Why Does My Apple Watch Tell Me to Breathe? [Explained!]

You’ve just come inside and sat down for five minutes after a brisk walk, and all of a sudden your Apple Watch starts telling you to breathe.

Um, aren’t you already breathing? You pause and think about it. 

You’re feeling pretty relaxed, but… are you?

Why Does My Apple Watch Tell Me to Breathe? [Explained!]

Your Apple Watch comes with a Breathe reminder that will tell you to breathe if it detects that you are taking too long between breaths. This feature will be default set to ‘on’ but can be toggled off. Apple designed it with the intention of it helping you relax and focus on your breathing.

Apple designed this feature of the Apple Watch for a reason – and that reason is to remind you to breathe when you are either too tense, experiencing anxiety, or are straight-up getting lost in your workout. 

And, if I am being quite honest, it is something that you can use for yoga and meditation, as a way to center yourself and guide your breathing.

Is this feature annoying at times? Sure. 

Can it throw off your workflow as you sit for hours on end in front of your computer, typing endlessly into the day or night? (I’m so not speaking from personal experience or anything…) It sure can. 

Is it one more thing that you are forced to pay attention to? Absolutely.

But is it worth having toggled on? And just which actions will trigger the alert? Could hearing this notification go off trigger even more stress for you? Why does it tell you to breathe when you are shoveling food down your throat?

If you do not mind getting some surprise notifications reminding you to breathe, then the “breathe” function might actually work to your benefit, reminding you to stay connected with your body and breath throughout the day.

Let’s delve into why Apple intentionally created this alert for the Apple Watch and how you can toggle it off when you do not wish to be interrupted by it.

What triggers the Breathe app?

Contrary to popular belief, the Breathe app isn’t actually triggered by you experiencing anger, stress, or holding in your breath at all. 

It is actually a reminder for you to launch the Breathe app – which is web-based, by the way – and engage in some deep breathing techniques.

The reminder is designed to go off when it finds moments in which you have been sitting still for at least five minutes. 

It is helping you search for 60-second intervals in those moments in which you can engage in deep breathing. 

During those 60 seconds, you will be encouraged to take just seven slow, deep, relaxing breaths.

Does the Apple Watch tell you to breathe when you’re stressed?

Why Does My Apple Watch Tell Me to Breathe Explained 1 Why Does My Apple Watch Tell Me to Breathe? [Explained!]

The Apple Watch’s Breathe function isn’t trying to nitpick at you when it senses that you are stressed – just when it finds that you have been sitting still and could use a minute to engage in deep breathing. 

Can this help ease some of your stress? Potentially, yes. 

But it is not designed to go off every time it senses that you are under duress and need to take a breath.

How do I turn off the Breathe alerts?

The Breathe feature is linked with the Health app and tracks breathing data through the Mindfulness section of that app. 

If you are not interested in keeping this feature turned on – like, say, if it is distracting you while you are at work – you can turn it off. 

To turn off the Breathe alerts, you will need to:

  1. On your iPhone, open up the Apple Watch app. Then, you need to tap on the My Watch tab.
  2. Tap on Breathe.
  3. Tap on Breathe Reminders to select how often you get reminders.
  4. Tap Allow Notifications, Notifications Off, or Send to Notification Center in order to choose how you get notifications.

Can Breathe help with asthma or stress?

Breathe is not exactly meant to help you deal with stress, asthma, or any other health problems. 

It certainly does not take the place of medication or physical therapy. 

But it can be a helpful reminder to breathe and relax in your moments of stillness.

Can Breathe be helpful for meditation or yoga?

If you do practice meditation or yoga, the Breathe feature can help train you to do better at taking longer, deeper breaths. 

Again, it is not meant to take the place of your yoga or meditation routines, but it might be able to help enhance them.

Closing Thoughts

Your Apple Watch has a lot of handy health-related features on it, and Breathe is just one of them.

While it is not meant to be intrusive, it might come off as such at first. 

The good news is that you can turn it off whenever you want. 

But, if you do want to keep it turned on, you can use it for just sixty seconds to do some deep breathing and connect with your body and breath.