by Jim Lynch

Apple Watch: Reduce Transparency

May 13, 20154 mins
Consumer ElectronicsMobileOperating Systems

How to disable transparency on the Apple Watch to save battery power and increase legibility

Like the iPhone, the Apple Watch uses transparency to add glitz to its interface. But did you know that you can easily disable transparency on the Apple Watch? Yes, it’s simple and quick to turn off transparency.

How to disable transparency on the Apple Watch

To turn off transparency on your Apple Watch, follow these simple steps:

1. Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.

2. Tap on the My Watch tab at the bottom of your iPhone’s screen.

3. Tap on General.

4. Tap on Accessibility.

5. Tap on Reduce Transparency

6. Tap on the Reduce Transparency switch to turn it off.

reduce transparency apple watch

Why disable transparency on your Apple Watch?

There are two primary reasons why you might want to disable transparency on your Apple Watch:

1. It will help make text and other parts of the Apple Watch interface more legible.

2. It may also help conserve the battery power of the Apple Watch.

Of course perceptions about legibility will vary from user to user, but it’s certainly worth giving it a shot. And it certainly won’t hurt your battery life, and may help extend it significantly beyond it’s usual range.

Reducing transparency came up in a recent Reddit thread and redditors had their own thoughts to share about whether or not it was worth doing:

Tastybread: “…I reduced the transparency and I swear everything is moving much faster. Third party apps seem to be loading faster in glances as well. Hey Siri seems more alert too. Also you’re right: it looks much better this way.”

ThatCoyote: “When you posted that I immediately changed to reduced. It looks way better.”

My_Normal_Account: “…just tested. Definitely is faster in certain areas. Swiping in glance mode is completely smooth now. Before it was [really] choppy if going too fast. Pleasantly surprised.”

Dead_smed: “Thinking this might also make any improvement to the battery life?”

Johnthepaptest: “Yes probably. It’s an established fact that turning off transparency in Windows 7 saved laptop battery life by reducing processor load. It’s the reason Microsoft removed transparency in Windows 8. And it’s probably the same deal with the Apple Watch.

EDIT: Also, the Apple Watch uses an OLED screen. Black pixels on OLED screens receive no electricity and produce no light, so yes, Reduce Transparency will definitely save battery on Apple Watch.”

Eriamjh1138: “Transparency just makes me feel like my eyes are going bad.”

DrewDCA: “You are right, it’s much prettier turned off.”

More at Reddit

I disabled transparency on my Apple Watch

Like the folks in the Reddit thread, I turned off transparency on my own Apple Watch. I found that legibility did indeed increase, it was significantly easier to see things on my watch. And I also found that I did not miss transparency in an aesthetic sense at all. The watch interface still looked great without having transparency enabled.

As far as battery life goes, I didn’t notice too much of a difference though I did have about seven percent more battery life at the end of the day without transparency being on. I ended up with around thirty two percent battery life left instead of twenty five percent. So disabling transparency seemed to help extend the battery life of my Apple Watch a bit.

My advice is to disable transparency on your Apple Watch and see if you like it. If it’s something that you can live without then you may find that your Apple Watch is easier to view, and that its battery will last a bit longer than usual.

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