How to Turn Off Apple Watch's Hand Washing Reminders

Have you washed your hands? Have you really washed your hands? You’re home! Maybe it’s time for a good hand-washing. Do you think your hands are clean enough right now? That’s iOS 14 in a nutshell.

I don’t begrudge Apple from introducing “it’s time to wash” reminders for those owning iPhones and Apple Watches. I mean, we’re in a pandemic, after all. It probably does society a bit of extra good if we’re all being badgered to wash up more than we normally might through the course of a day.

However, I’m pretty good about personal hygiene, and I definitely don’t need a reminder every time I come home that it’s time to wash my hands. I’ve also tried Apple Watch’s “countdown” feature that ensures you’re washing your hands for at least 20 seconds. Maybe it’s just me, but mine always paused after just a few seconds, rendering the feature kind of moot.

To turn off these various sanitary reminders, you’ll want to start by pulling up the Watch app on your iPhone. Scroll down a bit until you see the new “Handwashing” section you can click on (among all your other Watch “apps”), and tap on it. You’ll see a screen that looks like this:


Screenshot: David Murphy

Disable “Handwashing Timer” to ditch the countdown that pops up whenever your Apple Watch detects washin’. You should also see a “Handwashing Reminders” option below that, which you’ll want to disable if you don’t want reminders to wash your hands whenever you come home from a location.

You won’t see “Handwashing Reminders” unless you’ve also enabled the “Handwashing Timer,” which I find a little odd. I mean, maybe you want a quick little buzz on your wrist to remind you to wash your hands without having your Apple Watch hold your hand (figuratively) while you blast it with water. That’s how hand washing notifications work right now, though. I didn’t make the cleanliness rules.

How to check your hand washing stats

Illustration for article titled How to Turn Off Apple Watchs Hand Washing Reminders

Screenshot: David Murphy

If you’ve been using this feature for some time, you can also check to see just how well your hand washing habits have been. Pull up the Health app on your iPhone and tap on “Browse,” and then search for “Handwashing.” Tap on the results, and you’ll get your hand washing stats, including the number of daily washes and average time you spent soaking your filthy, COVID-19-laden hands.

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