Playing around with the basics is natural when you first set up your Apple Watch, and that includes exploring watch faces and complications.
And though the smartwatch may not support third-party watch faces, there’s an extensive library of Apple’s own options of sift through. Anybody looking for a set of top Apple Watch faces to keep in their dock certainly isn’t short of choice.
Essential reading: Top Apple Watch tips and tricks
Below, we’ll be highlighting some of the best to choose from, as well as giving you the rundown on complications and instructions on how you can customize everything to your taste.
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We’ve gone through the steps of customizing an Apple Watch face in our dedicated guide, but it’s worth highlighting the basics here, too.
The easiest way to change the face is by sliding your finger left or right across the screen and scrolling though the different options. If you don’t want to go through endless cycling between a couple of your favorites, however, you can also force touch the screen to add and choose from a wider carousel.
Be aware this might not be a comprehensive list, though; you’ll have to hit the + option on the far right to add new watch faces from the catalogue. This can also be accessed through Apple Watch companion app, where the full library is available to add selections to your watch manually.
What are Apple Watch complications?
Complications are the tiny, customizable widgets that appear on watch face and offer a way to personalise your Watch experience – and with the Apple Watch Series 4, they’ve been cranked up another notch.
The great thing about complications is that they give you the information you want in an instant – say, for example, a small look at your battery level to save you from swiping to get it. To change them, simply hit the ‘Customize’ prompt when switching between faces; this allows you to edit the colours, design elements and complications of each watch face and have them saved into the on-watch library.
Best Apple Watch faces
There are now tons of Apple Watch faces on offer, and the great thing is how customisable they all are. Below, we’ve highlighted our favourites, and tried to show how different types of users can leverage watch faces and complications for incredibly varied and useful combos.
For the data obsessed, the Infograph has been sent from watch face heaven. It can support up to eight complications, including the new corner ones, which make use of the redesigned Series 4 to show extra information – check out the weather in the top-right with current, min and max temperatures on show. The middle offers shortcuts to common apps as well, for the Apple Watch obsessed user.
A second data-heavy new addition is Infograph Modular. With six complication spots, the three icons at the bottom can be changed to common contacts, to enable you to make calls straight from the Watch. Corner complications are out, but you can make use of the middle modular unit, which can even include boarding passes from Quantas, heart rate data and Citymapper commuting alerts.
The Breathe watch face apes the design of the app, using the same animations. You can pollute the tranquility with complications if you wish, although it does ruin the calm. Tap on the watch face and you’ll jump straight to the Breathe app for a guided session. Certainly good for those who are keen to get some mindfulness in their day.
Vapor, Fire, Water and Liquid Metal
New through watchOS 5, the Vapor, Fire and Water watch faces are for the more creative Apple Watch user. So keen were Apple to up the realism, each of these watch faces are actually captured from real photography. It makes for a pretty cool watch face – and one of the nicest visual effects you’ll see.
For those attending Pride – or looking to show some support to LGBT brothers and sisters – the Pride watch face is what you need. It’s minimalist and has a lush animation that transitions those rainbow lines from thin ribbons into strong bars. You can adjust the single complication as well, and third parties can get in on the act too.
The Commuter (Modular)
Commuting is all about getting to your destination as quickly and efficiently as possible. We’ve got Lyft in the center (again leveraging the Modular watch face) offering at-a-glance info should you hail a ride. Below that, ETA keeps you updated on traffic and public transportation delays, Carrot Weather tells you if it’d be wise to take your umbrella, and Citymapper keeps you updated on when you’ll reach your destination. You’ve no excuse to be late.
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The News / Sports Junkie (Modular)
This combination is all about keeping you in the know. The brand new Apple News takes the spotlight as the main complication in the Modular watch face. Unlike other news complications, this aggregates news from a whole bunch of sources. You’ve got the Dark Sky complication up at the top telling you the weather. At the bottom, Spark, Calendar and ESPN give you at-a-glance info of your inbox, the date and sports scores.
