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.* 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. A wrist raise or tap on the screen brings everything back to full brightness and makes 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. Open the Settings app on your Apple Watch. To do this, press the Digital Crown to see the Home screen, then tap the Settings button .
  2. Tap Display & Brightness.
  3. Scroll down, then tap Always On.
  4. Tap Always On to turn on or turn off the feature.

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 Complications, Show Notifications, or Show Apps. The apps that can show that type of information appear on the next screen.
  5. Turn off the apps that you don't want to show information on the screen when your wrist is down. You can turn off the category of information entirely by tapping the button at the top of the screen.

These steps apply to Apple Watch devices with watchOS 8.

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, swipe down from the top of the screen to see notifications, or swipe up from the bottom to use Control Center.

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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