Can Apple Watch Series 3 Send Text Messages

by Barbara Wilson

The Apple Watch Series 3, launched in September 2017, marked a significant step in the evolution of wearable technology. It combined the convenience of an Apple Watch with the capabilities of cellular connectivity for the first time in the Series 3 models. As a result, many users wonder about the functionality of this device, particularly its ability to send and receive text messages. This article delves into the specifics of how the Apple Watch Series 3 handles text messaging, covering its features, limitations, and user experiences.


Overview of Apple Watch Series 3 Features

Before exploring its text messaging capabilities, it’s essential to understand the overall features of the Apple Watch Series 3:


Design and Display: The Series 3 retains the classic Apple Watch design with a 38mm or 42mm case. It features a Retina display that is bright and clear, making it suitable for reading and sending messages.


Connectivity: This model offers two main versions—one with GPS and one with GPS + Cellular. The GPS + Cellular version allows for independent operation without the need for an iPhone to be nearby.


Operating System: The Apple Watch Series 3 initially shipped with watchOS 4 but is upgradable to the latest watchOS versions, enhancing its functionality and performance.

Text Messaging on Apple Watch Series 3

1. Sending Text Messages

Via Cellular Connectivity

For Apple Watch Series 3 with GPS + Cellular, sending text messages is straightforward:

Setup: Ensure that your Apple Watch is paired with an iPhone and that cellular service is activated. You need an active cellular plan for your watch.

Text Messaging App: Open the Messages app on your Apple Watch. If you have a cellular model, you can send messages directly from the watch without needing your iPhone nearby.

Composing Messages: You can use Siri to dictate your message, or you can use the watch’s pre-set responses, emoji, or scribble feature to type out a message.

Sending: Once you’ve composed your message, simply press “Send” to dispatch it. The Apple Watch uses its cellular connection to send the message directly.

Via Wi-Fi Connection

If your Apple Watch Series 3 with GPS + Cellular is connected to a Wi-Fi network and your iPhone is not nearby:

Wi-Fi Connectivity: Ensure that both your iPhone and Apple Watch are connected to the same Wi-Fi network. The watch can send messages through Wi-Fi if cellular service is unavailable.

Procedure: Follow the same steps as sending messages via cellular. The watch will use Wi-Fi to send the message in the absence of cellular service.

2. Receiving Text Messages


The Apple Watch Series 3 is equipped to receive text messages:

Notification Alerts: When a new text message arrives, you will receive a notification on your Apple Watch. You can read the message directly from the notification.

Reading and Replying: You can reply to messages directly from the notification by selecting a quick reply or using Siri to dictate a response.

Syncing with iPhone

Message Sync: Messages received on your iPhone will sync with your Apple Watch if they are both connected via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. This means you can view and respond to messages from the watch.

Limitations of Text Messaging on Apple Watch Series 3

While the Apple Watch Series 3 offers impressive text messaging capabilities, there are some limitations to be aware of:

Limited Typing Options: Compared to smartphones, typing messages on the Apple Watch can be cumbersome due to the small screen. The watch relies on dictation, quick replies, and Scribble for message composition.

No Full Keyboard: The Apple Watch Series 3 does not have a full QWERTY keyboard, which can limit typing efficiency for users accustomed to full-sized keyboards.

Cellular Plan Required: To use text messaging independently of an iPhone, a separate cellular plan for the Apple Watch is necessary, which can incur additional costs.

Compatibility Issues: Some text messaging features may require the latest watchOS updates, and compatibility with certain messaging services may vary.

See Also: Does Apple Watch Series 3 Monitor Sleep

Tips for Effective Use of Text Messaging on Apple Watch Series 3

To maximize the functionality of text messaging on your Apple Watch Series 3, consider these tips:

Customize Replies: Set up and customize your quick reply options for faster responses. This can be done through the Watch app on your iPhone.

Use Siri: Take advantage of Siri for dictating messages to simplify the process of composing text.

Manage Notifications: Adjust your notification settings to ensure you receive alerts for important messages without being overwhelmed by less critical notifications.

Comparing Apple Watch Series 3 with Later Models

While the Apple Watch Series 3 provides essential text messaging features, newer models offer enhanced capabilities:

Apple Watch Series 4 and Later: Subsequent models, such as Series 4 and Series 5, offer larger screens, improved performance, and more advanced features like additional messaging options and better integration with other apps.

Apple Watch SE and Series 7: These models provide further enhancements in text messaging capabilities, including larger displays, faster processors, and more intuitive user interfaces.


The Apple Watch Series 3 is fully capable of sending and receiving text messages, especially when equipped with cellular connectivity. While it may have some limitations compared to newer models, it offers a practical solution for text messaging on the go. By understanding its features and limitations, users can make the most of their Apple Watch Series 3 for communication and stay connected efficiently.

Whether you’re considering an Apple Watch Series 3 or looking to upgrade to a newer model, understanding these capabilities can help you make an informed decision about which watch best meets your text messaging and overall smartwatch needs.


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