Sadly the Apple Watch doesn't support third-party watch faces, and while that might change, you're stuck with what Apple has to offer right now.
But that doesn't mean that those looking for the best Apple Watch faces are short of customisation options. Complications offer a way to personalise your Watch experience, and can make watch faces more personal and useful โ and with the Apple Watch Series 4, that has been cranked up another notch.
Essential reading: Top Apple Watch tips and tricks
The great thing about complications is that they give you the information you want in an instant. Well, except for Siri face, which is designed more around information when it thinks you need it. If you've tried to set up complications on your Apple Watch, you know it can be difficult to know where to begin. Which watch face do you choose? Which complications should you use? How many should you set up?
Apple partly corrects this in the watch face gallery in the Watch app, but they only recommend faces based on specific apps rather than activities. So we've put together our own watch face and complication combinations grouped by activity. Going flying? We've got you covered. Want the perfect face for your morning commute? We know just the thing. Love the hell out of Siri? Here ya go.
Be sure to let us know what faces and complications you're using in the comments below.
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New Apple Watch Series 4 watch faces
The Apple Watch Series 4 has introduced a bunch of new watch faces that take advantage of the bigger screen real estate and processing power. Here's the lowdown.
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 โ 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.
New watchOS 5 watch faces
Some of the new watch faces announced at Apple's September 2018 event are available in watchOS 5, which means they can be enjoyed on older Apple Watches too. The only Apple Watch that can't be upgraded to watchOS 5 is the original. Watch Series 1-4 are all fine.
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 to 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 โ and one of the nicest visual effects you'll see.
Best Apple Watch faces and complication combos
There are now loads of Apple Watch faces on offer โ and the great thing is how customisable they 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.
The Pride (Pride)
For those attending Pride โ or looking to show some support to LGBT brothers and sisters โ 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.
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.
Get more from your Apple Watch
- Best Apple Watch apps to download firstOur list of free and paid-for apps for your shiny new Apple smartwatch
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- How to use the Apple Watch's heart rate monitorWe answer how it works, how accurate it is and what's new with the Series 4
- Apple Watch FAQ: Everything you need to knowNo matter the Series, we can answer your queries
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 trรจs 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 โ 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 โ 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.
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