Missing important calls like doctor’s office on your iPhone or Apple Watch? Let’s fix it

phone call on Apple Watch LTE

While the Apple Watch sports several features, all the way from fitness tracking and payments to showing time in the good old-fashioned way — many of us also use it to take calls. It’s a pretty handy feature that’s straight out of 20th Century sci-fi movies.

And thanks to the Apple Watch, it saves you the effort of taking out your iPhone from your pocket. Being able to answer a call from your watch is a great way not to miss those crucial calls, like from your doctor’s office, when your iPhone isn’t in easy reach.

Plus, folks with an LTE model Apple Watch can take or make phone calls using the Watch’s built-in speaker and microphone when separated from their iPhones. 

Unfortunately, several users find that their Watches aren’t notifying them about those incoming calls. This issue happens for various reasons, so keep reading to see our tips on how to resolve it.

Related reading

6 top reasons for not receiving call notifications on your Apple Watch iPhone getting phone call with watch nearby

  1. Connection issues with your iPhone affect notifications and calls relaying to your Watch. So double-check that you turned on Bluetooth and that your watch shows it’s connected. Toggling Bluetooth off and on helps refresh this connection too!
  2. Low ringer volume. Sometimes a simple oversight may cause you to not pay attention to or hear notifications coming on your Apple Watch. For instance, having too low a ringer volume may not catch your attention when that call comes in. Or you might have a bunch of notifications stacked up on your Watch and not notice the one that matters.

  3. You forget to unmute. If you were in a meeting or a movie where keeping incoming calls silenced is preferred, you might have forgotten to unmute. Make sure you don’t have Do Not Disturb or another Focus mode turned on your Watch and your iPhone. 
  4. Silenced callers. You use Apple’s Silence Unknown Callers feature that limits ringing on calls to only numbers and people listed in your Contacts app.
  5. Blocked callers. Another reason for missing call notifications on your Apple Watch is that a caller or phone number may be in your block list, and you entirely forgot about it.
  6. CarPlay issues. Finally, some Apple CarPlay users report that their Apple Watch call notifications start misbehaving after using the wireless CarPlay function via their iPhones. 

How to fix call notification issue on Apple Watch

Turn up your watch’s and iPhone’s ringer volume

  1. Open the Watch’s Settings app > Sounds & Haptics.
    1. Tap the volume up button or tap the slider, then turn the Digital Crown clockwise. 
    2. You can also turn up the haptic motor’s vibration by turning on Haptic Alerts. Add extra emphasis to haptic alerts by selecting Prominent. sound and haptics settings for Apple Watch in Settings app
  2. For iPhones, go to Settings > Sounds & Haptics and scroll down to Ringer and Alerts. Adjust the slider to the right to raise your iPhone’s ringer’s volume. Sounds and Haptics settings on iPhone
  3. This volume setting also automatically raises the volume of alerts. You cannot separate these two at this time.

Look at your Focus modes (Do Not Disturb) on your watch and iPhone Focus settings on Apple Watch

Focus settings (formerly called do not disturb) are among the biggest features that Apple introduced in iOS 15 and watchOS 8. Plus, you can enable a focus all at once for all Apple devices logged in with the same Apple account. 

Forgetting to turn Focus settings off can cause you not to receive calls, alerts, and other notifications.  

  1. Touch and hold the bottom of your watch face, wait for Control Center to show, then swipe up. For iPhones, swipe down from the top-right corner to access your Control Center.
  2. Check if you turned on Do Not Disturb or another Focus like Sleep, Driving, etc., by looking for a highlighted icon. Each focus shows a different icon; it could be a crescent moon, bed, car, rocket, person running, or another focus icon as shown below.icons for Focus settings on iPhone and Apple Watch
  3. If you see one of these Focus icons highlighted, it’s on. So tap it once to turn it off. Apple Watch Control Center shows Fitness Focus is on

You can also choose to automatically turn off Do Not Disturb or some other Focuses like Fitness after a set period of time. Set your Focus on Apple watch or iPhone to turn off automatically after a set period of time

  • To do this, tap the focus to turn it off.
  • Then, select it again and choose from On for 1 hour, On until tomorrow morning, or On until I leave.

Disable the Silence Unknown Callers option on your iPhone

No one likes spam, and Apple’s Silence Unknown Callers feature helps screen calls from annoying advertisers. However, not all unknown calls are unwanted spam calls.

When you turn on this feature, your Watch doesn’t ring for ANY calls from unknown contacts. So if your doctor’s office isn’t in your Contacts app or isn’t calling from a number in that app, it will be automatically silenced.

  • Open your iPhone’s Settings app > Phone and then turn off Silence Unknown Callers. iPhone turn off silence unknown callers

Remove a caller from your iPhone’s block list

  1. Head over to the Settings app > Phone > Blocked Contacts. iPhone blocked contacts settings
  2. Tap Edit in the upper right corner of your screen.
  3. Tap the minus button next to the number or email address you’d like to remove from the list.
  4. Tap Unblock. Repeat if you want to unblock any other numbers or contacts. Then tap Done. iPhone unblock contacts
  5. On your Apple Watch, open the Watch app and go to My Watch > General > Reset and tap on Reset Sync Data. apple watch reset sync data
Workarounds for call notification issues due to Apple CarPlay

If you think Apple CarPlay is to blame for interfering with your call notifications, the easiest way to fix it would be a good-old restart of your iPhone. slide to power off your iPhone

However, some users have mentioned that they had to restart their iPhone after getting out of their car every single time, so this may be a temporary fix.  

How to answer a call on your Apple Watch Unknown or no caller ID phone call on Apple Watch

If you’re seeing your calls come in, but can’t get the call to work on your Apple Watch, run through this checklist when answering calls on your watch. 

  • Whenever you hear or feel the call notification on your watch, raise your wrist and look at your watch’s screen to see who is calling.
  • If you want to answer the call, tap the green phone button. Then, you can talk to that person using the watch’s built-in microphone and speaker or connect a pair of AirPods or Bluetooth headphones that connect to your watch.
  • To send a call to voicemail and not answer it, just tap the red phone button.
  • If you want to answer the call on your iPhone or send a text message, tap the three dots More button. Select Answer on Phone or choose one of the listed messages. Answer on iPhone for calls sent to Apple WatchTo answer on your iPhone, tap the green phone button or slide on the green slide to answer banner and take the call on your iPhone.

Final thoughts

Hopefully, you are now getting all those important calls on your Apple Watch and iPhone.

If not, let us know in our comments section, and we’ll try to help out! And if you did something to get your calls ringing on your watch or phone, let us know so we can pay it forward to our readers.

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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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