How to Fix It When an Apple Watch Is Not Vibrating

Try restarting the watch first; a re-sync might be necessary next

This article explains how to fix it when your Apple Watch isn't vibrating for text messages.

Why Isn't My Apple Watch Notifying Me When I Get a Text?

Here's a look at reasons why your Apple Watch might not be notifying you when you get a text.

  • The connection has dropped. Your iPhone and Apple Watch use Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to communicate with each other. If the connection drops or falters, you won't receive texts correctly.
  • Airplane Mode is active. If Airplane Mode is activated on your iPhone, the Wi-Fi connection is dropped, which means the two devices can't connect and share information.
  • Do Not Disturb is switched on. If Do Not Disturb is turned on, your Apple Watch won't vibrate when you receive text messages or other notifications. 
  • Your software is outdated. If you haven't updated your Apple Watch or iPhone in a while, the connection may fail. Keep both devices updated to the latest software for the best compatibility. 
  • You have notifications switched off. It's possible to switch off notifications on your Apple Watch, which means the device will no longer notify you when you get a text. 
  • Cover to Mute is switched on. Cover to Mute silences incoming alerts or notifications meaning your Apple Watch won't vibrate when you receive a message.

How Do I Make My Apple Watch Vibrate For Text Notifications?

If your Apple Watch isn't vibrating for text notifications, there are several ways you can fix the problem. Here are some methods to try in order of what works most effectively.

  1. Restart your Apple Watch. Restarting your Apple Watch and iPhone can fix many common connection issues.

  2. Re-sync your Apple Watch. Check your Apple Watch and iPhone are correctly connected and working properly. If you see a red iPhone icon or a red X icon on your Apple Watch, you may need to move the devices closer to each other or re-pair your Apple Watch with your iPhone.

  3. Make sure you're wearing your Apple Watch correctly. Check you're wearing it carefully on your wrist so the sensor detects you correctly.

  4. Turn off Wrist Detection. Switching off wrist detection will circumvent the sensor. Go to Settings > Passcode > Wrist Detection to turn it Off.

  5. Turn off Airplane Mode. If your iPhone or Apple Watch is in Airplane Mode, they can't communicate with each other via Wi-Fi. Switch the mode off to restore the connection.

  6. Turn off Do Not Disturb Mode. When Do Not Disturb mode is switched on, you won't receive notifications until you switch it back off. Check the Apple Watch's Control Center to confirm both this and Airplane Mode are switched off.

  7. Disable Cover to Mute. Just like Do Not Disturb, Cover to Mute silences notifications. On your iPhone, go to the Apple Watch app > My Watch > Sounds & Haptics > Cover to Mute.

  8. Turn on mirrored notifications. On your iPhone, go to the Apple Watch app > My Watch > Notifications > Phone > Mirror my iPhone to check that mirrored notifications are switched on. 

  9. Update your Apple Watch software. Update both your Apple Watch and iPhone to the latest software to fix any bugs which may occur between the two devices. 

  10. Reset your iPhone network settings. Go to Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings to reset your iPhone network settings, and then restart the phone. Sometimes, this can fix connection issues. 

  • Why doesn't my phone vibrate when I have my Apple Watch on?

    If your iPhone is locked, notifications and vibrations come through only on your unlocked Apple Watch; you can only receive alerts from one or the other. If your iPhone is unlocked, your phone might be on silent mode with vibration disabled. To make your iPhone vibrate, go to Settings > Sound & Haptics > Vibrate on Silent.

  • Why is my Apple Watch not vibrating when I get a call?

    You could have Do Not Disturb or Airplane Mode enabled. Swipe up or touch and hold the bottom of the display to look for a highlighted moon or airplane icon in the Apple Watch Control Center. Also, check that haptics are on; go to Settings > Sounds & Haptics on your watch and Phone > Ringtone > Haptic on the Apple Watch app for iPhone.

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