One of the main focal points of the Apple Watch is communication, and as such, it offers a Messages app much like the one on the iPhone. It's not quite as robust as the Messages apps available on other iOS and Mac devices, but Messages on Apple Watch lets you send pre-made replies, animated and non-animated emoji, and full voice-to-text messages.

For those of you who want to learn the ins and outs of creating and responding to messages on the Apple Watch, we've written up a detailed tutorial on the Messages app. Plus we've also got some tips on customizing the available options for communicating with others.

Sending a Message

  1. How to send messages on Apple Watch 4Press the Digital Crown to go to the Home screen on Apple Watch.
  2. Open the Messages app.
  3. Firmly press on the Messages list until the icon for New Message appears.
  4. Tap "New Message."
  5. Tap "Add Contact" to select the recipient.
  6. Tap the icon to add a contact. (It looks like the silhouette of a person with a plus (+) symbol next to it.)
  7. Select a contact. Then, select the phone number or Apple ID you wish to use for that person.
  8. Tap "Create Message."
  9. Use the Default Replies, Emoji, or Dictate Text to send the message.

Sending a message can also be done quickly by tapping the button underneath the Digital Crown to bring up your friends list, where you can select a favorite contact. From there just tap the Message icon to get to the messaging options. If you've already got a list of conversations available in the Messages app (which you likely do if you use Messages on the iPhone), you can also just click there to continue a conversation from your wrist.

Responding to a Message

How to send messages on apple watchWith Messages on Apple Watch, you will get an alert when you receive a new iMessage or text message. To read it, simply raise your wrist. You can also view and respond to text messages directly from the Messages app.

  1. Press the Digital Crown to go to the Home screen on Apple Watch
  2. Open the Messages App.
  3. Select the message you wish to read.
  4. Turn the Digital Crown to scroll to the bottom of the message.
  5. Tap "Reply."
  6. Use the Default Replies, Emoji, or Dictate Text to send the message.

Customizing Default Replies

How to send messages on Apple Watch 2When responding to a text message on Apple Watch, Apple gives you a half dozen auto-reply phrases, like "OK" or "Sorry, I can’t talk right now." However, those phrases aren't exactly personal. For example, I don't think I've ever told someone that I can't talk right now. You can change the six phrases to be something a bit more akin to your personality.

  1. Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap My Watch.
  3. Scroll down to Messages and select it.
  4. Tap "Default Replies."
  5. Select one of the grayed out messages, like "What's up?"
  6. Type your customized message in the text field.

On Apple Watch, when replying to a text message, the newly customized phrases will be listed.

Customizing Animated Emoji

How to send messages on Apple Watch 6There are three different animated emoji on Apple Watch: a smiley face, a heart, and a hand. Each one can be slightly altered to appear different. For example, the smiley face can become a frown or the fist-bump can become a wave.

  1. Under the Reply section of a message, tap the emoji icon.
  2. Swipe left or right to select the emoji you wish to use.
  3. When selected, turn the Digital Crown to view the different animation options, like a breaking heart or a crying face.
  4. If you force press on the animated smiley face or heart emoji, you can change their color.
  5. Tap Send.

It is important to note that you can send the emoji to an iOS device or Mac and the animated emoji will be displayed, but those platforms do not directly support sending animated emojis return without copying and pasting a previously received one. You can also send standard emoji to people from the Apple Watch by swiping all the way left to the fourth page of emoji options.

Sending Full Texts Using Dictate Text

How to send messages on Apple Watch 3For responding to messages that require more than an emoji response or canned text, you can reply using the Dictate Text feature. This makes it possible for you to send longer messages by speaking text aloud, which is then sent as an audio message or converted to text. The Apple Watch's dictation feature is quite robust and it's a great way to quickly respond to messages.

  1. Under the Reply section of a message, tap the microphone icon.
  2. Begin speaking. Don't forget to include punctuation. For example, if you wish to add an exclamation point, speak the words, "Exclamation point."
  3. A sample sentence might be "I'm going to the grocery store period Do you need anything question mark." That'll translate into "I'm going to the grocery store. Do you need anything?"

