The Apple Watch is the epitome of wearable tech. It can make and receive phone calls, track your biometric data, function as a Fitbit, and much more. In the latest models, the Apple Watch can even function as a medical device to monitor your blood pressure and heart rate and alert your physician if you’re in danger. 

But for those who care about aesthetics, the numerous choices for watch faces is where the device truly shines. By default, you can choose from multiple Apple Watch faces that include the Modular, Siri, Activity Digital, Breathe, Kaleidoscope, Vapor, Mickey Mouse, and Utility faces. 

All of these are well-designed and will work for most anyone, but if you want to stand out, go for the custom Apple watch face. You can choose images from your Photo gallery as the background of your Apple Watch, but at present, you cannot download truly “custom” faces—but you can find awesome images to work as the background and create your own custom face by adding “Complications.”

A “Complication” is a special feature you can add to the watch face, such as a stock price ticker or information from another app. The ability to choose what information you see at a glance is how you can make your watch face unique from anyone else’s. The key is knowing where to look for backgrounds. 

Where To Get Complications for a Custom Apple Watch Face

A lot of third-party apps come with Complications that you can later add to your Apple Watch. For example, iTranslate comes with a Complication you can add that automatically determines the local language based on your GPS location and translates helpful phrases throughout the day. You can just tap the Complication from there to enter the full screen mode and speak the phrase you need translated into it.

A full list of third-party apps that provide complications is difficult to come by. However, when an app does provide a Complication it will automatically appear in your list of potential options. You can view the ones you currently have by launching the Watch app and tapping Complications beneath My Faces.

WatchMaker

WatchMaker is an app that claims to have over 100,000 different watch faces and hands to choose from. It uses the Live Photos feature to create animated faces for the Apple Watch, but notes inside the app that analog hands, weather, and battery features are not supported by Apple. 

Something to be aware of: the app is free to download, but during the setup process prompts you to sign up for their premium service at $3.99 per week. The way to bypass this is a small “X” in the top-right corner.

The app provides access to quite a few free backgrounds and a watch face builder, but it is extremely aggressive in pushing its premium service – so much so that it is nearly unusable. While it is an option if you’re dedicated to exploring every potential outlet for creating custom Apple watch faces, use at your own risk.

Faces

Faces is another app that gives access to a wide range of creative backgrounds. Like WatchMaker, it is riddled with advertisements. There are dozens of categories to choose from, but the vast majority of them require you to subscribe to the premium service to access the images. Each category offers one to two free backgrounds, however.

The app works without any unnecessary steps, unlike apps like Facer. 

  1. You launch it, select the image you want, and then click Create a watch face.
  2. Ignore the ad and wait until you can click the “X” in the top left corner. 
  3. Tap the Watch icon on the screen, then select Create Watch Face from the menu that appears. You can then select between a Photos watch face and a Kaleidoscope watch face. You’ll be able to select a few other details, like where you want the time to appear and what Complication fields you want active. 
  4. Once you’ve done that, just tap Add and it will appear on your watch in a few seconds.

There are other apps to consider, like Watch Face and Facer. Every app we tested required a premium subscription. The truth is, you do not need an app to create a custom Apple watch face. While “true” custom faces are not available due to restrictions placed by Apple, you can choose a photo in your gallery to be the background. 

These photos can be downloaded from anywhere on the web. Once you download and choose the background, select the Complications you want to add. It takes a bit of finagling, but you can create your own custom Apple Watch face without paying money to a third-party developer.

The single best place to find a custom Apple Watch face is Google. Maybe browse Pinterest or Deviant Art for a design that appeals to you. Save it, apply it to your watch, and create your own face. It’s easier and faster than trying to work with a third-party app.