Fossil Wear OS smartwatch not receiving texts or notifications? How to fix it

Wear OS Fossil smartwatch notifications

If you own a Fossil wear OS smartwatch or any other wear OS watch, you know how essential these watches are becoming in keeping track of your life.

Being able to read texts and other app notifications on your wrist without needing to open your mobile phone is a key convenience and, for some, a critical feature.

Unfortunately, Wear OS notification problems aren’t uncommon. These issues happen for a bunch of different reasons — some trivial, some outright annoying. So if your watch stops showing your alerts and notifications even when connected, you aren’t alone.

And that’s why we put together this guide to help fix your Fossil or other Wear OS watch with some simple steps to identify the culprits behind it and tips on how to fix it.

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Before you start troubleshooting, let’s run through some housekeeping

  • Check that your watch and your phone run their latest operating systems (wear OS, Android operating system, and for iPhone users, iOS.) If updates are available, update first, then check if notifications work on your watch.
  • If you aren’t getting texts on your watch from a particular app (especially third-party texting apps,) make sure that the app is also installed on your watch.
  • Turn off any power savings, low power mode, or battery saver feature on your watch and phone.
  • Reboot both your phone and watch and see if your notifications show up with a simple restart of both devices.

For Fossil smartwatches, when you get a notification, your watch vibrates. It does not beep or notify you with a sound.

Why your Wear OS watch isn’t receiving texts and notifications and steps to fix it

Pairing issues

If your Fossil watch and phone aren’t pairing, it may entirely cut the flow of notifications. So, it’s a good idea to start your troubleshooting process by checking whether your Fossil watch and your phone are paired.

When your watch isn’t pairing, check if your watch shows a Disconnected icon on its screen or open the Wear OS app and check that your watch shows as Connected via Bluetooth. Settings in Wear OS app for watch Connected via Bluetooth

If not, look in your phone’s Bluetooth settings and see if your watch shows as a connected device. If not, tap the device to reconnect it. 

Are you connected to the internet? Connectivity settings on Wear OS watch in Settings

You don’t get notifications if your watch can’t connect to data. Try toggling the WiFi or mobile data settings. If you’re on WiFi, try switching to mobile data and vice versa. 

  • Open the Settings app on your watch.
  • Choose Connectivity. connectivity settings for WiFi and Bluetooth on Fossil Wear OS watch
  • Select Bluetooth or WiFi and turn one of them off to force your watch to switch its connection to the other. 

Not having the Wear OS app on your phone install Wear OS app on Android phone and Wear OS smartwatch

Check that the Wear OS app is installed and updated to its latest version on your phone and your watch.

You or someone you share your smartphone with may have uninstalled the app by accident or may have cleared the app data. It happens.

Make sure your apps run in the background

To get notifications consistently and on time, apps must run in the background, especially the Wear OS app. 

  • For Android, go to Settings > Apps > See all apps. Tap on an app that’s not giving you notifications, then scroll down and tap Mobile data & Wi-Fi. Toggle on Background data for the Wear OS app and any other app you want notifications, alerts, and texts for. Wear OS app background data enable
  • For iPhone, go to Settings > scroll down to the Wear OS app  > Background App Refresh and toggle it on for the Wear OS app and any other app you want notifications, alerts, and texts for. Background app refresh settings for Wear OS app on iPhone

Check your battery optimization settings (Android only)

Android phones offer an additional battery feature that can interfere with apps running in the background, especially when your phone is locked.

You want the Wear OS app to run continually, so make sure that Wear OS has unrestricted access to your battery.

Go to Settings > Apps > Wear OS > Battery > and set manage battery usage to unrestricted. unrestricted battery on Wear OS app on Android

If you don’t see those settings, go to Settings > Apps & notifications > Advanced > Special app access > Battery optimization and verify that you gave Wear OS unrestricted access (sometimes called Don’t optimize.)

Are you silencing notifications? 

Often, we put our phones on mute/silent, do not disturb, theatre, or airplane modes, and then forget to turn them back onForgetting to turn off these modes often prevents notifications from showing up on your Fossil and wear OS watch. Do Not Disturb settings on Wear OS quick settings Fossil Gen 6

Turn off modes that silence notifications on your Wear OS watch

  1. On your Fossil watch, tap the watch screen to wake up the display or press the side button to wake up the display. 
  2. Swipe down on the screen to launch the Quick Settings screen. 
  3. Check what modes (Sounds, Do Not Disturb, Airplane, Theater) is active (icon is highlighted) and tap it once to turn it off. For example, if the Theater mode icon (looks like a watch) is glowing red, tap the icon once to turn it off. Enable Theater mode Fossil Gen 5 smartwatch

Review your notification settings

Your wear OS Fossil watch uses the same notification settings you have on your phone, so if your phone doesn’t vibrate or ring for an incoming app notification, your watch won’t buzz either!

