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What is the red dot on my Apple Watch?

The red dot might be plenty annoying for users, but its existence is entirely necessary.

Published onAugust 25, 2022

The Apple Watch Series 7 on a wrist showing the Modular Duo watch face
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

If you own an Apple Watch, you might’ve noticed a small red dot at times at the top of the screen. It’s not always present, but you might be wondering what it is and why it exists. We have the answer, and it’s a lot simpler than you’d probably imagine.

See also: Apple Watch Series 7 buyer’s guide


The red dot on the Apple Watch's screen signifies that you have unread notifications. Swipe down from the top of your watch's screen to read the notifications. This will remove the red dot.


Apple Watch red dot: What is it?

The Apple Watch Series 7 next to the Apple Watch Series 6 showing the display sizes
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

The Apple Watch uses a set of icons to communicate the watch’s status, settings, and events to its wearer in a quick and easily understandable manner. Specifically, the red dot located at the top of the screen signifies that there are unread notifications on your device.

It’s relatively simple to check notifications, too. Swipe down from the top of the screen, and a list of notifications will appear. To remove a specific notification, swipe left over it and hit the X icon.

See also: How to use WhatsApp on an Apple Watch

How to switch off the Apple Watch red dot

If you don’t like the constant unread notifications reminder staring you down or ruining your watch face’s aesthetic, you can switch off the red dot.

  • On your iPhone, open the Watch app and head to My Watch > Notifications > toggle off Notifications indicator. This will disable the red dot on your watch, but you’ll now have to manually check for unread notifications every once in a while.
  • On your Apple Watch, press the digital crown, select Settings > Notifications > toggle off Notifications indicator.

Other Apple Watch icons

The red dot isn’t the only icon on the Apple Watch. There’s a healthy list of additional icons that signify status conditions or events on your watch. See a breakdown of some of the more common icons below:

  • Green lightning bolt: The Apple Watch is charging properly
  • Red lightning bolt: Your watch’s battery is low (under 10%)
  • Orange airplane: Airplane mode is activated
  • Purple moon: Do not disturb mode is activated
  • Orange masks: Theater mode is active
  • Teal bed: Sleep mode is active
  • Red X: No connection to GPS or cellular services
  • Blue waterdrop: Water Lock is activated, and screen touch recognition is disabled
  • Blue lock: The Apple Watch is locked
  • Blue direction point: An app used the Apple Watch’s location services

You can find the complete list of Apple Watch icons, including the icons of running apps, here.

See also: The most common Apple Watch problems and how to fix them


Apple colored in the digital crown of the Apple Watch Series 3 red to indicate the LTE variant. Notably, this didn’t prove all that popular, and the company changed the red dot to a more subtle red ring from the Series 4 onwards.

Unfortunately, no. There’s no way to change the Apple Watch’s red dot to any other color.

You can pick a new Apple Watch face or customize your current option. Our guide to changing Apple Watch faces will help you through the entire process.

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