Knock to Show the Clock on Apple Watch When in Nightstand Mode

Nov 19, 2015 - 11 Comments

Knock to show the Clock on Apple Watch in Nightstand Mode

As you may know, the Apple Watch can transform into a nightstand clock rather simply, but rather than fumbling around with the buttons or tapping the screen to see the date and time displayed on the screen, you can use a much easier but little known trick to show the time; simply knock on the surface where the Apple Watch is resting.

Yes, really, if the Apple Watch is situated on a nightstand, desk, table, bed, or whatever, just give the surface it’s standing on a knock or thump. The Apple Watch will detect the vibration, and it will activate the display when the device is in Nightstand Mode and connected to a power source.

The video below demonstrates this knock-for-the-clock Apple Watch feature with a few different knocks, the latter two are less forceful than they appear in the video simply because the recording iPhone was resting on the same surface as the Apple Watch:

Obviously Apple Watch Nightstand Mode must be enabled for this to work, which requires at least WatchOS 2.0 to be on the device.

This is a really neat trick was mentioned in the comments on one of our YouTube videos, so thanks to Karanjit Singh for bringing it to our attention!

Do you know of any great Apple Watch tips? Be sure to share them with us, and you can always learn more about Apple Watch right here.


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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Apple Watch, Tips & Tricks


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  1. Johan Olie says:

    I found out you have to have the “activate screen” setting turned on

  2. Jade says:

    I had to bang the table a few times (don’t have a stand for it) – still didn’t activate, maybe my watch is a little less sensitive. What would make more sense is to activate the snooze alarm with a tap – touch wakeup is fine. Also, while I’m at it – it’s too bright to see the time at night, plays havoc with the melatonin behind your eyes – no way to reduce brightness…

  3. Steve says:

    It’s not really the sound of the knocking, it’s the vibrations. Just touching my nightstand activates the time.

  4. Ted says:

    I do like and appreciate the various tips on the site. My feedback is not about the authors. My feedback is about whoever came up with this whole idea.

    How stupid! Especially when someone is sleeping next to you, I will keep banging on the nightstand just to see the time. Sheesh!

    • Ted says:

      On second thought, maybe people should be able to slam the watch to Tim Cook’s head to see the time…

      • Devon says:

        If someone is sleeping next to you, you don’t have to use the feature. If you live alone, it’s a great idea. Common sense is big factor here.

      • Jason says:

        I don’t own an Apple Watch, but this is a neat feature. OS X Daily, the video you provided only shows a typical door knock… does it activate with a lighter touch? Maybe record a video of you trying it very lightly and increase the intensity of the touch until the watch illuminates.

        It also looks like you need to do it once, instead of the two times I see.

        • Yes says:

          Yes the Apple Watch activates with a much lighter knock, you can usually just tap the table with the pads of your fingers. I have no idea why the person in the video is pounding the table as if it was pizza dough being flattened but it is not necessary to apply so much force.

          It needs to detect a slight vibration, it doesn’t take much to activate. If you have it on a bed it will activate all the time with movement and shifting in bed, though.

    • Avenged110 says:

      Maybe I missed something, but couldn’t you just not do this if it’s disruptive, then? If you sleep alone, it sounds like a neat feature.

  5. Typical Yuppie says:

    Great tip, good idea Apple. This is useful but it should be fun too. My wife is going to love it when I start slamming on the side table to check the time at 4am!

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