  4. When finished, tap Done.
  5. You can choose to send it as an audio clip or as a text, but if you plan to send as audio, you'll want to skip dictating the punctuation.

Spend some time experimenting with the text to speech feature -- you'll likely find it useful. With that option plus custom pre-selected responses, you may find yourself sending messages more and more from your wrist instead of pulling out your iPhone. There are also several other ways to communicate more intimately with people on the Apple Watch, including taps, sketches, and heartbeats, and those options are also well worth exploring.

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Series 6
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)
Related Forum: Apple Watch

Top Rated Comments

C DM Avatar
80 months ago
As cool as it is that MacRumors is making these articles and I respect the writers and staff.

The fact these things even need to be said says to me the watch is too complicated and hard to use. I mean really a guide for responding to text messages?

Just my thoughts.
Some people find it hard to connect a DVD player to their TV even when it requires a single cable that comes with it. Doesn't mean that it's actually complicated or hard to use though.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
pragmatous Avatar
80 months ago
i suppose this is useful for the all 40 people that actually have one.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Quu Avatar
80 months ago
As cool as it is that MacRumors is making these articles and I respect the writers and staff.

The fact these things even need to be said says to me the watch is too complicated and hard to use. I mean really a guide for responding to text messages?

Just my thoughts.

EDIT: Since some people didn't get what I was trying to say. This article is unnecessary, the watch is not hard to use. I was being perhaps a bit too sarcastic and it went over your heads. I thought I made that clear with "As cool as it is that MacRumors is making these articles and I respect the writers and staff." and [I]"I mean really a guide for responding to text messages?"[/I] but clearly not.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
UncleDannie Avatar
80 months ago
How To. . . .

I'm 71 years old and consider myself pretty computer savvy, but each and every OS has it's own peculiarities and deviations, so I enjoy these little "how to" articles. Keep them coming. Even if one is not needed, overall, they all help.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
doelcm82 Avatar
80 months ago
And that right there is the problem with these posts. If you spend more than two minutes using the watch you'll see these posts are wholly unnecessary and are simply filler on a slow news day. It gives a very inaccurate impression of the watch which is quite intuitive to use.
I don't think these posts are for people who already have the Apple Watch.

When I first got my iPad, I took it to England (where I was working at the time). One of the people I worked with told me her husband had drawn an iPad out on paper, and was practicing on the paper version. It wasn't available in the UK yet. I gave her the box mine had come in, with the full-sized photo of the iPad on the front. I worried that it might be condescending, but she said he was really grateful.

The first computer I ever saw in person was a TRS-PC. A pocket computer with less than 1K RAM. My father let me play with it, and I was hooked. He wouldn't let me take the computer out of his sight, but he loaned me the instruction manual, which I read cover to cover.

These articles are p*rn for those who want an Apple Watch but haven't yet got one. If they had a Watch, they'd be figuring it out on their own, as you say, no problem. But they don't (yet). When they get their own, they'll pick it up even quicker than a novice, because they'll have already gone through the motions in their mind.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Jason83 Avatar
80 months ago
As cool as it is that MacRumors is making these articles and I respect the writers and staff.

The fact these things even need to be said says to me the watch is too complicated and hard to use. I mean really a guide for responding to text messages?

Just my thoughts.

And that right there is the problem with these posts. If you spend more than two minutes using the watch you'll see these posts are wholly unnecessary and are simply filler on a slow news day. It gives a very inaccurate impression of the watch which is quite intuitive to use.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

YouTube Picture in Picture Feature

YouTube Says iOS Picture-in-Picture Coming to All US Users

Friday June 18, 2021 9:41 am PDT by
After a long wait, YouTube for iOS is officially gaining picture-in-picture support, allowing all users, non-premium and premium subscribers, to close the YouTube app and continue watching their video in a small pop-up window. In a statement to MacRumors, YouTube says that picture-in-picture is currently rolling out to all premium subscribers on iOS and that a larger rollout to all US iOS...
Top Stories 63 Feature

