How to Text on the Apple Watch

Use the Apple Watch to send and receive messages

It’s relatively straightforward to use your Apple Watch for texting. Whether you’re looking to send messages or reply to ones you’ve received, Apple Watch can help you do just that without having to use your iPhone

Can you Text on Apple Watch?

Apple Watch Messages interface
Lifewire / Rob LeFebvre

You sure can. Make sure your Watch is connected to a Wi-Fi or cellular network (or your iPhone) and do the following.

  1. To send a Message with your Apple Watch, simply activate Siri with the Digital Crown (or tap the screen/raise your wrist and saying, “Hey Siri”) and say “Text [Contact Name].”

    If you have an Apple Watch with cellular, you’ll be able to Message with friends whether your Apple Watch is connected to Wi-Fi or not. If you have a Wi-Fi only Apple Watch, you’ll need your iPhone nearby or have your watch connected to a Wi-Fi network.

  2. Siri will ask what you want to say. Simply respond with your voice, something like “Hi there, how are you?” or “Did you remember to pick up the milk?”

  3. Siri will respond with “OK, I’ll send this:” with the message written in a blue Messages bubble on your Apple Watch screen. Your contact will get the message unless you tap Don’t Send below the proposed message. 

    Texting with Siri on Apple Watch

Texting on Apple Watch Directly

If you don’t want to use Siri (maybe you’re in a small office and don’t want everyone to hear what you’re saying), you can start a message from your Apple Watch. 

  1. Bring up the Apple Watch grid and tap the Message icon. You’ll see a list of any previous message conversations. To start a new message, hard press the Apple Watch screen, then tap New Message.

    Message icon Apple Watch, Hard Press, New message icon
  2. Tap Add Contact to choose who to send the message to. You can dictate it, tap the contact icon to choose from a list of all your contacts, or tap the phone dial icon to tap in a phone number. You can also scroll down using the Digital Crown to choose a frequently used contact. 

    Add Contact screens on Apple Watch
  3. Next, tap Create Message. You can dictate a message, use Apple’s handwriting recognition system (Scribble), or send a heart pulse or emoji. Once you’ve finished your message, tap Send.

Responding to Apple Watch Messages

When you get a text on your Apple Watch, you’ll see the initial notification. Simply tap it to see the message. To respond, you have a few options. 

  1. Tap the microphone icon to dictate a response, say your message, then tap Send. You can tap Cancel if you decide not to dictate. 

  2. Tap the Scribble icon to “write” your message, one letter at a time. Scroll with the Digital Crown to choose from a list of Auto Complete options. When you’ve finished, tap Send or Cancel

    Dictation icon, screen, autocomplete options on Apple Watch
  3. Tap the Emoji icon to send an emoji, the heart icon to send a heart pulse, and the Apple Pay icon to send money (assuming you’ve set Apple Pay up). 

  4. You can also reply to a message with a pre-made “handwritten” word, like “hello,” “congratulations,” or “happy birthday.” Tap the Emoji icon, then tap More Stickers, and scroll to the bottom. Tap the message you want to send.

  5. To choose from a list of pre-defined messages, simply scroll the Digital Crown and tap the one you want to send. 

  6. If you’re really into quick replies, double tap the message sent to you and choose a Tapback icon. You can choose a heart, thumbs up or down, HaHa, exclamation point, or question mark. 

    Canned messages and TapBack options on Apple Watch

Create Custom Canned Responses for Texting on Apple Watch

While there are a good number of canned responses ready for your replies, you can also customize this list with things that might be specific to you. 

  1. Launch the Watch app on your iPhone, then tap Messages > Default Replies.

    Watch app icon, Messages button, Default Replies button on iPhone

    To turn the feature off, tap the toggle at the top of the list.

  2. Next, if you want to edit the Smart Replies already in the list, tap the Edit icon at the top right. Tap the reply and type your replacement message, then tap Done when finished. 

    Tap the red circle with the dash in it to delete a reply.

  3. If you want to create a completely new reply, scroll to the bottom of the list and tap Add reply. You’ll be able to then type in whatever message you want on the list, which will then be available from the Apple Watch the next time you respond to a message. 

    Smart Replies toggle, editing smart reply, Add reply icon on iPhone