How to use Theater mode on Android Wear (and why you might want to)

My variant on this complaint was a little bit different. I like to dance in my bedroom, in the dark. Totally in the dark, I will turn on Google Play Music, and I will have a little dance party. And every time I raised my wrist, every time my watch brushed my skin, it would light up and totally kill the mood. Then came the Android Wear 5.0 update and with it came the end of those bright screens with the arrival of Theater mode.

So, how do you turn it on, and what else is it good for?

This mode's name lacks vision.

Theater mode in Android Wear is easy to activate on any watch with a power button: double-press the power button to activate/deactivate Theater mode. If you don't have a power button, you'll have to turn Theater mode on through the mode settings, which you'll find by pulling down from the top of the screen on your watch face. The notification mode is the first setting you'll see, and one swipe right to left will pull over Theater mode, which you can tap to enable Theater mode.

While Theater mode is on, the screen won't wake up when you tilt it or touch it once, and your watch will not vibrate for incoming notifications. To turn the screen back on, you'll have to press the power button, or if you don't have one, you'll double-tap the screen. If you want to briefly turn the screen back on but keep Theater mode enabled, you can do so by hitting the power button once.

So, why would you want to use Theater mode? Well, outside of being a courteous movie-goer, Theater mode is also quite useful during the following times/tasks:

Darkness. Glorious darkness!

  • Charging. If you have a Moto 360, you know very well that while charging, it turns itself into a handy little desk clock. And if you can sleep with that kinda light on your nightstand, great. But I can't. Theater mode allows the 360 to charge subtly and allows me to sleep in glorious darkness.
  • Chores/repetitive tasks. Tasks with repetitive hand/arm motions will have your watch lighting up like a Christmas tree. Besides, you'll get done with your chores quicker without distractions.
  • Sleeping.
  • Dance parties. If you still want to get notifications, but don't want to get blinded, consider instead turning off tilt-to-wake. I actually keep tilt to wake off all the time now, and my watch can last two days when I really need it to.
  • Meetings.
  • Doing laundry. Wet clothes tend to turn on the screen, turning off your music and swiping away your notifications while you're hanging up clothes to dry.
  • Church.
  • Swimming or showering. Most Android Wear watches aren't really rated for these activities, but if you're gonna be a daredevil, at least Theater mode can help cut down on the water playing with your screen.
  • Class.
  • Driving. Keep you eye off your watch and on the road.

So, how do you use Theater mode? Share the insane activities you use Theater mode for, and what other activity-specific modes you wish Android Wear had, in the comments below.

Ara Wagoner

Ara Wagoner was a staff writer at Android Central. She themes phones and pokes YouTube Music with a stick. When she's not writing about cases, Chromebooks, or customization, she's wandering around Walt Disney World. If you see her without headphones, RUN. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco.