How to turn off Apple Watch handwashing reminders and features

hand washing reminders, notifications, and countdown on Apple Watch

While some folks love Apple’s new handwashing watchOS feature, others find the constant reminders and countdown clock bothersome, even patronizing.

Luckily, Apple makes it’s pretty easy to turn off the hand washing reminders, timers, or both. Plus, you can make this change directly on your Apple Watch or use the companion Watch app on your iPhone.

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Disable your Apple Watch’s handwashing feature using your Apple Watch

If you don’t like your watch tracking your hand washing or find that the feature triggers too often on unrelated activity, like washing dishes or clothes, then let’s turn it off on your watch.

  1. Press your Apple Watch’s digital crown and select the Settings app settings on apple watch for hand washing
  2. Scroll down and tap Handwashing 
  3. Toggle both Handwashing Timer and Handwashing Reminders off hand washing reminders and timers on apple watch settings
    1. If Handwashing Reminders is grayed out and doesn’t allow you to toggle it off from your watch, you need to use your paired iPhone’s Watch app iPhone watch app on home screen

Disable your Apple Watch’s handwashing feature using the Watch app on your iPhone

  1. On your paired iPhone, open the Watch app
  2. Choose the My Watch tab My Watch tab on iPhone's Apple Watch app
  3. Scroll down and tap Handwashing hand washing settings in Watch app iPhone for apple watch
  4. Toggle both Handwashing Timer and Handwashing Reminders off
  5. Change notification settings to Notifications Off

Once you turn all these hand washing settings off, you should no longer see any of the hand washing timers or get those reminders to wash your hands after arriving back home.

Remove location access (optional)

  1. On your paired iPhone, go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services
  2. Scroll down and tap Handwashing privacy settings for location access for apple watch hand washing feature
  3. Change allowed location access to Never

Delete your hand washing data in your iPhone’s Health app (optional)

  1. On your paired iPhone, open the Health app
  2. Tap the Summary > Show All Heath Data
  3. Scroll down to locate and tap HandwashingHealth app hand washing data in Summary section
  4. Scroll down and tap Show All Data Show All Data for health app on iPhone for handwashing on apple watch
  5. Select Edit and choose Delete All or tap the red minus sign to delete your hand washing data. You can also swipe on each instance and choose Delete remove hand washing data from iPhone Health app

How to prevent those Apple Watch handwashing reminders

If you actually like the handwashing countdown but do not like getting those reminders when you come home, you can disable just the reminder part of handwashing.

  • On your Apple Watch, go to Settings > Handwashing and toggle Handwashing Reminders off–leave Handwashing Timer on Disable hand washing reminders on apple watch
    • If it’s grayed out, you must make this change on your paired iPhone’s Watch app instead
  • On your paired iPhone, go to the Watch app > My Watch > Handwashing and toggle Handwashing Reminders off disable hand washing reminders on the Watch app on iPhone

Get rid of all Apple Watch handwashing notifications, including timer notifications and reminders disable all hand washing notifications on your Apple Watch

To stop all Handwashing notifications and reminders, on your iPhone’s Watch app, change your Handwashing notification setting to Notifications Off.

Wrapping it up

We hope that folks that didn’t end up liking Apple’s handwashing feature on Apple Watch were able to disable it without issues.

If you discover that handwashing still pops up, try restarting your Apple Watch by pressing the side button and sliding your watch off. That usually does the trick for watches stuck in a certain setting.

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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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