Raise to Wake is a new feature in iOS 10. When you pick your iPhone up, the screen is supposed to turn on so you can see all the revamped notifications on the lock screen.

It sounds great on paper, but in reality, it can be a bit finicky to use. Sometimes, when you pick up your phone, you’re left staring expectantly at a blank screen. Rather than write Raise to Wake off, I decided to spend an embarrassing amount of time working out how to reliably trigger it. Here’s what I found.

Raise to Wake uses the M9 processor, so it’s only on the iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, and iPhone SE. If you’re using an older iPhone and can’t get it to work…well, that’s why.

After way too long picking up and putting down my iPhone 6S, though, I found that there are two ways to activate Raise to Wake every time. It will trigger if you:

  • flip your iPhone from face down to face up, or
  • lift your iPhone so it’s vertical in portrait mode, perpendicular to the ground.

Let’s take them one at a time.

If your iPhone is lying face down on a table and you turn it face up, Raise to Wake will activate. It doesn’t matter what axis you rotate it around, it will always trigger.

You can use this to get Raise to Wake to work every time you take your phone out of your pocket. Just hold your phone face down and quickly rotate your wrist until it’s face up.

The other option to trigger Raise to Wake is to lift your iPhone so it’s vertical in portrait mode. Basically, just raise your iPhone to eye level. If your phone is already face up in your hand, this is the easiest way to bring up the lock screen.

Annoyingly, Raise to Wake doesn’t work when your phone is in a landscape orientation relative to the ground. This isn’t so much of a problem when you’re standing, but if you pick your phone up while lying in bed, the screen won’t light up automatically. It doesn’t matter that it looks like it’s in portrait orientation to you, it’s in landscape orientation to the ground.

I love Raise to Wake and think it’s a great feature, especially once you’ve worked out how to use it. If you don’t like it, however, we’ve covered how to turn it off too.

Profile Photo for Harry Guinness Harry Guinness
Harry Guinness is a photography expert and writer with nearly a decade of experience. His work has been published in newspapers like The New York Times and on a variety of other websites, from Lifehacker to Popular Science and Medium's OneZero.
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