When it comes to using Messages on Watch, ‘Cupertino, we have a problem.’ For whatever the reasons, notifications for certain Apple apps seem to get lost in the ether all too often. Not that long ago, in previous Messages versions, a notification for a new incoming text message meant a notification alarm on Mac, iPhone, and iPad. Ding, ding, ding. Dings everywhere at once. I guess that was disruptive to far too many Apple customers so something changed.
Now, an incoming text message will trigger a notification alarm on only one device instead of all three at the same time. Why? Apple thinks their solution is best, of course. It is not. If you’re using your Mac, an incoming text message will trigger the notification alert on the Mac. If you’re using your iPhone, you get the alert there. What if you’re not using anything but have Apple Watch? That should get the notification alert.
Here’s the problem. Sometimes none of the devices get an incoming text message notification alert. Somewhere, somehow, something went haywire between the devices. For Watch users, Apple says to unpair the Watch from the iPhone, the re-pair the Watch again. Judging from the thousands of Watch and iPhone customers complaining about this problem on Apple’s support pages, this has been an ongoing issue, the unpair and re-pair solution doesn’t always work, and if it works at all, not for long and the problems appear again.
Is there a solution? Apple may come up with one at some point in the future, but I prefer to have my incoming text message notification alerts on all devices all the time. Apparently Messages and Notifications won’t do that anymore. Apple explains:
Make sure that your Apple Watch and iPhone are connected. If your devices disconnect, your notifications go to your iPhone instead of your Apple Watch. You should also check the settings on your Apple Watch. When your Apple Watch locks or you turn on Do Not Disturb, your notifications go to your iPhone.
That’s just techno-rigmarole and doesn’t always work the way Apple thinks it intended.
So, I started looking around for other text messaging systems that give me an alert on every device. Easier said than done. Only WeChat seems to have an app for Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Watch (including the much appreciated Complication). WhatsApp is popular but there’s no official iPad app and no Watch Complication. There are perhaps a dozen others to try, including the highly acclaimed Signal (again, no Watch app, no Mac app, etc), and a few of those haven’t been updated in a year or so which to me makes them abandonware.
That leaves WeChat as the only text messaging system that covers all my bases; Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Watch– with notification alerts for each one. WeChat’s most bothersome issue is that it’s a Chinese app and who can trust the Chinese government?
No, I refuse to use Facebook’s Messenger and Skype does not have a Watch Complication, either. Interestingly, the simple KakaoTalk from Korea seems to work well on iPhone, iPad, and Watch (no Mac version, of course) but does not yet have a Watch Complication.
What I want in a messaging app is straightforward to the point of obvious. End-to-end encryption security, incoming notification alerts on every device (Mac, iPhone, iPad, Watch, with a Complication) that work independently of other devices, and simplicity. Voice and video are acceptable additions but not a requirement.
Apple’s own Messages app should fill the bill but does not because notification alerts are inconsistent and troublesome. Signal may offer more security but is iPhone only. WeChat is close but I worry about security. Why is this so difficult?