How and when to use Apple Watch Theater Mode

Apple Watch running watchOS 3.2 or later has a feature called Theater Mode. Let’s take a look at what exactly Apple Watch Theater Mode does, how you can enable it, and when you might want to use it.

A person wearing Apple Watch with Theater Mode enabled on it

What is Apple Watch Theater Mode?

Theater Mode is a feature that, once enabled, keeps your Apple Watch silent and the screen dark. If you have your watch set to wake when you raise your wrist, this will also be disabled when in Theater Mode.

You will still feel the haptic notifications when in Theater Mode, so you can check for those important messages if necessary.

To wake your Apple Watch when in Theater Mode, tap the screen or press either the Digital Crown or the side button.

How do you enable Apple Watch Theater Mode

Here’s how to turn on Theater Mode on Apple Watch:

  1. On your Apple Watch face, swipe up from the bottom to open the Control Center.
  2. Tap the Theater Mode button, which is made of if two theater masks. Note: If it’s the first time you are using Theater Mode, a screen will display explaining the feature. Tap the orange Theater Mode button at the top of that screen to enable it. Moving forward, you will only have to tap the Theater Mode button in the Control Center to enable it.
  3. When you enable Theater Mode, you will also notice your Silent Mode button turn red, and now the Theater Mode button turns orange. In addition, when Theater Mode is enabled, you will see the icon at the top of your Apple Watch face.
Theater Mode enabled on Apple Watch

To turn off Theater Mode, swipe up to open the Control Center and tap the Theater Mode button. That button, along with your Silent Mode button, will turn back to gray.

When should you use Theater Mode?

Obviously, with its name, the intent is to put your Apple Watch into Theater Mode, you guessed it, at the theater. This is so that the light from your screen and sounds from your Watch do not disturb you or others, whether a Broadway show or movie theater.

However, that doesn’t mean the feature is only for theater-goers.

If you wear your Apple Watch to bed, Theater Mode is awesome. You don’t have to worry about waking up from the bright light of your Watch should the screen turn on.

Think about any situation when Silent Mode isn’t enough, and you want your Apple Watch screen to remain dark until you wake it yourself. This is when you should use Theater Mode.

Finally, if you think you lift your wrist too much and accidentally wake the watch screen, Theater Mode can prevent that and potentially help save some battery.

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