The Activity Tracker (Activity)
You’re looking to lose some weight and want to track your activity and calories on your journey. That’s why we’ve got the Workout complication up top ready for your next workout, a heart rate complication on the other side so you can check in on your vitals and the Lose It! complication down at the bottom letting you know how you’re doing on the food front. The digital activity face is the centerpiece here, so you can easily keep track of your beloved rings, calories, exercise minutes and stand hours.
The High Flyer (Modular)
You’re a busy person, and you need to be on the move and ready to go at all times. This face is for you. We’ve got the date and time up top, with the calendar complication below it, quickly telling tell what time it is and what you’ve got next on the agenda. On the bottom, you’ve got the Mail, Phone and Just Press Record for those moments you need to check your email, make a quick phone call or record a note. All of this will work perfectly whether you have an Apple Watch reliant on an iPhone or a model with LTE.
The Runner (Activity Analogue)
If you’re big on running, the Activity Analog watch face is your workout buddy. You’ve also got Apple’s stock Workout app alongside the more fully-featured Runtastic. And finally, there’s Lifesum up at the top, which will help you keep an eye on your water intake. If you’re hitting the weight room, the Gymatic Apple Watch app also has a complication worth considering.
The Assistant Lover (Siri)
If you’re looking for an assistant to be proactive about your day and what you need to get done, you’re not going to find a better watch face. The Siri complication sits up at the top, so if you need to get something done and don’t have your iPhone around she’ll do it. Below, you’ll see a carousel of guidance, notifications and more.
The Frequent Flyer (Modular)
Getting from your front door to your plane seat can be a stressful experience, but maybe this will ease the journey. All your boarding information is displayed centrally using the App in the Air complication, while you can keep an eye on meetings with Calendar, keep see the time at your destination with World Clock, and have a quick shortcut to your tunes. Again, take your pick of weather app to make sure you’re prepared for the journey. You’re like George Clooney in Up In The Air, just without the existential crisis.
The Globe Trotter (Modular)
When you’re bouncing around the world you need your next destination quick. That’s why Hotwire, which displays car rentals, hotel reservations and flight plans, is the centrepiece. You’ve also got Citymapper, World Clock, your boarding pass and iTranslate. C’est très bon!
The Adventurer (Modular)
AKA the Bear Grylls combo. You’ve got Carrot’s super weather app as the centrepiece, with Maps, Night Sky and Sunset / Sunrise all keeping you in tune with the great outdoors. Plus, your activity rings so you can see how much you’re going to hurt in the morning.
The Smart Home lover (Simple)
If you’re in Apple’s ecosystem that might also include some smart home tech, which is why we’ve added the HomeKit complication, while you’ve also got quick access to Remote if you want to control your Apple TV. And of course, don’t forget a handy timer. Home sweet home.
The Fun One (Mickey Mouse)
Just let loose and click on Mickey, he’ll tell you the time. Don’t be afraid to swap in the Toy Story gang if you prefer some Pixar, by the way. Get the weather from the sarcastic Carrot, use Magic Guide for theme park ride times, and hatch your Pokemon with Pokemon Go – all at the same time. See also Minnie Mouse and Toy Story.
The Fancy One (Chronograph)
Just need something visually interesting for the night? Head on over to the Chronograph watch and turn on the white watch face. It’s got a nice pop, especially when you turn off all the optional complications.
The Minimalist (Numerals)
You don’t need much. You’re simple – but classy. You just want the time and date, and you want it in the sleekest way possible. Take on the Numerals watch face, get a nice calm colour going, and then strut your stuff.
The Zen Master (Kaleidoscope)
If you’re looking to calm yourself, or just even want to zone out, your best bet is the Kaleidoscope face. Head to the Watch companion app and choose your own picture, then choose a design (we’ve got Radial here) and get your own custom piece of art on your wrist. We’ve gone with the Breathe and Heart Rate complications up at the top, so you’re just a tap away from total zen at all times.
The Photography Lover (Photo)
Smartphone cameras have become pretty damn good, and sometimes you’re going to take a picture that’s so good you love to look at it a lot. It could be the Golden Gate Bridge or your significant other, but it’s a photo that just centres you, ya know? That’s what this face is for. We’ve also gone with a simple calendar complication below that, but you can get rid of that if you’d prefer to have your view less obstructed.