Apple Watch 5: Always on display?

Apple Watch 5 owners: Now that you’ve had it a bit, do you find the always on display makes a difference?

i might be able to eek out one more holiday gift to myself and the idea of an always on display on the watch sounds like a nice upgrade. both the convenience of not having to make a conspicuous arm movement to see the time, and also not having the watch look like a blank black piece of slate on my arm 90% of the time.

but wondering what other people’s opinions are. I don’t workout (shame on me), so i’m not worried about the battery.

It does make a difference. I’m a previous Apple Watch 3 user and made the exact question you’re asking.

After owning a series 5 for a couple of months, I can now say that the main advantage of the series 5 is the ability to see what time it is, regardless of what you’re doing. It doesn’t matter if you’re running, standing up, sitting, lying in bed: a quick glance and that’s it.

Another small advantage of using it is that you can tell time without looking directly at it (especially if you’re using an analogue watch face). It’s very handy if you’re in a meeting and want to check the time. Just put your wrist inside your field of vision and your peripheral vision will do the rest! No more feeling rude for looking at your watch.


I find it a very nice feature, although not life-changing. Like Andre, the biggest use for me is being in a meeting and stealing a glance at the time without being obvious about it (like a regular watch does, of all things).

(And 10 seconds after I hit post on this reply, I caught myself glancing at the Watch without raising my wrist, and realized I probably do that countless times a day without realizing it)

This is helpful, thanks. Question for you both, does it also make it easier to discreetly look at notifications? From what I’ve read, I can’t tell, because it sounds like notifications do not show up without raising your arrest as a security feature. Stupid security feature! :slight_smile:

It depends on what you mean by notifications. You still have to raise your wrist to read an inbound iMessage, for instance. However, the always-on display allows you to see complication badges (3 unread iMessages, for example) and the red dot on top. So you can glance at it and see if there’s something new on your notification centre.

I hated it and turned it off - no advantage for my use case.

If I want to check the time I either move my arm or turn the dial (which acts as a temporary brightness adjuster when the face is off).

What happens at bedtime with the Always On display? Is it possible to automatically turn it off at, say, 10PM and back on again at, say, 7AM?

Or off when off the wrist and on when on the wrist?

(I’m about to get one so don’t know the answers yet.)

I don’t think you can turn it off automatically.

When I want to turn it off (while sleeping, for example), I just activate the Theater Mode from Control Centre.

So putting it in Nightstand mode doesn’t do that? I can imagine this being really annoying for sleeping companions.

Can I turn off “always on”? This isn’t an essential reason for the purchase.

When I put my series 5 in nightstand mode it does turn off after a few seconds.


Sorry for the misunderstanding, I thought your question wasn’t about the nightstand mode. I usually sleep with the watch on, hence my answer.

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Phew! The esteemed DrP will allow me to put it on the nightstand then. :slight_smile:

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