All the ways you can wake up your Apple Watch display

Learn about the various ways you can wake up your Apple Watch and also put its display back to sleep when you don’t need to use it.

Two Apple Watch mockups, with one showing its screen blacked out and another showing the watch face

The hardware contained within the Apple Watch makes it possible for it to know when you’ve raised your wrist and when you’ve lowered your wrist. This, in turn, allows the Apple Watch to intelligently wake and go to sleep depending on your wrist orientation.

To wake your Apple Watch, just raise your wrist or tap the display. When you lower your wrist, Apple Watch will detect it and automatically go to sleep. But it goes a little deeper than that. Here are four ways to wake your Apple Watch and three ways to put your Apple Watch to sleep.

Four ways to wake your Apple Watch

  • Raise your wrist
  • Press the Digital Crown
  • Press the side button
  • Tap the screen

Pro tip: Instead of pressing the Digital Crown, if you rotate it slowly, the Apple Watch display will light up gradually from low to high brightness.

Three ways to put your Apple Watch to Sleep

  • Lower you wrist
  • Cover the screen with your palm
  • Wait for it to time out

Tip: You can also choose what your Apple Watch awakens to. By default, it will wake up to the watch face, but if you prefer, you can make it return to where you were before the watch went to sleep.

Always On display on Apple Watch

Apple Watch Series 5 or later (except Apple Watch SE) have the Always On display that shows the time and other small information all the time, even when your wrist is down.

However, when you follow one of the above methods to wake the screen, the display will get brighter and return to its full glory.

Related: How to manage your iPhone’s Always-On display

Theater Mode

When your Apple Watch is in Theater Mode, it won’t wake up when you lift your wrist. This ensures that other people around you in the cinema hall are not disturbed. Tap once on the screen to wake up your Apple Watch when it’s in Theater Mode.