How to use and turn off the Apple Watch Always On display

Learn to control the new Series 5 feature
Turn off Apple Watch Always On display
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The headline feature of the new Apple Watch Series 5 is the Always On display, a first for any Apple smartwatch.

Turned on by default when you first load up your device, this mode does exactly what it says – keeps the display lit even when your wrist is down.

More reading: 48 Apple Watch tips and tricks

It's a feature we've craved since the first iteration, and below we'll be offering a few tips on using it, as well as the steps required to turn the Always On mode off on the Apple Watch.

Any questions? Let us know in the comments section below.

Using Always On display on Apple Watch

How to use Apple Watch Always On

As we say, this is a fairly straightforward feature to control. The Apple Watch Series 5 now has both dim and a full brightness modes, though interaction in these two does differ slightly.

You'll pick up some of the tricks to using both as you play around with the smartwatch, but here are four things that can help you along.

1. Most complications will be hidden

When the smartwatch goes into dim mode, you'll notice that most of the complications on your wrist will turn blurry.

The only things you'll be able to see on the screen are your watch face, if you're already on it, and a digital view of the time in the top-right if you enter the mode when, say, running a third-party app.

One quirk to this is the Workout app, which will show a simplified view of your activity even when the screen isn't activated. For example, the time of your workout won't show the seconds.

2. You can hide sensitive complications

Though the likes of notifications and other information won't be readily glanceable when in the dim mode, you do have the option to put the lid on 'sensitive complications'. Apple indicates these include the likes of calendar events, messages and heart rate.

To hide complications:

  • Open the 'Settings' app on the Apple Watch.
  • Tap 'Display & Brightness'.
  • Tap 'Always On', followed by ticking the 'Hide Sensitive Complications' switch to green.

3. Some complications won't update

With the Apple Watch conserving some battery when in dim mode, it means that elements of the watch face will update differently.

So, time-related complications, like the Stopwatch and Timer, round information to the nearest minute – much like the simplified Workout app. Ones that like to show real-time data, such as the new Compass app, won't be active.

Meanwhile, other complications, like the weather or third-party ones, refresh in the background once per minute.

4. There are four ways to wake the display

Did you know the dimmed display won't react to swipes? That's to avoid any accidental wakes. If you want to turn the screen from dim to bright, there are four ways:

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

Turn off Always On display on Apple Watch

Turn off Always On Apple Watch

While the new Always On mode is incredibly useful for getting a sneak peek at the time and, well, making the Apple Watch feel more like an actual watch, there are occasions – like when you want to save battery life – when you'll want to switch it off.

1. Open the Settings app on the Apple Watch.

2. Tap 'Display & Brightness'.

3. Tap 'Always On', then tap the 'Always On' switch from green to white.


More Apple Watch guides


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