No 'Wrist detection' while laying down?

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by J.C, May 3, 2015.

  1. J.C macrumors 6502

    Nov 12, 2008
    When I'm laying down and turn my wrist to view the watch, nothing happens; the screen doesn't wake. Even with a very very deliberate movement of my arm it won't activate. In fact the only way to activate the screen while laying down is tapping it.

    But when sitting or standing it works perfectly. Strangely enough it works perfectly even when my arm seems to be in the exact same position as it is when I'm laying. It was doing this to some degree since I got it, but now it never activates while laying.

    What the hell is going on!? I'm tried restoring the watch, resetting it etc. No change.
  2. M-5 macrumors 65816


    Jan 4, 2008

    The watch is only supposed to detect your wrist turning when you are in a normal-upright position. Otherwise it would probably be turning on unintentionally in many other positions.
  3. shayneox, May 3, 2015
    Last edited: May 3, 2015

    shayneox macrumors member


    Jan 6, 2015
    Songtan South Korea
    I don't know nothing as I haven't got mine yet.
    I would have thought this would be a feature as to not wear the battery out in the horizontal position/sleeping. if you raise your arm up while laying down , you are only putting it in the same positions that resembles standing , thus it should not wake....I'm guessing though :)
    I'm curios to see what others say.
  4. deadandalive macrumors member


    Apr 25, 2015
    Pretty sure it is intentional.

    They dont want it lighting up while you are sleeping, because it will kill the battery and wake you up
  5. J.C thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 12, 2008
    Thanks for the replies. This sucks. My back is out and I'm working from bed and I can't use my watch.

    Anyone know how it actually works? I can get my arm in the exact same position sitting/laying but it still knows which is which.
  6. Scott-n-Houston macrumors 6502a

    Apr 27, 2008
    Houston (duh)
    It's using a gyro to determine its orientation relative to the ground, not your body position. It doesn't have face detection or other sensors to know you're viewing it, so when you're in bed, it will be at a different orientation. Just press a button :)
  7. M-5 macrumors 65816


    Jan 4, 2008
    My watch lights up when I turn my wrist while I am sitting, or laying in bed with my body in a relatively upright positon. It however doesn't work if I am completely laying down and try to flick my wrist.
  8. Nismo73 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 4, 2013
    So what's the difference between sitting at a desk with your hand flat on the desk and raising it up to activate it vs lying flat on a bed with your hand flat on the bed and then raising it up to activate it?
  9. sjinsjca macrumors 68020


    Oct 30, 2008
    This strikes me as a feature, not a bug. My beloved Casio Pathfinder has a lift-to-illuminate feature that turns on its backlight when you bring your wrist up to look at it at night. Unfortunately the damn thing spontaneously illuminates all night long, as the feature has no intelligence built into it to prevent that from happening. So, since I wear the watch at night, I've had that feature turned off.
  10. Scott-n-Houston macrumors 6502a

    Apr 27, 2008
    Houston (duh)
    The final angle relative to the ground is different.
  11. Bigserver1 macrumors regular

    Sep 26, 2012
    It works, it's just a bit more finicky. For example, I'm lying on my couch right now, and if I want to take a look at the watch, I'll make a more exaggerated movement, and it typically works. If it doesn't, I'll simply tap the screen to activate the display. I'd say my success rate doing this is 90%+, but it does take a while to get used to.

    Good luck, I'm sure you'll find a method that works.
  12. littlezumbo macrumors member

    Apr 24, 2015
    Los Angeles, Ca.
    Couldn't you make an exaggerated vertical movement before twisting your wrist and turning the face towards you? I see you wrote you make a "deliberate movement", but perhaps lifting it towards the ceiling first might do the trick.

    On a separate matter, here's to hoping your back makes a speedy recovery.
  13. sessamoid macrumors member

    Aug 18, 2011
    As others have guessed, the algorithm is almost certainly designed to turn on only with certain movements and certain orientation relative to gravitational pull, or otherwise there would be a crazy number of false positives.

    If you just tap the face with your finger (or nose, for that matter), it'll turn on.
  14. J.C thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 12, 2008

    I probably should have said exaggerated as I've definitely tried that. Even when I nearly hit myself in the head swinging my arm up to look it does nothing.

    It does sound like you guys are correct about it working this way by design.


    I'm not understanding this fully as my arm position relative to the ground seems exactly the same when I'm laying with my arm beside me on the bed verses sitting with it on the desk. The only thing that changes is my elbow straightens as my body reclines. I'm sure you're right but perhaps there's a bit more intelligence to the detection.
  15. AdonisSMU macrumors 603

    Oct 23, 2010
    My friend who owns an android wear device hands up seems to work just fine but maybe Im wrong it looked like it worked just fine for him.
  16. Kb522 macrumors member

    Mar 15, 2011
    Yeah, I've also noticed it does not work while upside down. Haha! Doing yoga and such! :)
  17. yalag macrumors 65816

    Nov 18, 2007
    I dont find it that bad in those cases, to just tap on the screen. A lot of people don't realize that you can tap on the screen even when it's off.
  18. Zeos macrumors 6502

    Jan 24, 2008
    Noticed this too. Have to touch the screen to wake it up, and then sometimes it shuts off too quickly. This is indeed somewhat bothersome. Reminds me of the initial iPhone when they had not included a rotation lock and the screen would flip around while you were laying down. Needs a fix, but it's going to be complex for Apple to figure this one out.
  19. samiznaetekto macrumors 65816

    Dec 26, 2009
    This was discussed here do death way before the launch. Without searching for old threads, I'll just say, "I told you so!" The fix is not possible without annoying user in one way or another - either it won't activate when you want it or it will activate left and right when you don't want it.

    The only fix is Screen Always On.
  20. J.C thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 12, 2008
    Surely the simplest fix is a switch to select if you want it to activate while laying down or not. For people who never sleep with the watch they can have it activate just like it does sitting, standing. No one will be annoyed.

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