or compatible Beats headphones, you can ask Siri to read each new text you receive. For this to work, you will need AirPods Max, AirPods (2nd generation or later), AirPods Pro, Beats Fit Pro, Powerbeats, Powerbeats Pro, or Beats Solo Pro. Also make sure you are using iOS 15 or higher on your iPhone and watchOS 8 or higher on your watch.

On your watch, go to Settings> Notifications> Announce notifications and turn on the switch to Announce notifications. Swipe down on the screen and activate the switch to messages if it is not done yet. The next time you get a new text, Siri will read it to you.

Display new text

text message

If you have enabled notifications on your Apple Watch, any new message that arrives will automatically appear on the screen. Just tap it to immediately read the message. If you don’t read the message right away, a red notification dot will appear at the top of the screen to notify you of a new notification. Just swipe down on the screen to read the new message.

See all your text messages

see the texts

To view all your text messages, press the messages icon on the home screen of the watch. Swipe down to see each message, and tap the one you want to read. To filter the messages you see, swipe up on the screen, and tap Display. You can now choose to see all messages, from known senders or from unknown senders.

Add recipient

add recipient

Apple Watch offers several ways to send a text message to the right person. Press the messages on the home screen, and then tap New message. To select the recipient, press Add contact. Swipe down to see all the people you’ve texted with in the past and select the correct person from the list.

If the recipient does not appear, press the People at the top to view your contacts and select the person from that list. If the person is not an existing contact, press the Numeric keypad icon and type in the person’s phone number. Another option is to press the Microphone and say the person’s name or phone number, then choose the right person from the suggestions.

Send a text message

send text

You can create or reply to text in several ways. With new text, tap the field that says Create message. With a response, tap the field that says iMessage.

If you have an Apple Watch Series 7, you can tap or drag characters on the built-in QuickPath keyboard. If you don’t see the keyboard, swipe up from the bottom, and then tap the Keyboard button. All watch models can use Scribble mode to draw characters or dictation to pronounce text and punctuation out loud.

If you find that texting from a watch is a slow and frustrating process, you can always type the response on your iPhone. A notification appears on your phone prompting you to enter text using the iOS keyboard. Type the answer on the phone and it will appear on your watch.

Send an Emoji


You can spice up any text with a fun emoji. On the screen to type or dictate your message, tap the smiley face icon. From there, swipe down to view the different emoji options, and tap the one you want to use.

Send sticker or GIF


Press the A in front of the New message or iMessage field to access the different stickers and GIFs to send to the recipient. The first icon displays a screen of memoji stickers. Tap the magnifying glass to search through a collection of animated GIFs.

Send sketch


You can use the Digital Touch feature to draw with different colors and then send the image in text. Press the A and tap the heart icon. Tap the small colored circle on the top right and select the color you want to use, then draw with your finger.

If drawing a real object is too difficult, you can use gestures to create specific images. Tap the screen once to generate a circle or a series of circles. Tap with two fingers on the screen to draw a kiss image. Tap a finger on the screen to generate an animated flame. Tap two fingers on the screen to generate an animated heartbeat. When you are finished, press Ended then hit Send.

Send an SMS with Smart Reply

intelligent response

If you want to send an SMS but don’t want to write one yourself, you can opt for a Smart Reply. Open a text, then swipe down on the screen to view the list of smart answer suggestions. Tap the one that is most appropriate.

Speak to Text on Apple Watch

record message

Send a text message with an audio recording by pressing the A then select the Soundwave icon. Say your message or listen to the audio you want to record. When you are finished, press Ended. You and the recipient can read the message after it has been sent.

Respond to a text with a reaction

text reaction

Sometimes you don’t need to send an actual reply to a text, but you still want to acknowledge the message with a reaction. In this case, you can mark the received message with an inline tapback reply. Tap the message to display a series of images such as a heart, thumbs up, thumbs down, and question mark. Tap the image you want to send.

Share your location

shared location

You can share your location with another person by text message. To do this on an Apple Watch, swipe down after the smart response suggestions, and tap Shared location. A map of your location is automatically sent.

Send a payment with Apple Pay

apple pay

To text someone for payment via Apple Pay, tap the A and select the icon for Apple Pay. Rotate the digital crown to set the dollar amount. You can add pennies by tapping on the dollar amount, selecting the number after the decimal point, and rotating the digital crown to the required amount. Once the amount is set, press To pay and double press the side button to send the payment.

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