Image: Apple

Announce Messages With Siri is a new feature in iOS 15 and watchOS 8 that lets your Apple Watch automatically dictate new push notifications and messages to you as they come, in as long as you have a pair of Siri-compatible headphones connected. (AirPods, AirPods Pro, AirPods Max and many Beats-branded headphones support this feature.) The best part is that if a notification can be responded to (in the case of Messages), Siri will wait after reading the notification to check if you have a response and can then send a response automatically without your ever having to lift your device or look at it.

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This feature is fantastic when you can’t reach for your iPhone, your phone is out of reach or you just want to keep distractions to a minimum. Many apps can have their push notifications automatically read to you by the Siri voice.

I’ll show you how to enable this feature, how to customize how it works, and how to temporarily disable it if you’re doing something important and no longer want messages read aloud.

How to turn on Announce Messages and limit apps on your Apple Watch

Before you can turn on Announce Messages with Siri, it’s important to note that you have your AirPods or Beats-compatible headphones connected to your Apple Watch. To have messages read aloud, you must also have a compatible pair of headphones connected.

At the time of this writing, the compatible list of devices that support this feature are:

  • AirPods Max
  • AirPods (second generation or later)
  • AirPods Pro
  • Beats Fit Pro
  • Powerbeats
  • Powerbeats Pro
  • Beats Solo Pro

In addition to those headphones, your iOS or watchOS device will need to be running iOS 15 and watchOS 8.

To enable this feature, navigate to the following on your Apple Watch:

  1. Open the Settings app on your Apple Watch.
  2. Tap Siri | Announce Notifications.
  3. Turn on the Announce Notifications toggle (Figure A).

Figure A


Enabling Announce Messages will have Siri read push notifications received for enabled apps to be read through your connected AirPods or Beats headphones. Image: Cory Bohon/TechRepublic

By default, apps will be disabled for Announce Messages. Scroll below where the feature was enabled to see a list of apps installed on your device that send push notifications. Enable the toggle beside each app for which you’d like its push notification read through Siri (Figure B).

Figure B

By default, Siri will only read messages received for enabled apps. Enable the toggle beside each app you’d like to have notifications read for. Image: Cory Bohon/TechRepublic

With this feature enabled, when one of the enabled apps receives a push notification, the message will be read by Siri through your headphones. In the case of Messages (or other apps that allow for replies), Siri will wait after the message for a response. Speak a response, and Siri will confirm your response and can send it without you ever lifting a finger.

How to temporarily turn off Announce Notifications on your Apple Watch

If you’re in a setting where you don’t want to be disturbed by notifications being read by Siri, or you just want to take a break from the feature temporarily, you can quickly disable the feature by doing the following:

  1. Open Control Center on the Apple Watch by swiping up from the bottom while on the watch face.
  2. If the bell icon with sound waves is red, tap it to turn it off (red means it’s enabled, gray means it’s disabled or does not have connected AirPods or compatible headphones). (Figure C)

Figure C

Quickly disable the Announce Notifications With Siri feature from the Control Center on Apple Watch. Image: Cory Bohon/TechRepublic

How to immediately stop Siri from reading a message on your Apple Watch

If you’re in the middle of a scenario where you want to quickly disable Siri from continuing to read a message from you, then do any of the following to have Siri immediately stop reading the message:

  1. Say “Stop” or “Cancel” while the message is being read.
  2. Press the Digital Crown on AirPods Max.
  3. Press the Force Sensor on AirPods Pro and AirPods third generation.
  4. Double-tap either of the AirPods second generation.
  5. Remove one of your AirPods (works on AirPods Pro and AirPods second or third generation).

When you perform any of these steps for your device, Siri will stop speaking immediately. This is helpful when you’re in the middle of a conversation and Siri abruptly interrupts to read off a message.