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

Posted:
in Apple Watch edited June 2015
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 28
    magman1979magman1979 Posts: 1,139member

    Cool tip! Getting my watch tomorrow (YAY) so will test this out!

  • Reply 2 of 28
    5 points to Gryffindor for correct usage of "penultimate."
    jbishop1039
  • Reply 3 of 28
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 19,385member

    Nice tip (and this was actually an issue for me recently!).... it should also be noted that just turning the brightness down is not really an option since it has only three levels of brightness and even lowest of the three settings is too bright.

  • Reply 4 of 28
    mac_dogmac_dog Posts: 703member
    because, as we all know, needing to check our notifications & answering emails is so fucking important that we can't leave them alone for 2 hours. btw, it's not only the blinding of fellow moviegoers that is bothersome, but also the visual distraction—which isn't blinding.

    what it really comes down to is a matter of inconsideration.
  • Reply 5 of 28
    mazecookiemazecookie Posts: 163member
    mac_dog wrote: »
    because, as we all know, needing to check our notifications & answering emails is so fucking important that we can't leave them alone for 2 hours. btw, it's not only the blinding of fellow moviegoers that is bothersome, but also the visual distraction—which isn't blinding.

    what it really comes down to is a matter of inconsideration.

    Next time please read the article

    "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 isn't about somebody checking their notifications, this is about somebody moving their arm with the watch face happening to face them, and activating the display accidentally.
  • Reply 6 of 28
    dr millmossdr millmoss Posts: 5,403member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mac_dog View Post



    because, as we all know, needing to check our notifications & answering emails is so fucking important that we can't leave them alone for 2 hours. btw, it's not only the blinding of fellow moviegoers that is bothersome, but also the visual distraction—which isn't blinding.



    what it really comes down to is a matter of inconsideration.



    You show us how not to be rude. Obviously a personal strongpoint.

     

    An Apple Watch turns on with a wrist-raise, so it tends to light up when you are not actually checking anything. So this is actually a useful idea. BTW, red lighting is also used in airplane cockpits, for the same reason.

  • Reply 7 of 28
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,410member

    Hmm... would be nice if there was already a "Do Not Disturb" mode to take care of this.

  • Reply 8 of 28
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

     

    Hmm... would be nice if there was already a "Do Not Disturb" mode to take care of this.




    there is a silent mode, maybe in the future, adding a 'STEALTH button to that same screen as the silent button is on, could be useful

    in STEALTH only taptic, no sounds, no raise of wrist, requires either a touch or even better a force touch to light up the watch?

    [erhaps if the watch detects its dark ambient when you press the screen to see the time, it would be a (RED) dim watch face 

    there is room if apple make the iPhone ping locator button smaller.

  • Reply 9 of 28
    freediverxfreediverx Posts: 1,408member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

     



    You show us how not to be rude. Obviously a personal strongpoint.

     

    An Apple Watch turns on with a wrist-raise, so it tends to light up when you are not actually checking anything. So this is actually a useful idea. BTW, red lighting is also used in airplane cockpits, for the same reason.




    Red lighting is used in cockpits because it doesn't screw up your night vision. A flash of any other colored light in the dark and you're blinded for a few minutes.

  • Reply 10 of 28
    dr millmossdr millmoss Posts: 5,403member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by freediverx View Post

     



    Red lighting is used in cockpits because it doesn't screw up your night vision. A flash of any other colored light in the dark and you're blinded for a few minutes.




    Yes, red lighting preserves night vision. That is what the article said and why I pointed out its use in aviation.

  • Reply 11 of 28
    john galtjohn galt Posts: 959member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Chris Skinner View Post



    5 points to Gryffindor for correct usage of "penultimate."



    ... and subtract 5 for incorrect spelling of "discreetly".

  • Reply 12 of 28
    gorobotgogorobotgo Posts: 16member
    As much as I appreciate this tip for what it attempts to accomplish, unless you're awaiting a notification that you *need* to be interrupted by (in which case, why are you in a movie theater?), why not just put the Watch into Power Reserve mode during a movie? This disables wrist raise activation, but still allows you to view the time if necessary. Not only is this even less distracting/obnoxious in the theater, but it is also a simpler procedure to activate and deactivate.
  • Reply 13 of 28
    gorobotgogorobotgo Posts: 16member

    As much as I appreciate this tip for what it attempts to accomplish, unless you're awaiting a notification that you *need* to be interrupted by (in which case, why are you in a movie theater?), why not just put the Watch into Power Reserve mode during a movie? This disables wrist raise activation, but still allows you to view the time if necessary. Not only is this even less distracting/obnoxious in the theater, but it is also a simpler procedure to activate and deactivate.

  • Reply 14 of 28
    Yeah, you could do all that... or just enable Power Reserve.
  • Reply 15 of 28
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Macrosheep View Post



    Yeah, you could do all that... or just enable Power Reserve.



    yes -not a bad compromise - getting it out of power reserve not so good..

  • Reply 16 of 28
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mac_dog View Post



    because, as we all know, needing to check our notifications & answering emails is so fucking important that we can't leave them alone for 2 hours. btw, it's not only the blinding of fellow moviegoers that is bothersome, but also the visual distraction—which isn't blinding.



    what it really comes down to is a matter of inconsideration.



    Or, as pointed out in the article, you just want the ability to check the time without really disturbing others, or you might have children at home with a babysitter and might need to receive taptic notifications in case of emergency, etc.

  • Reply 17 of 28
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mac_dog View Post



    because, as we all know, needing to check our notifications & answering emails is so fucking important that we can't leave them alone for 2 hours. btw, it's not only the blinding of fellow moviegoers that is bothersome, but also the visual distraction—which isn't blinding.



    what it really comes down to is a matter of inconsideration.



    So someone has the audacity to raise their beverage for a sip and the light goes on (the harder to inactivate " the raise-to-activate functionality.") and that's what?

     

    Beyond that I've any number of friends with children and or professional responsibilities where being available is a necessity. Your child might be okay sitting in an ER for two hours waiting on parental consent, many others are not.

  • Reply 18 of 28
    emoeric87emoeric87 Posts: 72member

    It's funny how quickly confused the words "can" and "need to" become. Just because you "can" get notifications on your wrist during a movie (in case of an emergency!) doesn't mean you "need to."

     

    Ability is not necessity.

     

    Put it in your frickin' pocket for a couple of hours!

  • Reply 19 of 28
    I actually like the look of that minimalist look of that watch setup! It looks something out of a "2001: A Space Odyssey" movie. :)
  • Reply 20 of 28
    pdbreskepdbreske Posts: 39member

    Actually, military cockpits haven't used red lighting in decades. Night vision systems are extremely sensitive to red and infrared light, so all military night lighting switched to a specific blue-green wavelength that safely illuminates the cockpit and maps without shutting down night vision systems. NVGs are not sensitive to this wavelength and since human eyes are more sensitive to this end of the spectrum, the light wattage can be lower and still supply enough light to read by. In the field, ground personnel can use infrared lights to illuminate a landing zone that is invisible to enemy forces, but still usable by incoming aircrews with NVGs.

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