I love replying to texts on my Apple Watch, but the range of 'canned responses' is quite limited. How do I make up my own pre-written text replies (for Messages or Mail) on the Apple Watch? 

One really neat feature of the Apple Watch is the ability to respond to texts and (with watchOS 2.0) mail messages. It's a great experience out of the box, but can be made even better by pre-writing your own custom responses.

These custom responses give you an extra option for replying to text messages. You can use one of the standard canned responses (each new response you create will 'overwrite' one of these, but we suggest you keep a few), speak your reply out loud, or use one of your new custom messages. On top of this the Apple Watch goes through the text of an incoming message and provides a range of contextual replies you can use.

Sometimes these stock replies are really personal, such as when you get the option to say "Happy birthday" because Apple Watch has checked your calendar, but a lot of them are canned responses such as "Talk later?", "Hold on a sec…" and "I'm on my way".

As the Apple Watch becomes more popular, people will start to spot these canned responses and they are likely to come across as a little impersonal. So why don't you set up your own responses? These will be closer to the sort of thing you're likely to say, and make Apple Watch conversations feel much more natural.

See also:

How to write your own custom Messages and Mail replies on an Apple Watch

Creating a custom reply on Apple Watch

Apple makes it easy to create your own custom messages on an Apple Watch. These messages can be far more interesting than the ones provided by Apple, and you can even include Emoji characters.

Here's how to create a custom message for the Apple Watch:

  1. Open the Apple Watch app on the linked iPhone.
  2. Tap My Watch to select that tab.
  3. Tap Messages > Default replies.
  4. Select one of the messages that you don't want.
  5. Use the on-screen keyboard to replace the text.

There are a total of six slots available for custom responses. Unfortunately, that's the limit - and you have to remove one of the old responses to use a new one. We're guessing that this is to prevent the Reply screen from becoming cluttered.

How to use a custom response in Apple Watch messages

Using an Apple Watch custom reply

Now that you've created your custom Apple Watch message, you'll want to use it. The new canned responses will appear when you tap Reply to a message, and they'll be included with the responses that Apple thinks are appropriate to that conversation.

You can also use them in new messages. Follow these steps to send your custom message.

  1. Tap the Messages icon on your Apple Watch.
  2. Perform a deep press (Force Touch) and tap New Message.
  3. Tap Add Contact and choose a person to send the message to.
  4. Tap Create Message.
  5. Scroll down using the Digital Crown to find the message. Tap to select it.
  6. Tap Send to send the message.

Being a little creative with your responses, and getting personalised text for messages you send a lot, makes all the difference when using an Apple Watch.

Read more Apple Watch tutorials:

How to set up a new Apple WatchHow to use Siri on Apple Watch | How to use Digital Touch on Apple Watch | How to reply to a text on Apple Watch | How to answer a call on Apple Watch | How to change watch faces on Apple Watch | How to use the Music app on Apple Watch | How to use Maps on Apple Watch | How to use the Apple Watch Activity app | How to use the Apple Watch Workout app | How to take a screenshot on Apple Watch | How to make the Apple Watch a more accurate fitness tracker | How to manage Apple Watch notifications