Use the Always On feature with your Apple Watch

Apple Watch Series 5 and later can display the time and other glanceable information, even when your wrist is down.

Always On is turned on by default on Apple Watch Series 5 and later, including Apple Watch Ultra and later.* In this mode, the time is always visible, along with your watch face or the most recent active app.

To preserve battery life, the display dims when your wrist is down, or by a quick gesture of covering the display with your hand. Raise your wrist or tap on the screen to bring everything back to full brightness and make the watch screen active so that you can interact with your watch.

* Apple Watch SE doesn't support Always On.

Manage Always On settings

Always On has settings that let you turn the feature off, which can increase battery life. You can also choose the information that you want to appear on the screen when your wrist is down.

How to turn the Always On feature on or off

  1. Press the Digital Crown until the Home Screen appears, then tap the Settings appNo alt supplied for Image.

  2. Tap Display & Brightness.

  3. Scroll down, then tap Always On.

  4. Tap Always On to turn on or turn off the feature.

Always On isn't available when your Apple Watch is in Low Power Mode or Theater Mode, which you can turn on or off in Control Center.

How to manage the information that appears when your wrist is down

  1. Open the Settings app on your Apple Watch.

  2. Tap Display & Brightness.

  3. Scroll down, then tap Always On.

  4. Tap Show Complication Data, Show Notifications, or Show Apps. The apps that can show that type of information appear on the next screen.

  5. Choose which apps show information on the screen when your wrist is down. You can turn off the category of information entirely by using the setting at the top of the screen.

How app complications appear when your wrist is down

While your wrist is down, the time and complications on the watch face update once a minute, and information appears as follows:

  • Time complications, such as Stopwatch and Timer, round their displayed information to the minute.

  • Complications that show live data, such as Compass and Noise, are not active.

  • Other complications, such as Calendar, Weather, and third-party apps, refresh once per minute or as needed.

How to interact with your watch

When your display is dimmed, it ignores most swipes to prevent accidental input. Even with your wrist down, you can still tap a complication to open its app or swipe down from the top of the screen to see notifications. Turn the Digital Crown to use the Smart Stack, or double-click the Digital Crown to use the App Switcher. Press the side button to use Control Center (for watchOS 9 or earlier, touch and hold the bottom of the screen, then swipe up).

You can also raise your wrist, press the Digital Crown, or press the side button to bring your watch to full brightness.

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