How to Make Custom Watch Faces for Apple Watch

An Apple Watch.

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

Why You’d Want to Make Custom Watch Faces for Apple Watch

While the Apple Watch does have a lot of 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.” In order to get the right blend of features and design, you may want to consider creating your own.

There are two 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 Apple Watch. It lets you import and add custom watch faces for your Apple Watch. One way to leverage it is through a third-party app, such as Facer.

The Facer website.

This is an online community where users can create and share and download their own customized watch faces for various wearables. The app is free to use and supported on many devices.

The Facer App Store screen.

After downloading the app to your iPhone and registering for an account, select the Apple Watch. You can browse different watch faces in the app, search for a specific one, and see what’s trending.

The Facer search page.

Once you find one that you like, tap it to bring up a preview of the watch face.

The Facer watch face preview.

Click the Add button on the right side to open the Watch app on your phone. Click “Add to My Faces”.

Adding a watch face to the iOS Watch app.

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

You’ll see the new watch face as part of your collection within the Watch app. In most cases, your Apple Watch should switch to the new face too.

A new watch face on Apple Watch.

From here, you can customize it as you would any other watch face.

2. Use Image Editing Software to Build a Custom Watch Face

You could also create a watch face using an image-editing program, such as Adobe Photoshop or GIMP. In its most basic configuration, the functionality on the watch is little more than a watch overlay on top of a photo.

You’ll want to use the appropriate dimensions when setting up your project, 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

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.

The Apple Watch SE comes in 44mm or 40mm sizes, so we’re going for the 44mm here.

To create a simple watch face, select the rectangle tool from your tool box, and choose an appropriate color or gradient:

Creating a watch face in Affinity Designer.

Fill the project space, and carry on customizing your watch face. From here, you can export it in any desired format. We recommend a high-quality PNG image, as this will transfer well to the Apple Watch.

Get Your Custom Watch Faces on Your Apple Watch

To get your custom watch face onto your Apple Watch, add it to the Photos app and make sure it syncs across.

From here, open the Photos app on your Watch.

Choosing the Photos app on Apple Watch.

From your camera roll, select you created image, and either “force touch” or choose the watch icon in the bottom left corner to select “Create Watch Face.” Choose either a kaleidoscope or photo layout.

A custom Apple Watch face.

You can then force touch again to change the orientation of the time and date, add a filter overlay, and add a basic complication.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I Share My Custom Watch Faces?

You can share them with others as you would any other image – whether that’s through text message or a cloud upload.

2. 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.

3. Are There Any Other Apps to Help Me Create Custom Watch Faces for Apple Watch?

There are! WatchMaker is another popular face creator, and while we haven’t tried AWC Faces, it can also let you create custom designs.

Wrapping Up

Giving your Apple Watch a unique style is a stellar way to up your experience with it. Creating custom watch faces is possible but not to the extent of interfering with Apple’s in-house development. Even so, there are apps available, and a way to use images as a background for a generic overlay. If you want to take your Apple Watch usage to the next level, take a look at our article on how to make use of Siri to carry out most functions.

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