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Tips

How to create an unobtrusive, low-light 'movie theatre face' for the Apple Watch

Apple hasn't given Watch owners an easy way to avoid accidentally blinding their movie theatre rowmates with a high-resolution jellyfish, but a quick modification to one of the default Watch faces can help avoid any ill will.


From too bright to just right.


TL;DR: Create a new "Modular" face, set it to red, and disable all of the complications for a quick-access "movie theatre mode."

While the Watch's ability to mirror its own 'Do Not Disturb' setting to the iPhone is a convenient feature for frequent moviegoers, it doesn't disable the raise-to-activate functionality. This can be turned off independently, but it's an inconvenient five-step process— and what if you want to discreetly check the time during the movie?

If you've served in the armed forces, or have seen a recent war movie, you know that soldiers often use a red filter over their flashlight when in the field. This helps preserve night vision, because the rods in your eyes— the photoreceptors responsible for seeing in the dark— are nearly blind to red light.

We can take advantage of this biological quirk to create an ersatz movie theatre mode using Apple's "Modular" watch face.



First, create a new face by pressing firmly on the watch face (using Force Touch), then swiping all the way to the right and tapping "New." Select the "Modular" face from the list by tapping on it, then use Force Touch again and tap "Customize."

The first customization screen lets us change the color of the face. Scroll upward with the Digital Crown until the face is red— it's the penultimate color, just before white.

After that, swipe left in the customization screen to edit the complications. Turn them all off by tapping on each one, then scrolling down with the Digital Crown until they're disabled.

Once you're ready, exit the customization screen using Force Touch or by pressing the digital crown. Next time you it down for a movie, two quick actions— turning on "Do Not Disturb" and switching to your new watch face— are all you'll need to do to keep from disturbing your neighbors.