Apple Watch has hundreds of brilliant features, so much so that it’s easy to forget that their most basic job is to tell you the time. It is a watch, after all. Here, we explain how to choose, change and customise your Apple Watch’s face.
There are lots of watch faces to choose from, and the selection is growing all the time. There are traditional faces, modern digital faces, and brand-new ways to visualise time.
Watch faces can be changed whenever you fancy, so if you get bored of one or feel like it doesn’t suit your mood it’s an easy process to swap it for something more fitting.
Swipe to change your watch face
It’s very easy to change watch face on the go. Simply swipe smoothly your finger across from the righthand edge of the watch face to the lefthand edge, and it’ll change to the next watch face you’ve got queued up.
You can swipe from left to right to go back to earlier faces in your list. If swiping isn’t working, you’ve probably got to the end of your list, so try swiping in the opposite direction.
The idea is that you might have one watch face for work and another for leisure time (each with different information/complications for the different activities you’d be getting up to), and swipe from one to the other at your whim. Or you might have different styles for different outfits, or for different activities.
Change the swipable faces in your My Faces list
If you want to change the watch faces in the list – the ones you’ll swipe through from the watch itself – open the Watch app on the paired iPhone. Make sure you’re on the My Watch tab (bottom left icon should be orange – tap it if not). You’ll see the first three watch faces in your My Faces list at the top, but you can swipe horizontally to see more.
Tap Edit and you’ll see your faces in a vertical list. Tap the red circle by a face to remove it from the list; tap and hold the triple-line icon to the right of a face to drag it into a new position in the order. Hit Done when you’re finished.
You can also customise the faces from the My Watch tab: just tap one of the faces and you’ll be able to change the pattern/picture/location of time-lapse photo etc, the complications and so on. Scroll to the bottom of the page and tap ‘Set as current Watch Face’ if you want it to become the default.
Much of the watch face customisation, however, can be done on the watch itself, which we’ll get to in a moment. But first…
How to stop the Apple Watch changing face by accident
We’ve heard from a few users who find that their Apple Watch changes its face when they don’t want it to. Annoying!
If you find that you’re accidentally swiping across the Apple Watch screen and changing face by mistake, there are a couple of solutions.
1. Turn on water lock. If you wear your watch in the shower – this is obviously more likely with the more water-resistant Apple Watch Series 2 and 3 – then you may find that tendrils of warm water can activate the screen. We’ve often come out of the shower with a different watch face to the one we went in with, thanks to the meddling of these watery ‘fingers’.
For this and other reasons it’s a good idea to turn on water lock before you get in the shower. Bring up Control Centre by swiping up from the bottom of the screen and tapping the little water-droplet icon. (You’ll need to swipe up again, because it’s just off the bottom of the screen, just below the Do Not Disturb moon.)
The screen will be temporarily locked against touchscreen activation, but you’ll still be able to ‘raise to wake’ and check the time or any notifications.
When you’re finished in the shower, turn the Digital Crown dial and it’ll unlock the screen and make a noise to dislodge any remaining water from the speaker aperture.
2. Delete all the watch faces from your My Faces list, except for the one you want to use. (We show how to do this in the next section.) Drastic, but not irreversible – you can add new faces (or old ones you deleted) by going to the Face Gallery section of the Watch app on your iPhone, tapping on a face you like and tapping Add.
Change & customise faces on the watch itself
First, press firmly on your current watch face to bring up the Faces gallery. Swipe left and right to find the watch face you want.
Once you’ve chosen, you can either tap it to make it your new face or customise it further by tapping the Customise button at the bottom of the screen.
Customise your watch face
Once you’ve tapped Customize, you’ll come to the customisation screen. The dots along the top represent how many customisation panels there are for the Face you’ve chosen. On this one, which is the Utility watch face, there are three panels.
You can customise anything that’s within the green outlines. In this instance, the first panel lets you add more detail to the Face. Turn the Digital Crown (the dial on the side of the watch) to add hours and minutes.
Swiping across to the next screen will bring you to the next element that you can customise. With the Utility watch face, you can change the colour of the second hand by scrolling with the Digital Crown.
The third screen offers various areas that you can tap to customise. You can add different useful information in each area, including calendar, weather, moon phases and more.
Press the Digital Crown when you’ve finished customising and then tap the screen to set it as your watch face.
You can tap on the temperature on your watch face (if you’ve chosen to display it) to go to the weather app, or your next appointment to go to your calendar, for example.
There you have it! You now know how to change and customise the face on your Apple Watch.