Apple Watch theater mode

Last week, I was in the midst of watching a film at my local movie house when my wrist started frantically buzzing and lighting up. One or two screen flashes during a movie isn't out of the ordinary, but after 12-15, you start to get a little concerned. I excused myself from the theater to check my iPhone — only to discover those frantic buzzes and screen light-ups were just GIF replies on a group message chat. Ugh.

Had I enabled Theater Mode, however, I could have avoided the drama. It silences your Apple Watch's screen, leaving the display off unless you intentionally tap the screen or press one of the watch's buttons. Here's how to enable and use it!

How to turn on Theater Mode for your Apple Watch

Note: You'll still feel taps when Theater Mode is enabled, you just won't have the screen light up accordingly.

  1. On your Apple Watch's watch face, swipe up from the bottom of the screen to access Control Center.
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the screen and press the Theater Mode button (looks like two theater masks).

  3. Tap the orange Theater Mode button to confirm.

Once confirmed, Theater Mode: On will display at the top of the screen in Control Center. On your watch face, you'll also see a theater mask in the top center of the screen to indicate that you currently have Theater Mode activated.

To disable Theater Mode, do the following:

  1. Tap your Apple Watch or press one of its buttons to wake it up.
  2. On your Apple Watch's watch face, swipe up from the bottom of the screen to access Control Center.
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the screen and press the orange Theater Mode button (looks like two theater masks).

How to minimize light from your Apple Watch in a theater setting

While Theater Mode keeps your watch from unintentionally lighting up and buzzing, it won't dim your screen or offer you a movie theater-friendly watch face if you have to intentionally access your watch for any reason. For that, you'll have to make your own.

  1. Press firmly on your Apple Watch face to enter Edit mode.
  2. Swipe from right to left.
  3. Tap on the New watch face button (the plus button).
  4. Swipe — or turn the Digital Crown — to scroll to the Modular watch face.
  5. Tap to select it.
  6. Press firmly the Modular face to enter Edit mode.

    Apple Watch modular face

  7. Tap on Customize.
  8. Turn the Digital Crown to change the watch face's color to red.
  9. Swipe left to pick your complications.
  10. Tap on each complication, and twist the Digital Crown up until the complication is set to Off.
  11. Press the Digital Crown to exit Edit mode. change modular face

When you're done, you'll have a completely blank — and black — watch face, save for the time displayed in red. If you do have to access your watch to check the time, you won't disturb anyone, even when in a dark room. It's great for movie and home theaters, plays, when sharing a bed, or any other time when you want to minimize light and check the time.

Other tips for using your Apple Watch in a theater setting?

Any other tips for keeping your Apple Watch from disturbing yourself (and others) in a theater or otherwise quiet setting? Let us know in the comments!

Updated May 2019: Updated for watchOS 5. Serenity Caldwell contributed to an earlier version of this article.

Apple Watch


Latest And Best Prime Day Deals

The Ring Alarm security system is reaching new low prices for Prime Day
Ring Alarm home security systems

Various configurations of the Ring Alarm are discounted to their best prices yet exclusively for Prime members at Amazon through Tuesday night to help keep your home secure.

The Sonos Beam Prime Day deal includes a $40 discount and 2 $50 Amazon gift cards
The Sonos Beam Prime Day deal includes a $40 discount and $100 in Amazon gift cards
$359.00 $499.00 Save $140

That's just so much savings in one deal. You'll have to wait for the physical gift cards, but that's basically $100 to spend however you want.

Prime Day dropped this PlayStation 4 console bundle to just $250
PlayStation 4 Slim 1TB console with Marvel's Spider-Man and Horizon Zero Dawn
$249.99 $359.98 Save $110

This deal on the PlayStation 4 Slim console saves you $50 off its regular price while also including Marvel's Spider-Man and Horizon Zero Dawn Complete Edition for free. You'll just need an Amazon Prime membership to snag it.

The newest device in the Echo family, the Show 5, is now down to just $50
Echo Show 5
$49.99 $89.99 Save $40

It's only been on the market since May, but it hasn't escaped the Prime Day price cuts.

Amp up your home security with these huge Prime Day discount on nearly all Ring products
Save on Ring products today only

Whether you need a video doorbell, whole home alarm system, or some lights to brighten a dark area, Amazon has it all marked down today!

These huge price drops on the entire Galaxy S10 lineup might be one of the best Prime Day phone deals we'll see
Samsung Galaxy S10 128GB unlocked Prism Black Android smartphone
$599.99 $900.00 Save $300

We love the Galaxy S10, and we love deals. This combines two of our true loves in one!

Scour Amazon Warehouse's deals to save an extra 20% on tech and more through Prime Day
Extra 20% off Amazon Warehouse

Amazon Warehouse sells a myriad of items in varying conditions, from refurbished to open-box, used, warehouse-damaged, and more. It's a great place to snag a deal, and now Prime members can save an extra 20% off select items at checkout.

There's never been a better deal on the Ring Video Doorbell 2 than this pre-Prime Day offer
Ring Video Doorbell 2 (Certified Refurbished)
$89.99 $169.99 Save $80

Amazon is taking $80 off the certified refurbished Ring Video Doorbell 2, which lets you see and speak with visitors at your front door no matter where you are in the world.

More Prime Day Deals