How to use a picture as an Apple Watch face: Portrait and Photos faces explained

Dress your Watch with a face you love to stare at
How to use Portraits Apple Watch face
Wareable is reader-powered. If you click through using links on the site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Apple has taken its time, but it has finally made it easier to let you customise the look of your watch face on your Apple smartwatch.

We've now got complications (widgets), the ability to tinker with colors and now you can even drop a photo (both static and live) on the place you glance to check in on the time and whether you're getting closer to closing those rings.

With the launch of the Apple Watch Series 7 and watchOS 8, Apple has introduced the ability to bring Portrait photos to your Watch in a really attractive and dynamic way. Those work with Apple Watch Series 4 and later, so sadly Series 3 users miss out.

If you like the idea of putting one of your own photos onto your watch face including using that new Portrait Photo mode, we've broken down the key steps plus the things you need to know to make it happen.

Read on to find out how to set a picture as an Apple Watch face.

How to create a Portraits Apple Watch face

Works with: Apple Watch Series 4/5/6/7/SE

 Portraits Apple Watch face

if you want to make use of Apple's latest Portraits Watch Faces feature, there's a few things you need to make sure you've ticked off to make it happen. Those are:

You have an iPhone that can take Portrait photos (iPhone 7 Plus or later) or have access to Portrait photos that you've captured going back to 2016.

You also need to have an Apple Watch running watchOS 8 or later. Those watches that are compatible with watchOS 8 cover the Apple Watch Series 3 or later including the Apple Watch SE.

How to to create a Portraits Apple Watch face:

How to to create a Portraits Apple Watch face

1. Go to the Watch app on your iPhone and go to the Face Gallery

2. Scroll down until you get to Portraits. From here you can choose the photos you want to use to turn into a watch face.

3. There is the option to choose up to 24 different photos and when you raise your wrist, you'll see a different photo displayed.

4. Once you've found your ideal Portrait photos, select from Classic, Modern or rounded face looks and then choose your complication layout.

5. When you're done customising, hit the Add button and you have your Portrait watch face.

Apple said that photo watch faces are the most popular choice for Apple Watch owners, so now you know exactly how to get them onto your smartwatch.

How to use Apple Watch Photos watch face

Works with: Apple Watch Series 3/4/5/6/7/SE

How to set a picture as an Apple Watch Face

There's a few ways to do this with options to create that picture-based watch face from your phone or from your Apple Watch.

To set a picture as an Apple Watch from your iPhone, do the following:

1. Go to Photos on your iPhone.

2. Look for a photo that you want to share to your Watch and press the Share button.

3. Next, scroll down to select Create Watch Face, you'll then be given the option to choose the type of watch face you want. You can also adjust colors, the time position and where Complications sit too.

4. Once you've finished customising, press the Add button and the face will sync over to your Watch immediately.

For an alternative way to do this from your iPhone:

1. Go to the Watch app on your iPhone.

2. Select Face Gallery and scroll down to Photos.

3. Scroll to the Content section and select Photos to sync over photos you want to customise and add to your watch face.

How to set a picture as an Apple Watch face

To set a picture as an Apple Watch face from your Watch:

1. Go to the Photos app on your Watch. From here you can see synced photos from your iPhone that you can use to create watch faces.

2. Select your preferred photo and hit the Share button to create a watch face. Just like the iPhone approach, you'll have the option to pick from Kaleidoscope and Photos type watch faces.

This feature works with static and live photos, so if you choose to use the latter it will add in the animation, which jumps into life when you tap the screen or raise your wrist.

TAGGED