The biggest change in watchOS 3.2, released earlier this week, is the addition of a new “Theater Mode” feature that should allow you to be more discrete when wearing your Apple Watch in darker places. As the name implies, the main idea behind Theater Mode is to ensure that your watch face doesn’t accidentally light up when fidgeting around in your seat at the theater, but of course realistically it can be used in any environment where you want to keep your watch face dark unless you’re very specifically looking at it; let’s face it, as convenient as the “raise to wake” feature is, we’ve all had those moments.
Activating Theater Mode is pretty straightforward: Swipe up on your watch face to access the Control Center, and tap the button that looks like two theater masks. Under the hood, enabling Theater Mode really just combines two features that have been on the Apple Watch since its inception: Silent Mode and Wake Screen on Wrist Raise. While Silent Mode can be toggled on and off from Control Center just as easily as Theater Mode, the “Wake Screen” option requires digging into the watchOS Settings app, so Theatre Mode is definitely a much easier way to deal with this. Note that you can also turn Silent Mode OFF again (e.g. un-mute your watch) from Control Center without disabling Theater Mode, which can be useful if you’re in a situation where you don’t want your Apple Watch screen waking up automatically, but still want to be able to hear alerts (and listen to Mickey and Minnie speak the time).