Know your Apple Watch notification icons – round or square?

8 November 2015, 04:55

Have you ever noticed that notifications on your Apple Watch have either round or square icons? Sometimes, as with the Mail app in our screenshots above, the same app might have a round icon, and sometimes a square one.

What’s going on?

It’s a subtle but simple difference.

  • Round notification icon: If the icon is round then it’s a notification you can action on the phone because you’ve a Watch version of that app installed. For example, if it’s a Mail message then you will be able to tap the notification to reply to the mail there and then.
  • Square notification icon: If the icon is square then there is no Watch app for that particular notification. Essentially, the notification is being “echoed” from your iPhone, and all you’ll be able to do is tap to dismiss it.

So how come Mail notifications are sometimes square, and sometimes round? If the notification is square then the message is not in your inbox – or not in the mailbox that you configured in the iPhone’s Watch app for notifications. All you’ll be able to do is dismiss this notification.

If the notification is round then, yes, it’s in the inbox or designated mailbox. You’ll be able to reply to it from the notification, and flag it, and so on.

Leave a comment...

Thanks for the great tip!!

I never noticed the distinction before.

I guess what I can do with notifications that have square icons depends on the app. For example, I at least have the option of hitting Snooze or Completed for the Reminders notifications.

I appreciate your article.

— Allyson · Nov 8, 09:28 AM · #

Echoing Allyson’s comment, apps not on the watch give you the same action options that you’ll find on iOS. The distinction between the two icon styles seems to be whether or not the app is on the Watch (with the exception of Mail).

Don Morris · Nov 9, 08:48 PM · #