Notifications on Apple Watch communicate high-value and immediate information through quick interactions. Notifications occur in two stages–– short looks and long looks. The short look appears on wrist raise and contains brief but meaningful information about the notification. The lowering of the user’s wrist causes the short look to disappear. If the user’s wrist remains raised, Apple Watch displays a long look that provides more details about the notification.

If your iPhone app supports notifications, Apple Watch automatically provides default short-look and long-look interfaces for you. You can customize your app’s long-look interfaces to include photos, animated images, additional content, and a custom color palette.

Whether you provide a custom notification interface or use the default interface, the content you send should be informative and helpful to the user.

Short Looks

Short looks appear briefly, giving the user just enough time to see what the notification is about and which app sent it.

Apple Watch defines the appearance of short looks, incorporating the title of the notification along with your app’s name and icon into the UI. The app name is displayed in your app’s global tint color.

Make titles short and easy to understand. Space for titles is limited, so keep titles brief and put detailed information in the body of your notification.

Keep privacy in mind. Short looks are intended to be discreet and provide only basic information. Avoid including potentially sensitive text in the notification’s title.

Long Looks

Long looks provide more detail about an incoming notification. The long look appears when the user’s wrist remains raised or when the user taps the short look. Long looks are dismissed automatically when the user’s wrist is lowered. The user can also dismiss them manually.

Custom long looks come in static and dynamic versions. The static interface lets you display a notification’s message along with other static text and imagery. The dynamic interface gives you access to the notification’s full content and offers more options for configuring the look of the interface.

The content area of the static and dynamic long looks is fully customizable, but the overall structure of the interface is not. The system-provided sash at the top displays the app icon and name. You can customize the sash’s color or give it a blurred appearance. Buttons for custom actions appear below the content area. The system always adds a Dismiss button to your interface and places it after your custom buttons.

Although it’s best to be succinct, users can swipe vertically or use the Digital Crown to scroll your long look as needed.

Make your long look interfaces glanceable. Place the most important information at the top of your interface so that users can find that information quickly. Use fonts, colors, and layout to make important information stand out.

Choose the sash color. Customize the color palette of your interface to match your brand. If a photo is displayed at the top of your long look’s content area, select the blurred sash option. A blurred sash has a light, translucent appearance and gives the illusion of overlapping the image.

Choose the background color. By default, the long look’s background is transparent. Set the interface controller’s background color to 18 percent opacity white to match other system notifications or select a color that matches your brand’s palette.

Add up to four custom action buttons. Apple Watch shares the actionable notification types already registered by your iPhone app and uses them to configure any custom action buttons. The system determines which of your custom buttons to display based on the notification’s type. In addition to your custom action buttons, the system always adds a Dismiss button.

Provide a static interface and an optional dynamic interface. The dynamic interface is more configurable, but both interfaces support app-specific customizations. The system defaults to the static interface when the dynamic interface is unavailable. For more information, see App Programming Guide for watchOS.

Provide rich notification content in your custom long looks. Providing rich content in your custom interfaces eliminates the need to launch your app. Use SpriteKit or SceneKit to create custom animated interfaces or include inline video.

Design static images in advance. You must create resources intended for your static interface in advance and package them with your app.