Apple Watch Not Ringing When Receiving Calls? [Easy Fix]

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1 Minute Summary

The Apple Watch is the iPhone’s ultimate extension. More a lifestyle device than a sports or healthcare smartwatch, the Apple Watch Series will vibrate or ring when you receive notifications or phone calls. Well, that’s the theory. But, call notifications will often not appear, leaving you frustrated and confused.

Luckily, if your Apple Watch is not ringing, it does not necessarily mean that your watch is broken and that you need to contact Apple support immediately.

Below is a list of easy fixes that should bring back your Apple Watch to life when you receive a call:

  • Check that the Sound is enabled on your iPhone,
  • Check that the Do Not Disturb (DND) mode is not turned on,
  • Check that the Theater or Silent Modes are not enabled,
  • Check that your iPhone and Apple Watch are correctly paired and use the same Apple ID,
  • Check that both your iPhone and Apple Watch software are updated,
  • Restart both your iPhone and Apple Watch.

Is your Apple Watch still not ringing? Keep on reading as I will describe in detail how to follow the procedures.

Check the sound and notification settings

Apple Watch Notifications Settings

Checking the notifications settings is a critical step, but it must be done correctly on both the Apple Watch and iPhone sides.

Open the Watch app on your iPhone. Then, from the “My Watch” menu, tap on “Notifications” and ensure that the “Notifications Indicator” is switched on.

Notifications can be controlled both globally and locally. After making sure that the notifications are enabled at the global level, it is time to check your phone’s specific settings.

Stay on the same screen and swipe until you reach the “Phone” setting and tap on it. You will then have two options:

  1. Mirror my iPhone
  2. Custom

I always use the “Mirror my iPhone” setting but if you want to have a little bit more control over the different options, choose “Custom.” A menu will appear. Just make sure that “Allow Notifications” is selected. You will then have the possibility to select if the alerts will trigger a sound or just a discrete haptic vibration when receiving incoming calls.

Sound Notifications Setting

The Alert volume is set on the Apple watch. Access the “Settings” by pressing the digital crown and scrolling until you reach the “Sounds & Haptics” menu. Ensure that the sound notifications are set to an appropriate volume, and even more important, the “Silent mode” is not selected.

Check the iPhone Notifications Privacy Settings

Over the years, Apple made it easy not to be disturbed by unknown callers or IRS spammers.

The “Privacy” menu on the iPhone is the one to look at to ensure that the “Notifications Privacy” settings are not toggled on. If it is, only your contact numbers will ring on your phone, which may be helpful but filter potential important calls.

Check the Apple Watch Modes: DND, Theather, Silent

The alert volume is not the only setting to check when waiting for incoming calls. From the Apple Watch Control center, it is possible to fine-tune your watch to the places and circumstances. When at the cinema or in the middle of a meeting, the last thing we want is a ringing watch.

As easy as it is to switch your iPhone to mute, the same goes with the Apple Watch.

The Do Not Disturb, Theather, Silent, and airplane modes are great if you use them when you need to and think about switching them off.

If our phone settings look good, it may be a good idea to look at the Apple Watch’s Control Center. First, make sure that the Do Not Disturb mode is not activated. Remember that your Apple Watch mirrors your iPhone, so check it is not set to silent mode.

Turn off the Passcode and Turn on the automatic Wrist detection

I know it may sound weird, but not being able to receive incoming calls can sometimes be linked to the Apple Watch protection features. But, of course, the watch will need to be on your wrist to receive calls.

Other devices such as the Garmin smartwatches are not picky, but the Apple watch is. When on your wrist will automatically unlock or ask for a passcode. From time to time, these settings can lead to an automatic lock of the Apple Watch that will not show any incoming calls.

If you have a passcode on your Apple Watch, you should deactivate it and see if that helps resolve the problem with the inbound call alert. First, navigate to the Settings menu on your watch, select “Passcode,” and then select “Turn Passcode Off.” While in the menu, don’t forget to turn “Wrist Detection” on.

Apple Watches are designed to lock when you remove them from your wrist and do not automatically unlock themselves when the watch is reattached. Therefore, do not forget this trick!

Restart your Apple Watch and iPhone

To receive incoming calls, your devices must not only be adequately set, but their built-in memory may also need a fresh wipe meaning a restart.

Maintaining pressure on the side button while sliding the power off button will force your Apple Watch to restart.

To force restart your iPhone, you must simultaneously press and hold the volume button and the Siri button until the Apple logo appears on the display.

Alternately, if you have a more recent model, you can turn the device off by pressing and holding the side button and any volume buttons until the Slide to Power Off button appears.

When you need to restart your Apple Watch or iPhone, you should first power off the device for one to two minutes before turning it back on again.

When you encounter any technical problem, you should first try to restart your devices. This is always the best course of action to take.

Update your Apple Watch

A software update may not be the solution for everything, but keeping your devices updated is always good practice.

From the iPhone, open the Apple Watch App, tap on “General,” and select “Software update.”

The other option is to use the watch itself. In the “Settings” menu, tap on”General” and select “Software Update.” As I said, the Apple Watch is the mirror of the iPhone, and a lot of the procedures are identical on either device.

Unpair and Repair your Apple Watch

I recommend using this tip as a last resort option before contacting Apple Support. If nothing worked and your Apple Watch still refuses to show incoming calls, starting an unpairing/pairing process may be the solution. Still, I find it cumbersome, and I am not very comfortable with the risk of losing all of my data.

To wrap up

Receiving incoming calls directly on the Apple Watch opens a whole realm of possibilities. No need to always have your iPhone with you. You can leave it in your pocket or bag and still be able to answer a call…as long as the cellular service is strong enough.

An Apple Watch not ringing is often linked to an issue with the notification settings or the privacy modes. I hope that this article will have helped you solve any potential issues you may have and that your Apple Watch will indeed be an extension of your iPhone.