We’ve tried both types of displays available on the Aluminum, respectively Stainless Steel cases and have observed that the Sport edition has a better degree of visibility compared to the more expensive models. This happens because of a specific characteristic of the sapphire crystal material. This scratch proof coating reflects double the amount of the ambient light, when compared to glass, thus making the screen less readable when used on a smartwatch, especially in bright light conditions.
How To Increase Apple Watch Display Readability
From our tests, the difference between the two Apple Watch displays isn’t major, but it’s definitely noticeable. As with the iPhone, the Cupertino-based company has included a few software tweaks to help users improve visibility, in special conditions. Here is a list of them:
1. Increase Brightness
In case you have trouble with the luminescence of your smartwatch’s screen, while finding yourself in a bright light ambiance, try to solve it by raising the Brightness levels. The gadget isn’t equipped with a light sensor on the front face, thus it can’t automatically adjust illumination the way your iOS device does. You’ll have to increase its brilliance manually either from the Apple Watch app on your iPhone or directly from your wrist. Tap the Digital Crown and access the Settings app. Browse for Brightness & Text Size and adjust the levels accordingly.
2. Adjust Text Size
If you suffer from vision problems you can tweak watch OS to display a larger text size. There are 6 font size levels to choose from. The default setting is ranged at size 2 out of 6.
Flick your wrist and tap the Digital Crown to open the app home screen carousel. Open Settings and scroll for Brightness and Text Size. Now, tap on Text Size and press the right “Aa” icon to increase the font size. Decrease it using the button on the left.
You can also tweak this setting from the Apple Watch app on your iPhone. Browse to My Watch -> Brightness & Text Size.
3. Bold Text
This feature can help you make letters more distinguishable. Do mind though, that enabling Bold Text leads to an automatic Apple Watch restart, because this setting affects all Watch OS fonts, including the Watch Face numbers and letters.
Text Size, described above, does alter only the size of the text within content and not other fonts available on the Watch Face, within Glances or on the standard Watch OS screens.
Bold Text is activated/deactivated from the same Watch Settings menu that tweaks Brightness and Text Size.
This setting is made available for those suffering from visual impairments or for using the device in night mode. It turns your beautiful full color display into a old-fashioned black and white screen.
The feature can be toggled on only from the Apple Watch app on your iOS device. Open it and browse to My Watch -> General -> Accessibility -> Grayscale.
Because of the OLED technology Grayscale is also a battery saver, for your wrist device. An advantage that’s currently not available with the iPhone’s LCD display.
5. Zoom In
If you apply the above tips and still find things hard to read on your wearable, you can go one step further an zoom in. This Accessibility feature can be choosen as a shortcut and activated with a triple-click of the Digital Crown. When Zoom is active you can enlarge or minimize areas of your display, by double-taping the screen with two fingers.
If you don’t use the shortcut, you can manually enable/disable Zoom from Settings -> General -> Accessibility -> Zoom on your Apple Watch.
6. On/Off Labels
This setting is quite mandatory if you can’t distinguish colors, or use the Watch in Grayscale mode. Without tones you won’t be able to tell when a knob is in ON or OFF position. Activating the Labels feature will add an “I” for ON and “0” for OFF, the binary symbols for true or false.
This is done from the Settings app on your wrist gadget. Navigate to General -> Accessibility -> On/Off Labels.
7. Reduce Transparency
One other thing that you can tweak in order to improve the Apple Watch display readability is disabling the Reduce Transparency setting. This ensures a filled background and enhances contrast, when viewing the Force Touch screen, for example. The app background isn’t noticeable anymore, thus making the pop-up screen more visible.
This setting can also be toggled On or Off only from the Apple Watch app on your iPhone. Open it and navigate to My Watch -> General -> Accessibility -> Reduce Transparency.
8. Reduce Motion
Makes app selection from the home screen bundle much more easier, because the icons increase in size and are more facile to tap. You can still drag the carousel and search for a specific application. The only downside is that the view is a little more restricted because of the icons’ bigger size.
However, you can zoom out for a panoramic view to detect the area where the app is placed.
This feature can be enabled or disabled from the Apple Watch, via Settings -> General -> Accessibility -> Reduce Motion.
9. Clean Screen
Last but not least fingerprints on your screen aren’t a plus when it comes to display visibility, especially in bright light conditions. Whenever your common sense tells you that the Watch is filthy, grab a lint-free nonabrasive napkin and clean your Apple Watch!