How to Make Custom Watch Faces for Apple Watch

Apple Watch Make Custom Watch Face

Part of what has made the Apple Watch so popular is its vast amount of customization options. For instance, you can create custom watch faces for your Apple wearable to make it one of a kind. This tutorial takes a look at how to create custom watch faces for Apple Watch and how to upload them.

Why Should You Make Custom Watch Faces for Apple Watch

While the Apple Watch has many customization options, you can create a unique experience for your exact needs. Further, some of the available watch faces are fantastic but don’t have enough (or too many) “complications.” So in order to get the right blend of features and design, you may want to consider creating your own.

There are three ways to create custom watch faces for the Apple Watch. Below we share the steps to make your wearable unique.

1. Use a Third-Party App to Create Watch Faces for Apple Watch

Face Sharing is a fantastic feature of the Apple Watch. It lets you import and add custom watch faces for your Apple Watch. One way to leverage this is through a third-party app, such as Facer.

The Facer website.
Image source: Facer

This is an online community where users can create, share and download their customized watch faces for various wearables including Apple Watch. Here’s how to create custom watch faces for Apple Watch using the Facer app:

  1. Install the Watch Faces by Facer app on your iPhone. The app is free to use and supported on many devices.
Apple Facer App
  1. Once you open the app, you will be asked to select the device for which you want to create a watch face. Select “Apple Watch.”
Apple Watch Facer App
  1. You can then browse the different pre-made watch faces in the app. Search for a specific one, and see what’s trending. Once you find a face you like, tap it to bring up a preview of the watch face.
Apple Watch Facer App Find Face
  1. Tap on the “Watch” icon on the right side to open the Apple Watch app on your phone.
Apple Watch Facer App Add To Watch
  1. The Apple Watch app will open. Tap on “Add to My Faces.”
  2. The watch face will appear under the “My faces” section of the Apple Watch. And in most cases, your Apple Watch should switch to the new face too.
Apple Watch Facer App Customize
  1. Tap on the watch face in the Apple Watch app to customize its colors and complications.
  2. You can select your favorite color by tapping on the base color and then choosing your favorite shade by sliding your finger on the color bar.
Apple Watch Face Change Color
  1. Similarly, tap on any of the options from the “Complications” list to add or change a complication. In case you’re not familiar with the term, complications are the tiny widgets that either show extra information on the screen like battery percentage, reminders, blood oxygen levels, activity details, etc. or allow you to open apps right from the watch face like calculator, timer, and more.

Note: You can even turn off a complication completely if you don’t want your watch face to show it.

Apple Watch Face Customize Complication
  1. Once you’re happy with the result, save the custom watch face to start using it.
Apple Watch Face Customize Design

If the watch face features complications from uninstalled apps, you’ll get a notification. You can skip installing the missing app, although the complication will show an empty space instead.

Apps to Create Custom Watch Faces

Facer is just one third-party app to create custom watch faces, but there are many more alternatives to try:

2. Create a Custom Watch Face From Any Photo

You can create a custom watch face for your Apple Watch using any photo present in your iPhone’s Gallery. Follow these steps:

  1. Launch the Apple Photos app on your iPhone and open the image that you want to set as your watch face.
  2. Tap on the “Share” icon at the bottom and select “Create watch face.”
Apple Watch Face Create Photo
  1. You will get two styles to choose from – “Photos Watch Face” and “Kaleidoscope Watch Face.” Tap on the one you want to use to go to its customization screen.
Apple Watch Face Customize
  1. If you’ve selected “Photos,” you can now change the orientation of the time and date and choose the photos you want to use for your watch face from the Photos app.
Apple Watch Face Customization Native Photos
  1. Alternatively, if you selected “Kaleidoscope,” you can add complications like Mindfulness (helps you practice mindfulness), heart rate, battery percentage, activity, and others. At the same time, you can also have your pick from various Styles for your new watch face.
Apple Watch Face Customization Native Kaleidoscope
  1. Once you’re done tweaking, tap on “Add” to set the newly created custom watch face.
Apple Watch Face Add

3. Use Image-Editing Software to Create Watch Faces for Apple Watch

You could also create a watch face using an image-editing program, such as Adobe Photoshop (or any other photo-editing software alternative you might be using, such as GIMP.) However, in its most basic configuration, the functionality of the watch is little more than a watch overlay on top of a photo.

First off, select the image you want to use. Because most watches use a Retina display, you’ll want to use high-quality images and may want to go for double the dimensions and export down to the actual face size. For instance, the Apple Watch SE comes in 44mm or 40mm sizes, so we’re going for the 44mm here.

In the photo editing program, you will need to set up your project using the appropriate dimensions based on the case size of your Apple Watch:

  • 38mm: 272px x 340px
  • 40mm: 324px x 394px
  • 42mm: 312px x 394px
  • 44mm: 368px x 448px
  1. With these technical details out of the way, select the “Bucket” fill tool to fill the project space using a pattern, gradient, or color of your choice.
Gimp Add Color
  1. Carry on customizing your watch face by adding an image (you might have to scale or resize it to fit the main layer added above) or anything else that you want on your watch face.
  2. When the watch face is ready, you can export it in any desired image format. We recommend a high-quality .png image, as this will transfer well to the Apple Watch. Click on “File” and select “Export as.”
Gimp Export Image

  1. Next, you need to get your custom watch face onto your Apple Watch by sending the image to the iPhone. Make sure it shows up in the Apple Photos app.
  2. Once the photo shows up on your iPhone, follow the steps given in method #2 to customize and set the custom watch face.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I share my custom watch faces?

You can share them with others as you would any other watch face – whether that’s through text message or a cloud upload. Once the watch face is on your watch, touch and hold it. Then, tap on the “Share” icon to send it to your friends.

How do I add more custom complications and features?

You’ll need some knowledge of how to build watchOS apps and use Xcode. Though Apple has a stringent submission policy that doesn’t let developers submit any watchOS app that looks like a watch face.

How can I customize a watch face I've created on Apple Watch?

You can customize the existing watch faces directly on your Apple Watch by touching and holding the current watch face. Then, swipe left or right to go to the watch face that you want to work on. Tap on the “Edit” button to customize the watch face.

All screenshots by Mehvish Mushtaq

Mehvish Mushtaq
Mehvish Mushtaq

Mehvish is a tech lover from Kashmir. With a degree in computer engineering, she's always been happy to help anyone who finds technology challenging. She's been writing about technology for over six years, and her favorite topics include how-to guides, explainers, tips and tricks for Android, iOS/iPadOS, Windows, social media, and web apps.

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