Can’t send an audio clip voice message from your Apple Watch? Learn how

Audio clip voice messages have become a standard method of communication for iPhone users — but for Apple Watch users, sending an audio clip as a voice message isn’t as straightforward as it should be.

Apple Watch users know that they can send messages from their watch directly by either dictating or transcribing them. So what about voice messages?

Yes! You can record and send audio clip voice messages from your Apple Watch. However, how you can do so depends on what Apple Watch model and watchOS you use. 

Keep reading to learn how to send an audio clip voice message from your Apple Watch.

Suggested reading:

Why send an audio message using your Apple Watch?

Audio messages are like voicemail messages, but using the Messages app instead of actually calling someone. They’re a quick way to say hi or send an update, so your contacts hear your voice instead of reading text.

We like sending audio clips instead of text messages when your emotions need to shine through–which is a lot easier to make out in a voice recording.

You can even sing a song or record sounds in your environment and send those audio clips through the Messages app. Pretty nifty!

Before you begin, make sure that dictation works on your Apple Watch by using your watch’s microphone. A good test is to ask Siri something!

Sending an audio clip in Messages using watchOS 8 and later

For users with the latest Apple Watch and watchOS versions, sending an audio message is super easy to do once you know how to do so!

  1. Open the Messages app on your Apple Watch and either create a new message or reply to a message. apple watch create new message
  2. When creating a new message, follow these steps:
    1. Select who you want to send a message to, then tap the Create Message box. Click on the App Icon.app icon highlighted messages
    2. Select the Audio Message icon (it looks like a mini waveform.)audio clip voice message button
  3. When sending a reply, tap on the App Icon then select the Audio Message icon
  4. Once you click on the Audio Message button, speak your audio message into the watch and press Donesend audio clip message apple watch
  5. Then press Send. It’s that simple!

Create and send an audio clip in Messages using watchOS 7 and earlier Apple Watch audio message and clip in Messages app

Now, if you want to send an audio message from an older Apple Watch model, there are some extra steps you need to follow and settings you need to change.

Your watch’s default Message app setting for a dictated message is to send it as text, not as audio. So if you want to send your dictated messages as audio clips OR want the option to send as audio clips or typed messages, you need to change the default setting for when you dictate a message.

  1. First, open the Watch app on your paired iPhone, and make sure you are in the My Watch tab.
  2. Scroll down to Messages and tap Dictated Messages. Usually, you see the default Transcript there. Dicatated messages default settings in iPhone Watch app
  3. From there, you are going to have to choose between three options: Transcript, Audio, or Transcript or Audio. Selecting one of these options sets the default for each time you dictate a reply. Dictated Messages settings in Apple Watch app
    1. To always send as a text, choose Transcript. Dictations are always sent as text messages. This is the default setting.
    2. If you tap Audio, anything you dictate is sent as an audio clip that others listen to. They will not get a text message to read. Dictations are always sent as audio messages.
    3. If you tap Transcript or Audio, you get to choose the format of your dictated message each time. We recommend selecting this option!
  4. Once you make your decision, try it out.
    1. Press the microphone button and dictate a message from your Apple Watch’s Messages app. 
    2. Tap Done.
    3. After you dictate a message, tap Send as audio or Send as text. Send as audio or send as text for dictated messages on Apple Watch
      1. Send as audio shows the voice waveform icon to send your voice message as an audio clip.
      2. Send as text shows the typed words of what you said.

Can’t send audio messages because the microphone is grayed out or unavailable? 

If you can’t record voice messages in the Messages app, check that your watch’s microphone works. A quick way to check this is to ask Siri something. 

If the microphone isn’t working, go to the Watch app > General and check that you turned on Enable Dictation. Enable Dictation feature on Apple Watch

If that’s on, try cleaning your watch with a microfiber cloth paying particular attention to the tiny microphone hole that’s under the Digital Crown and above the Side button.

Make sure nothing is stuck in there or blocking it–but don’t stick anything in it, you might destroy it. Cases and screen protectors can often block the mic, so remove these and test again.

Turning the watch’s water lock on and off is also a good idea since it clears out any water or liquid that got inside the mic chamber through vibration.

    1. Open Control Center on your watch and tap Water Lock. water lock on Apple Watch in control center
    2. Turn the Digital Crown to unlock the screen and clear water from its mic and speaker.

apple watch unlocked from water lock

Finally, restarting your Apple Watch or forced restarting it often helps too. 

Final thoughts

Many Apple users love sending audio messages to their contacts because it’s quicker than texting a message or playing phone tag. 

Many Apple Watch users don’t even realize they have this feature since it is kind of hidden.

Plus, with the dictation button looking similar to the voice message app, it’s not surprising that some users get those two different features mixed up.

Now you know how to send a voice message from your Apple Watch! 

I'm a content writer with a passion for all things lifestyle having earned my Bachelor of Science in journalism from St. John's University. I was born and raised in Southern California. My Apple Watch never leaves my wrist, but I also adore Fitbit. I love all things health tech, including fitness and self-care apps. When I'm not writing, I enjoy traveling, reading, and drinking iced coffee!

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