Look first at your phone’s notification settings

  • On your Android phone, open the Settings app > Notifications > App settings. Select Turned off (or most recent, most frequent) from the top drop-down option
    • Review the list of apps and check for apps listed as off.
    • To turn on alerts for that app, tap the app name and turn the notification settings on. apps with notifications turned off on Android
  • On iPhones, open Settings > Notifications and review the notification style for your listed apps. Change your Show Previews to the Always option or When Unlocked. Notification default settings for iPhone previews
    • Scroll down to an app that you aren’t getting notifications, such as Messages. Check that you allow notifications and that the Show Previews is set to Always. Messages app on iPhone Show Preview options
    • If you select Never, your iPhone won’t push the messages to your watch or any other paired device.

Then, review your watch’s notification settings

  1. After checking your phone’s notification settings, open the Wear OS app and under the Settings category tap Notifications.
  2. Choose Change watch notifications. Change watch notification settings on Wear OS smartwatch Fossil
  3. Review the list of apps and look at the section Won’t notify your watch, toggling on any apps where you want notifications to show up on your watch. Notification settings in Wear OS app

You can also review these settings directly on your watch

  • Go to the Settings app > Apps & notifications > App notifications > Show all.Wear OS watch Settings app for app notification settings
  • Tap each app to select and toggle your notification settings for that app on (or off.) Toggle on app notifications using Settings app on wear OS smartwatch

Blocked app notifications

Yep, we have all faced it — sometimes, an app bugs us a lot by spamming notifications, prompting us to block them. So check that you grant that app permission to send you notifications.

If your watch only haves this problem for a specific app, look at that app’s notification settings and make sure to check if it’s allowed to show you notifications. If not, turn them on or toggle them off and then back on.

Unblock notifications from specific apps from your Wear OS watch

  1. Open the Settings app and choose Apps & notifications > App notifications.
  2. Tap Show Disabled. Wear OS Show disabled notifications on watch via the Settings app
  3. Tap an app that’s disabled and toggle notifications on. disabled app notification on Wear OS watch

Unblock notifications from specific apps from Wear OS app

  1. Open the Wear OS app.
  2. Tap Notifications >  Change watch notifications.
  3. Look at the section Won’t Notify Your Watch for a list of apps that are currently muted. To unmute these, toggle them back on. 

Signing up for Google Play beta program of Wear OS or other apps

If you like to try out the newest offering of apps before they go public (called the beta program), that might be the problem. Try opting out of the beta program, especially if you are a Wear OS beta tester.

Some folks report that opting out of beta version fixed the notification issue. 

Sign out of Google Play beta program (Android users)

  1. Open Google Play At the top right, tap your profile picture or icon.
  2. Choose Manage apps & devices > Beta.
  3. Find the app you want to leave, including if you are a beta tester for Wear OS.
  4. Tap the app to open its detail page.
  5. Under “You’re a beta tester,” scroll down and tap Leave the program to unenroll from the beta program. unenroll from Google Play Beta program

Do note that leaving the beta program may cause you to lose progress and any customizations you made to the app.

Using multiple watches with the same phone

Connecting to multiple smartwatches or activity trackers simultaneously to the same phone causes a lot of problems, especially with notifications!

When using more than one wearable, notifications may not always go to all your wearables. And in some cases, the watch or tracker manufacturer only allows notifications to go to one connected watch.

How to control which notifications you receive on watch?

If you get notifications on your phone that you don’t want to see on your watch, we recommend you toggle off notifications from those specific apps in the Wear OS app.
  1. Open the Wear OS app.
  2. Tap Notifications > Change watch notifications.
  3. Scroll down the list of apps and toggle off any apps you don’t want to receive notifications for on your watch.
  4. All apps with muted notifications for the watch only appear in the section Won’t notify your watch.

Final thoughts

Hopefully, you are now getting all the notifications you want on your Wear OS watch! If not, try rebooting both your phone and watch again after making any changes to either’s settings.

When problems with notifications persist, we recommend resetting your Wear OS watch. Just be mindful that when you reset your watch, it erases all its apps, and your personalized settings and data from your watch and unpairs it from its phone.

You can reset via the Wear OS app by unpairing it (Wear OS > Advanced Settings > Unpair Watch) or via the Settings app on your watch (Settings . System > Disconnect and Reset.)

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A. Beth Whittenberger
I started my love affair with computers way back in elementary school with the Apple II. Since then, I've worked with technology in my career as a media educator and videomaker. I have an MFA in media making from Temple University, where I also taught undergrads as an adjunct faculty member. Additionally, I was a writer, content producer, and editor on the popular tech blog AppleToolBox. So I know a thing or two about teaching others and creating how-to guides! After a cancer diagnosis, I turned to mobile technology like my Apple Watch to help me monitor my health throughout my chemotherapy treatment and later, to regain my wellness once in remission. I love sharing how to understand and use mobile tech, like smartwatches and phones, as a tool for empowerment to live our best and healthiest lives! Connect with me on LinkedIn!



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