How to silence or mute your Apple Watch

Heading into the cinema, hosting an important meeting or you just want some peace and quiet for a moment? As much as your Apple Watch is useful, you don't always want it pinging your wrist with notification sound effects and vibrations letting you know of your latest updates.

Below we’re going to talk you through the variety of ways you can mute your Apple Watch, but it’s important to know the differences in the terminology first.

First off, to mute an ongoing noise from your Apple Watch you can just cover over the display with your hand. That's the fastest way to stop your watch when it's making a noise at an inappropriate moment.

For this to work you’ll have to have Cover to Mute turned on in the Sound & Haptics section of the Apple Watch app on your iPhone. It’s important to note this is just for those instances though and it’s a different process to make sure your Apple Watch stays quiet.

To do that, you’ll need to know the differences between the Silent and Do Not Disturb modes.

How to turn on Silent Mode on your Apple Watch 

The logo you'll want to press is shown here in red

The logo you'll want to press is shown here in red

Silent Mode is what you’ll want to do if you just want to turn off the noises your watch makes. When you’re pinged a notification it’ll still vibrate your wrist – which makes a slight noise – to tell you there’s something worth checking.

To turn on Silent Mode you’ll want to press on the crown of the watch to take you to your watch face, and from there pull up from the bottom of the display so you can see the control center. In here you’ll then spot a bell icon, which if you tap will turn on Silent Mode.

Now you’ve pressed that, everything on your Apple Watch will be quiet apart from timers and alarm that will still go off when they’re timed to. To turn off Silent Mode, just follow the steps above and make sure you toggle the bell icon to off.

If you need something even stronger than Silent Mode, you’ll want to opt for the Do Not Disturb mode.

How to turn on Do Not Disturb on your Apple Watch 

You'll get these options when you enter Do Not Disturb

You'll get these options when you enter Do Not Disturb

To do this, you’ll want to again head back to your watch face by pressing the digital crown. Swipe up from the bottom to kick start control center, and next to the bell icon you’ve used for Silent Mode you’ll see a half moon shape that you’ll want to press.

It’ll then ask you how long you want Do Not Disturb mode to be on for including options like one hour, until this evening or even just on until you turn off the mode. Remember you can turn Do Not Disturb off by repeating the steps above and making sure the moon is toggled to off.

When Do Not Disturb is turned on, you won’t get any noise from you’re Apple Watch. Timers and alarms won’t go off with this turned on, and you also won’t feel a vibration on your wrist when you get notifications.

Using the iPhone app, you can also make sure your Apple Watch enters Do Not Disturb at the same time as when your iPhone is in that mode. To do this, head to the Watch app on your iPhone and under the General settings press on Do Not Disturb and choose the option Mirror iPhone.

Now whenever you turn your iPhone to Do Not Disturb mode your Apple Watch should follow suit.

How to turn on Theater Mode on your Apple Watch 

The logo for Theater Mode is highlighted above in yellow

The logo for Theater Mode is highlighted above in yellow

If you’re about to enter the theater or a cinema screening, you’ll want to use Theater Mode that was introduced a few years ago in the watchOS 3 update. This mutes your Apple Watch, like Do Not Disturb mode, but also turns off the turn to wake function.

That means even though you’re lifting your arm up to your mouth to eat popcorn in the cinema, the watch won't suddenly light up and distract all those around you.

To turn on Theater Mode you’ll want to press the digital crown until you get back to the homescreen of your Apple Watch and pull up from the bottom to boot up control center. In here you’ll then be able to select the option with two masks overlapping, which is an image you'll probably associate with the theater anyway.

When this is on, you won’t be disturbed so you can enjoy the performance in peace. To turn it off, just repeat those steps above and then you’ll have turn your wrist to wake functionality back on.

James Peckham

James is Managing Editor for Android Police. Previously, he was Senior Phones Editor for TechRadar, and he has covered smartphones and the mobile space for the best part of a decade bringing you news on all the big announcements from top manufacturers making mobile phones and other portable gadgets. James is often testing out and reviewing the latest and greatest mobile phones, smartwatches, tablets, virtual reality headsets, fitness trackers and more. He once fell over.