Like many Apple Watch users, managing what notifications I get on my Apple Watch is something I keep an eye on. When I first got an Apple Watch one of the early pieces of advice was to cut back on the notifications as much as possible and it’s something I’ve stuck with and now only get notifications of calendar events, emails, and messages (be they SMS, WhatsApp, Telegram, Facebook Messenger), plus the Activity/Health related ones.
And, like many Apple iOS users, I don’t use the default Apple applications; I think Fantastical is better than Calendar, Spark is better than Mail, and Spotify is better than Music. YMMV but these are my choices, and annoyingly there isn’t a way to tell iOS that these are MY defaults (and I presume Apple has some way to discern this so I’m guessing the percentage of people using the default apps is still in the majority).
However, when it comes to calendar alerts I’ve noticed one weird behaviour which, and I’m presuming it’s a bug, I’d been putting up in the hope it’d get fixed but as it’s been a while now I’m guessing it’s not gonna happen any time soon so I sat down to work through the options I had available to me.
And yes, that likely means that in the next versions of watchOS and iOS this will get fixed but.. whatever! (also, why not phoneOS, just saying).
The symptoms of the issue are simple, I was getting Apple Calendar notifications on my Apple Watch even when I’d turned off Notifications on both iOS, in the Watch settings, and I’ve even removed the Calendar app from both devices as well! Sure, it’s a minor annoyance but as Fantastical provides notifications of events it meant that everytime something in my calendar cropped up, I’d receive two notifications on my Watch. Buzz buzz… pause…. buzz buzz. GAH!
I trawled the Apple support forums, googled every combination I could think of to turn up something but nothing I tried worked. However, I think after a lot of trial and error, I have a solution. It’s a little counter-intuitive but it’s worked for me and over the past couple of weeks I’ve yet to get a notification from the Calendar app on my Watch! YA BEAUTY!
How to stop Calendar event notifications on your Apple Watch
- Make sure you have the Calendar app installed on your iPhone.
- On your iPhone, go to Watch Settings, then to Notifications, and set Calendar to ‘Mirror my iPhone’ (the second section doesn’t matter).
- In iPhone Settings go to Notifications, select Calendar and turn ON notifications (bear with me!).
- Go through each item in the list and turn off all the settings, including setting Sounds and Vibration to None (it should look like the image below). It’s a bit of a faff I know.
That’s it! I’ve not had a notification on my Watch from the Calendar app since.
This definitely feels like there is a bug where the overall Notifications on/off switch isn’t being honoured, so removing all the options so that there is nothing to trigger seems like the workaround, despite leaving Notifications ‘ON’, is a fudge but it works.
I’ve logged the above with Apple in the hope they fix it at some point, and vaguely hope that at some point they may even allow us poor plebs the option of setting different default apps instead of all this faffing! Hahahaha… I can dream, right!?
Also published on Medium.