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This article was published on April 24, 2015

What’s your Apple Watch notification strategy?

What’s your Apple Watch notification strategy?
Martin SFP Bryant
Story by

Martin SFP Bryant


Martin Bryant is founder of Big Revolution, where he helps tech companies refine their proposition and positioning, and develops high-qualit Martin Bryant is founder of Big Revolution, where he helps tech companies refine their proposition and positioning, and develops high-quality, compelling content for them. He previously served in several roles at TNW, including Editor-in-Chief. He left the company in April 2016 for pastures new.

The Apple Watch, early orders of which are delivered to buyers today, is supposed to help iPhone users spend less time looking at their phones by getting important notifications sent straight to their wrists. The problem? The notifications aren’t granular enough yet, meaning you really need to be picky about which apps you allow access to your Watch.

Yes, notifications for each app on your phone can only be ‘on’ or ‘off’ on your Watch. If you only want Twitter DM notifications on your wrist (but not mentions, new followers, etc), you’ll need to have Twitter set up to only send DM notifications on your phone.

This situation will no doubt improve over time but for now, you’re going to need a carefully planned notification strategy. After all, if having your wrist buzz with Candy Crush alerts just isn’t cool when you’re on a date.

Apple Watch twitter

Me? My Apple Watch is waiting for me to get set up over the weekend once TNW Europe Conference is out of the way, and I’ve been thinking about how few apps I’ll want notifications for.

Email? Hell no – that would be a nightmare. The day I switched off push notifications for email on my phone was the day I took back control of my life from my inbox. Suddenly I was empowered to check my email when I want, not when it wants. Turning them back on for my watch would be a big step backwards.

Calendar alerts? Yes – knowing about my next appointment at a glance is genuinely useful. The calendar is granted access to my wrist.

Twitter? No – I like having notifications about mentions, notable new followers etc on my phone, so I’m not turning them off just so I can have only DMs on Watch.

Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn etc?  No – I just don’t care enough to be bothered by these services on my wrist. If I could just get new friend request, maybe, but everything else is just noise in the sacred space that is my wrist.

Slack? Yes – knowing when I’m mentioned or directly messaged on Slack is handy, and it shouldn’t bother me too much. I tend to be contacted there about pretty time-sensitive issues.

Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp etc? Yes – that sounds useful, as long as I don’t get too many messages, then they’re getting switched off.

Games? No way.

You get the idea… When it comes to app notifications, my Apple Watch is only going to be a calendar and message alerts device.

There’s more the Watch can offer – fitness tracking; easy access to Siri and Apple Pay; wrist-based interfaces for useful iPhone apps like Citymapper, Uber and Flipboard, and more. Notifications though? I’m going super-minimal until Apple allows more fine-grained control, and that’s a shame.

Don’t miss: Win an Apple Watch

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