Top Stories: Beats Studio Buds Announced, Apple Watch Series 7 Rumors, and More

Saturday June 19, 2021 6:00 am PDT by
The Apple news cycle started to move beyond WWDC this week, but that doesn't mean there still wasn't a lot to talk about, led by the official debut of the much-leaked Beats Studio Buds that might give us a hint of what to expect for the second-generation AirPods Pro. With no hardware announcements at WWDC, we also took a look at when we might finally see the long-rumored redesigned MacBook...
ios wifi settings

iOS Bug Causes Specific Network Name to Disable Wi-Fi on iPhones

Sunday June 20, 2021 4:15 am PDT by
A wireless network naming bug has been discovered in iOS that effectively disables an iPhone's ability to connect to Wi-Fi. Security researcher Carl Schou found that after joining a Wi-Fi network with the name "%p%s%s%s%s%n" his iPhone's Wi-Fi functionality was left "permanently disabled." Changing a hotspot's SSID did nothing to correct the problem, with even a reboot failing to make a...
maxresdefault

Video: 20 Annoyances Apple Fixed in iOS 15 and macOS Monterey

Friday June 18, 2021 11:36 am PDT by
With iOS 15 and macOS Monterey, Apple is adding several quality of life improvements, which are designed to address some of the complaints that people have had with these operating systems for years now. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. In our latest YouTube video, we're highlighting some of our favorite "fix" features that address long-running problems in iOS and...
16 inch macbook pro m2 render

When Can We Expect the Redesigned MacBook Pros Now?

Wednesday June 16, 2021 7:11 am PDT by
With no sign of redesigned MacBook Pro models at this year's WWDC, when can customers expect the much-anticipated new models to launch? A number of reports, including investor notes from Morgan Stanley and Wedbush analysts, claimed that new MacBook Pro models would be coming during this year's WWDC. This did not happen, much to the disappointment of MacBook Pro fans, who have been...
space gray magic accessories trio

Apple Stops Selling Magic Accessories in Space Gray

Friday June 18, 2021 9:16 am PDT by
Apple this week stopped selling its Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad, Magic Mouse 2, and Magic Trackpad 2 accessories for the Mac in a Space Gray color, around three months after discontinuing the iMac Pro, which also came in Space Gray. Last month, Apple listed the Space Gray accessories as available while supplies last, and the company has now removed the product pages from its website...
m1 v intel thumb

Intel Processor Market Share May Fall to New Low Next Year Due to Apple Silicon

Friday June 18, 2021 2:06 am PDT by
Intel may see its market share fall to a new low next year, in large part thanks to Apple's decision to move away from using Intel processors in its Mac computers and instead use Apple silicon. Apple announced last year that it would embark on a two-year-long journey to transition all of its Mac computers, both desktops, and laptops, to use its own in-house processors. Apple is expected to...
3nm apple silicon feature

Apple Supplier TSMC Readies 3nm Chip Production for Second Half of 2022

Friday June 18, 2021 6:59 am PDT by
Apple supplier TSMC is preparing to produce 3nm chips in the second half of 2022, and in the coming months, the supplier will begin production of 4nm chips, according to a new report from DigiTimes. Apple had previously booked the initial capacity of TSMC's 4nm chip production for future Macs and more recently ordered TSMC to begin production of the A15 chip for the upcoming iPhone 13,...
2021 back t0 school

Apple Launches 2021 Back to School Promotion: Free AirPods With Eligible Mac or iPad Purchase

Thursday June 17, 2021 4:56 am PDT by
Apple today launched its seasonal back-to-school sale for the upcoming school year in the United States and Canada, offering students free AirPods alongside purchases of select Macs and iPad models. Similar to last year's promotion, this year's offer includes free AirPods alongside the purchase of a MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, the new 24-inch iMac, the Mac Pro, Mac mini, and the new M1-powered ...
applecare lower prices

Apple Lowers Prices of AppleCare+ Plans for M1 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro

Thursday June 17, 2021 7:33 am PDT by
Apple today lowered the prices of AppleCare+ plans for MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro models equipped with the M1 chip. Coverage offered by the plans, as well as accidental damage fees, appear to remain unchanged. In the United States, AppleCare+ for the MacBook Air now costs $199, down from $249. The new price applies to both M1 and Intel-based MacBook Air models, although Apple no...