How to Use Theater Mode on Apple Watch

Don't be that person at the movies

What to Know

  • To enable Theater Mode, swipe up from a watch face to open Control Center and tap the mask icon.
  • To disable Theater Mode, tap the Watch, swipe up to open Control Center, and tap the mask icon, so it's not lit up anymore.
  • Apple Watch Theater Mode dims the watch face, so it doesn't disturb people in dark settings like a movie theater.

This article explains what Apple Watch Theater Mode is, how to turn it on and turn it off, and when and how to use it. This feature requires watchOS 3.2 or higher.

How to Use Theater Mode on Apple Watch

To turn on Apple Watch Theater Mode to keep your watch screen dim, follow these steps:

  1. Tap raise the Apple Watch to face you or tap the screen, so the screen lights up.

  2. Swipe up from the bottom of the screen to open Control Center. Swipe up in Control Center until the Theater Mode icon appears (it looks like two masks).

    Apple Watch Control Center.
  3. Tap the Theater Mode icon. When it lights up, Theater Mode is enabled.

    The first time you turn on Theater Mode, you'll get an explanation of what the mode is and how it works. Tap the onscreen message to turn it on. This is a one-time-only message. Next time you use Theater Mode, you won't see it.

  4. You'll know Theater Mode is turned on when you see the mask icon at the top of the watch face.

    Apple Watch face with Theater Mode enabled.

How to Turn Off Theater Mode on Apple Watch

Out of your movie (or another dark place) and want to turn off Theater Mode? Follow these steps:

  1. Tap the screen or press the Digital Crown to wake up your Watch.

  2. Swipe up from the bottom to open Control Center.

  3. Tap the Theater Mode mask icon so it's no longer lit up. Theater Mode is now off.

What Does Theater Mode Do on Apple Watch?

The Apple Watch's screen is smart: When you raise your Watch towards your face, the screen lights up so you can look at it, which is a great way to save battery. But, it also means virtually every time you raise or roll your wrist in the direction of your face, the screen brightens. You don't want this to happen in a dark movie theater when watching a play or in any other instance where your screen lighting up is a distraction. Theater Mode prevents this from happening.

And don't worry about missing important calls, texts, or other notifications when Apple Watch Theater Mode is on. You'll still get the vibration letting you know a notification has arrived. To view it, tap the screen or press the Digital Crown to light up the watch face and then view the alert like normal.

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