How to Fix an Apple Watch Not Mirroring iPhone Messages

Put notifications back on your wrist

When an Apple Watch doesn't mirror messages and notifications from your iPhone, it can defeat a lot of the function of the wearable; after all, one of its biggest benefits is not having to take your phone out of your pocket as often. The issue has several possible causes and some simple fixes. Here's what to do.

Causes of an Apple Watch Not Mirroring iPhone Messages

Several factors can prevent you from seeing notifications from your iPhone on your Apple Watch. Most of them involve features not being on (for example, Bluetooth or the actual mirroring option) or being active. You might also have a general syncing problem between your devices.

How Do I Make My Apple Watch Mirror My iPhone?

If your Apple Watch isn't showing notifications from your iPhone, here are some fixes to try.

  1. Make sure your Apple Watch is unlocked. The first thing you should check is your Apple Watch's passcode isn't active.

  2. Check to see if Do Not Disturb is on. If you've turned the Do Not Disturb feature on for either your Apple Watch or iPhone, it won't mirror to the other. To deactivate it, swipe up from the bottom of your Apple Watch's home screen and make sure the moon-shaped icon isn't blue.

    On your iPhone, the Do Not Disturb button is in the Control Center, which you can access by swiping down from the top-right corner of the screen.

  3. Is Airplane Mode on? Airplane Mode stops your iPhone and Apple Watch from transmitting any data, so if it's on, they won't be able to communicate. Check the Control Centers in both devices to see if the button with an airplane icon isn't active.

  4. Make sure Bluetooth is on. Your Apple Watch and iPhone use Bluetooth to communicate with each other, so you should also ensure Bluetooth is active. The controls are in the same places you found Do Not Disturb on both devices.

  5. Turn on Wi-Fi. Your phone and watch also communicate when they're on the same local network, so you should double-check Wi-Fi is on for both. Return to the Control Centers to access this button.

  6. Turn on mirroring. You should also check to see if the mirroring feature is on at all. To do so, open the Watch app on your iPhone, and then scroll down and tap Messages. At the top of the next screen, tap Mirror my iPhone.

    If the mirroring option is already active, try turning it off and then re-enabling it.

  7. Reset the connection. This step is different from re-syncing your Apple Watch, which is a more intensive and destructive step. Instead, power off your Apple Watch and iPhone. Then, turn your iPhone back on, followed by the Apple Watch.

  8. Reset sync data. Just like with a web browser, you may have some success with clearing the data cache on the Apple Watch. In the Watch app on your iPhone, scroll down and tap General, and then select Reset at the bottom of the next screen. Select Reset Sync Data, and the app will purge the sync data from your Apple Watch and then reset it.

  9. Unpair and then re-pair your Apple Watch. The most drastic step you can take will delete all of the data on your wearable and then start over from nothing. To do so, open the Watch app on your iPhone. Select All Watches in the top-left corner, and then select the i icon to the right of your Apple Watch. On the next screen, select Unpair Apple Watch and then confirm.

    This process will take a few minutes, after which your watch will restart, and you can follow the steps on screen to re-pair the two devices.

  10. Contact Apple Support. If none of these solutions work, your Apple Watch may have a hardware issue which you won't be able to solve on your own. Reach out to Apple for service options.

How Do I Sync My Apple Watch and iPhone Messages?

Once your iPhone and Apple Watch are synced properly, you don't have to take any more action to see the same messages on both devices. As long as the watch is within range, most notifications will go to whichever device is active.

That is, if your phone is unlocked, notifications will go there instead of the watch. If your phone is locked and your Apple Watch is on and not secured with a passcode, notifications will appear there. For apps only on your Apple Watch, like Breathe or Noise, you'll only receive alerts on your wrist.

Why Is My Apple Watch Not Clearing My Messages?

Unless you look at a notification on your iPhone, your Apple Watch won't necessarily clear it on its own. You can do it manually by opening the Notification Center and either dragging down on the screen or turning the Digital Crown to reveal the Clear All button above your list of alerts. Tap that to clear everything at once. Alternatively, tap an individual message and then scroll down and select Clear to remove only the notifications from that app.

  • How do I clear all notifications on my Apple Watch?

    To clear all notifications from your Apple Watch, swipe down to get to the Notification center, then tap Clear All. For older watchOS versions that support Force Touch, tap and hold while you’re on the Notification Center, then tap Clear All.

  • How do I set up notifications on my Apple Watch?

    Apple Watch settings will mirror iPhone settings by default, but you can control how you receive notifications for individual apps. On your iPhone, open the Watch app and tap My Watch > Notifications. Tap an app, such as your Messages app, then choose either Mirror my iPhone or Custom. Tap Custom to allow or stop notifications, and choose other settings. You can even choose Send to Notification Center to have all your notifications sent directly to the Notification Center without your Watch alerting you.

  • How do I delete messages on my Apple Watch?

    Press the digital crown to access the app screen, then select Messages. Swipe left on a conversation, then tap the trash can to delete the thread.

  • How do I turn off messages on my Apple Watch?

    If you don't want to receive messages on your Watch, open the Watch app on your iPhone and tap My Watch > Notifications. Tap Messages > Custom, then tap Notifications Off.

  • How do I delete all the messages on my Apple Watch at once?

    There's no real option to delete multiple messages on your Apple Watch at the same time. You'll need to delete message threads individually.

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