While Apple doesn’t yet allow for the creation of third-party watch faces on the Apple Watch, you can at least make your own custom watch face for your Apple Watch quickly and easily with the tools you have available.
With the release of watchOS 2, Apple has added more watch faces that users can choose from, and the Apple Watch has had a feature called Complications that allows you to place widgets for apps right onto a watch face that allows Complications. While it’s not exactly complete customization of Apple Watch watch faces, it’s at least a step in the right direction.
There are a couple of ways to go as far as creating your own custom watch face for your Apple Watch. You can either take a default watch face and customize the Complications and colors to make it your own, or you can take any photo you want and use it as your wallpaper of sorts, while displaying the date and time in the top-right corner.
Read: Apple Watch Review
The first option is perhaps the easiest method for customizing watch faces, but it can also leave something to be desired. However, if you don’t need to use Complications and would rather have your own photos showing on your watch face, the second option may be the way to go.
In any case, here’s how to make your own custom watch face for your Apple Watch.
Apple’s Selection of Watch Faces
When you first check out the watch faces that Apple offers on the Apple Watch, you have a few to choose from. To change your watch face, simply press down on the screen to activate Force Touch and you’ll be able to scroll through the different watch faces that are available.
There are currently 13 different watch faces that Apple offers, varying from analog to digital watch faces, as well as few unique options like Mickey Mouse and a watch face that offers extra large numbers for a minimalistic appearance.
You can customize any of them and change the colors and the Complications if the specific watch face supports Complications.
There are a handful of stock Complications, but to enable third-party Complications, you’ll need to go into the Apple Watch app on your iPhone and tap on Complications. From there, add or remove any third-party Complication that you want.
Now, go to your Apple Watch and Force Touch your watch face to access the other watch faces. The watch faces that support Complications include Modular, Simple, Color, and Chronograph. Select one and then tap on Customize to begin customizing it.
To customize, you’ll first start out with the accent color that you can change by spinning the Digital Crown. After that, swipe to the left to begin customizing the Complications. Tap on one of the Complication areas and spin the Digital Crown to choose a Complication to go into that slot.
When you’re done customizing the Complications and the watch face, simply click the Digital Crown to finish and begin using your new customized watch face.
Using Photos As Watch Face Wallpaper
If you want to use a photo as your watch face, you can do so with a bit of elbow grease.
Your Apple Watch allows you to use a single photo as your watch face wallpaper of sorts, or you can set up an album to show a new random photo each time you raise your wrist and access your watch.
For this, the two watch faces you’ll want to focus on are Photo Album and Photo. However, before you begin, it’s best to create a new album in the Photos app on your iPhone and call it something like “Watch Faces” or “Apple Watch” — whatever you want. From there, you can move photos into that album, which you’ll be prompted to do after you create the album.
After that, go into the Apple Watch app on your iPhone and navigate to Photos > Synced Albums. From the list of albums, select the album that you created.
Now, access the custom watch faces on your Apple Watch and select the Photo Album watch face. Your Apple Watch will now use those photos in the album you created. Of course, you could sync all of your photos by selecting All Photos in the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, but this will cycle through all of your photos instead of just a select few that you want to show on your watch face.
To use only one specific photo as your watch face, select the Photo watch face and then tap Customize. Use the Digital Crown to scroll through the pictures and choose one that you’d like to use. Tap on it to select it. From there, you can zoom in and out on the photo using the Digital Crown and use your finger to move the photo around to a position that you like.
If you’re feeling extra creative, you can use a graphic in place of a photo to give your Apple Watch its own theme so to speak. Here’s a great website to get watch face backgrounds to use on your Apple Watch, but if you want to create your own, a Redditor has made a Photoshop template that you can use. This is perhaps the best way to truly customize your Apple Watch watch face, but any method above can work great for you.
Lastly, there’s a new iPhone app called Facer that makes the above method a lot easier if you want to go that route.
Facer pretty much uses the same trick of using a photo as your watch face, but it takes it to a whole new level. For instance, you can have Instagram photos automatically rotate with every flick of the wrist, as well as Tumblr photos from your favorite blog.
You can learn while you use your Apple Watch and have your watch faces teach you different “languages, constellations or the elements of the periodic table with flashcard style faces”.