Messages sync to watch

coldwaves

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 30, 2011
295
37
If I set up a new Apple Watch with an iPhone, does the existing SMS and iMessage on the phone sync to the watch? Or will the watch only get messages that arrives after the watch is paired?
 
Last edited:

mofunk

macrumors 68020
Aug 26, 2009
2,400
154
Americas
The get the messages after the watch is paired. If you have your iMessages in the Cloud they might sync over. I know with the Mac and iPads you get your messages sync. You may have to add a message to the thread to see the previous messages.
 

coldwaves

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 30, 2011
295
37
The get the messages after the watch is paired. If you have your iMessages in the Cloud they might sync over. I know with the Mac and iPads you get your messages sync. You may have to add a message to the thread to see the previous messages.
Thanks! That's what I thought too. I recently paired the watch to a phone, which is also just reset. I have message on iCloud so it synced automatically to my phone. However, on the watch, some of the old messages synced to the watch but some are not. I speculate this occurs because when I set up the watch, the message are still being synced. Thus some of the message synced to the phone after the watch's paring are on the watch while those messages synced to the phone before the pairing do not appear on the watch.

If this is the case, I would see no old message on the watch if I wait until the message are totally synchronized on the phone. But I would see all the old message if I pair the watch first and then turn on message on iCloud on the phone to download all message. Does this make sense?
 

coldwaves

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 30, 2011
295
37
I did a little experiment last night. I un-pair the watch and "erase content and reset" the iPhone. Then I set up the phone and toggled on the message on iCloud. Then I leave the phone on the charger overnight so that the phone can finish downloading all messages. This morning, I set up the Apple Watch with the phone. I opened the message app after setting up and see the same thing as before: some messages are on the phone and some are not. Then I just leave the watch on the charger for about an hour. I then restart the watch and now the message is empty.

So I guess the expected behavior is that the Watch only shows message received after its setup. But upon initial setup, there might be some weird pattern. Restarting the watch seems to solve the issue.
 

mofunk

macrumors 68020
Aug 26, 2009
2,400
154
Americas
I don't know how far it goes back. I do know that you have to make sure that the iOS device is recognized in your iCloud and maybe this way your Messages will be transferred over. I can't remember how far back my Watch went. I did check my iCloud account to see if the Watch was on the list.
 

cynics

macrumors G4
Jan 8, 2012
11,334
1,708
Messages on the Apple Watch are not sync'd to iCloud Messages. Messages on the Apple Watch are mirrored to and from the AppleID trusted device which is your iPhone.

What this means is if your iPhone gets a message, your Apple Watch gets a message. If you send a messages from your Watch your iPhone gets it. Once your iPhone gets it its sync'd to Messages in iCloud (if you have that turned on).

It seems complicated but basically the Apple Watch does things the way iMessage used to work. Which means if you delete messages on your iPhone or on your Watch the other device does not show this. And this is for good reason, the Apple Watch has very limited storage space and messages could easily fill it up so Messages on the Apple Watch are automatically deleted after 15-30 days (mine go back to Mar 14th). If the Apple Watched sync'd with iCloud it would be deleting all your messages without you being able to stop it.

That is why your options on the AW are Mirror the iPhone settings or Custom mirror the iPhone.

The Apple Watch can work independently of the iPhone through its only wireless connection. The iPhone doesn't have to receive the message for the Watch to get it. And depending on your cellular provider you can get SMS as well without the iPhone being around however I believe it needs to be on.

The AW still HEAVILY leverages the iPhone. Assume most of its capabilities are coming from the iPhone, not iCloud (not always the case but a safe bet).
 

coldwaves

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 30, 2011
295
37
Messages on the Apple Watch are not sync'd to iCloud Messages. Messages on the Apple Watch are mirrored to and from the AppleID trusted device which is your iPhone.

What this means is if your iPhone gets a message, your Apple Watch gets a message. If you send a messages from your Watch your iPhone gets it. Once your iPhone gets it its sync'd to Messages in iCloud (if you have that turned on).

It seems complicated but basically the Apple Watch does things the way iMessage used to work. Which means if you delete messages on your iPhone or on your Watch the other device does not show this. And this is for good reason, the Apple Watch has very limited storage space and messages could easily fill it up so Messages on the Apple Watch are automatically deleted after 15-30 days (mine go back to Mar 14th). If the Apple Watched sync'd with iCloud it would be deleting all your messages without you being able to stop it.

That is why your options on the AW are Mirror the iPhone settings or Custom mirror the iPhone.

The Apple Watch can work independently of the iPhone through its only wireless connection. The iPhone doesn't have to receive the message for the Watch to get it. And depending on your cellular provider you can get SMS as well without the iPhone being around however I believe it needs to be on.

The AW still HEAVILY leverages the iPhone. Assume most of its capabilities are coming from the iPhone, not iCloud (not always the case but a safe bet).
Thanks for the insights. Yeah, Apple Watch just get messages from the phone and it does not synchronize with iCloud. For me, message does not use that much storage space. A year worth of message for me is about 55MB. The capacity of the watch I have is 5.2GB.

I am not sure that Apple Watch automatically delete message after 15-30 days. And I don't think that will delete message on my phone. I have SMS and iMessage on iPhone and MacBook dated back to January 2018. If Apple Watch behave as you described, I would not have these old messages as of now.
 

cynics

macrumors G4
Jan 8, 2012
11,334
1,708
Thanks for the insights. Yeah, Apple Watch just get messages from the phone and it does not synchronize with iCloud. For me, message does not use that much storage space. A year worth of message for me is about 55MB. The capacity of the watch I have is 5.2GB.

I am not sure that Apple Watch automatically delete message after 15-30 days. And I don't think that will delete message on my phone. I have SMS and iMessage on iPhone and MacBook dated back to January 2018. If Apple Watch behave as you described, I would not have these old messages as of now.
I was saying IF it was sync'd with iCloud it would delete your message. However it is not so its not something to worry about. I'm not sure how messages are removed from the Apple Watch because I haven't been deleting them but they seem to disappear off the watch (not phone or iMac) 15-30 days.

If your watch isn't new get on and scroll all the way to the first message, what's the date?
 

coldwaves

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 30, 2011
295
37
I was saying IF it was sync'd with iCloud it would delete your message. However it is not so its not something to worry about. I'm not sure how messages are removed from the Apple Watch because I haven't been deleting them but they seem to disappear off the watch (not phone or iMac) 15-30 days.

If your watch isn't new get on and scroll all the way to the first message, what's the date?
Oh, I see. I misunderstood what you meant. Now that makes sense to me. I recently got a new iPhone so the watch was set up new. Therefore, I only have the message since I got the phone last week. I guess I can report back in a few months to see what happens.
 

cynics

macrumors G4
Jan 8, 2012
11,334
1,708
Oh, I see. I misunderstood what you meant. Now that makes sense to me. I recently got a new iPhone so the watch was set up new. Therefore, I only have the message since I got the phone last week. I guess I can report back in a few months to see what happens.
I was hanging out with a buddy tonight and he has an apple watch 4 and his messages went back to March 7th. He has had the AW4 longer than that and he hasn't deleted any messages. Since mine only go back to March 14th there is no consistency there.

Could have a variable with the amount of messages it holds (I get more then him since its a work phone too) and/or could have a variable of available system storage as his AW4 has more storage than mine with more free.

I'd actually be curious to see what other people are experiencing with this.