Why Users Want More Apple Watch Faces

Choice is good

Key Takeaways

  • Apple offers a bunch of new options for Apple Watch faces with its latest update. 
  • The new Portraits watch face uses portrait photos shot on iPhone. 
  • Google’s Wear OS for smartwatches offers a lot more customization than Apple.
Watch Faces on Apple WatchOS 8.


The latest Apple Watch update offers new watch faces, but many users still aren't satisfied with the selection. 

Watch OS 8 brings new looks to Apple Watch with world time and portraits faces. Cupertino's selection is still far more limited than those available on Google's rival Wear OS. 

"Apple has always been selective about watch faces and has taken 'a less is more' approach," smartwatch owner Tim Absalikov told Lifewire in an email interview. "On Wear OS, besides changing the strap, you can customize the watch face as you wish."

Customize With Limits

You've got some more choices with Apple's latest watch faces. The new Portraits watch face, for example, uses portrait photos shot on iPhone. Apple describes Portraits as offering an "immersive, multilayered effect, intelligently recognizing faces in photos and cropping in to highlight the subject," according to a news release

There's also a classic-looking World Time face, which Apple says is "based on heritage watches and ideal for travelers." This new face tracks the time in 24 time zones around a double dial.

Apple Watch users say they want even more options, however. 

Amy Jackson describes herself as a busy mother and business owner. She relies on her Apple Watch to keep her notified about when someone is trying to reach her, what's next in her family's schedule and her work schedule, the weather, and meeting exercise goals. 

"I've toggled between a photo album of my kids as my watch face, the weather, my calendar, and my rings," she told Lifewire in an email interview. "Ideally, I wouldn't have to choose."

Jackson wants a watch face that combines everything: what's next on the calendar, today's weather by the hour, progress against my rings, and news alerts. 

"A photo of my kids would be the icing on top," she said. 

The available Apple Watch faces quickly get boring, many observers say. 

"People enjoy customization," Apple Watch user Kyle MacDonald told Lifewire in an email interview. "Graphics, colors, and even fonts can impact individual emotions differently, so people value being able to make their own adjustments."

Apple has always been selective about watch faces and has taken 'a less is more' approach.

MacDonald says he prefers the Breathe watch face. "As a very busy and often stressed out individual, seeing this watch face reminds me to relax and take a deep breath," he added. 

Wear OS Beats Apple for Customization

Google's Wear OS for smartwatches offers a lot more customization than Apple. Android owners can enjoy a wide variety of watch faces that can be downloaded from the app store. However, the functionality of Wear OS is limited when used with an iOS device. 

For Android phone users, Absalikov recommends Wear OS face is Neo Watch that displays both digital and analog time. 

"While the free version is limited to features such as weather, battery indicator, background colors, and 24-hour time format, the premium version showcases 3-day weather forecast, Google FIT step counter, music player, shortcuts to apps (such as Hangouts, Google Keep, Google Maps, Alarm Clock) and animation among other cool features," he said. 

Daivat Dholakia told Lifewire in an email interview that he likes options when it comes to Wear OS smartwatches. He recommends Pixel Minimal "for those who like minimization and simplicity."

The Neo Watch face for Wear OS by Rich Face.
The Neo Watch face for Wear OS.

Rich Face

The watch face Google Fit is a good option for those who like to track their health. The more minimalist Bubble Cloud Wear works for users "who just want to be able to quickly and easily access their apps," he said. 

Some Apple Watch users still haven't found the perfect face. Leah Russell said she's a longtime Apple Watch fan and is always looking for new options for watch faces but sticks with the classics. 

"I have tried most of the current ones and have a decided preference for those that are interactive," she told Lifewire in an email interview. "In fact, the ones that I have used for quite a while were the Mickey and Minnie Mouse watch faces."

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