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Apple Watch infographic. Apple Watch Ultra review: Ambitious aspirations

How To Spot A Fake Apple Watch

Found an amazing deal on an Apple Watch that seems too good to be true? Well, there’s a strong chance it is. The market for knock-off Apple Watches is rife, as many people can’t resist the chance to own one of these sought-after, pricey gadgets at a fraction of the cost. Whenever a new Apple product comes out, there’s a black market in fake tech goods just waiting to knowingly or unknowingly entice people in.

So if you’re looking at your new Apple Watch Series 5 that you bagged for a bargain price, and are wondering whether it’s the real thing, we thought we’d help you out with this guide on how to spot a fake Apple Watch.

Some fake Apple Watches are pretty convincing to the untrained eye until you start running their software and features, whereas others are lower in quality and it’s a bit more obvious from just looking at them that they’re a dupe (unless you’re really far away!). Then there are the smartwatch designs that are clearly designed to ape the look of an Apple Watch, but under a completely different brand name. These might be alright if you’re after the style cred of an Apple Watch but don’t mind about having all the functionality.

If you’ve fallen victim to a counterfeit Apple Watch retailer, you’ll be stuck with a device that may look okay at first glance but has bad quality tech, won’t connect properly and will be missing key features. One other surprising,quirk of these fakes is that they often have a longer battery life than the Apple Watch. This is due to their decreased functionality being less of a strain on battery power.

If you do happen to have a suspected counterfeit Apple Watch, Apple recommends that you report it to them on their website’s counterfeit reporting page here.

With the launch of the September 2020 Apple Watch Series 6, there have been many dupes cropping up already. If the latest Apple Watch appears on the market before its official release, there’s a good chance that it’s a fake. And if you find a Series 6 Apple Watch for sale with the signs explained below, you could have a fake on your hands.

If your budget does not stretch to Apple Watches but you’re after a connected wearable that looks sleek and can help you track your fitness goals, why not take a look at some of our other stylish designer smartwatches or our selection of the latest sports watches?

Read on to find out how to spot a fake Apple Watch, with a few common red flags to look for.

How to spot a fake Apple Watch Series 5 and Series 4

These are the latest models of Apple Watch, released in 2018 and 2019. Series 5 and Series 4 Apple Watches come in two case sizes, and are slightly bigger than their predecessors with 30% larger display.

Fake Apple Watches Series 4/ Series 5 giveaways:

  • Screen: Larger bezel around the edge with a display that doesn’t fit the screen, so there’s space between the screen edge and case. Poor screen resolution. screen is very reflective and harder to read.
  • Charging: No magnetic wireless charging, or it doesn’t produce a ding when connected to the magnetic charge.
  • Software and interface: Software will be slower, less responsive. Doesn’t have all the Apple apps you’d expect. Compatible with Android.
  • Inside: No Apple branding or logo on battery.
  • Straps: Straps can’t always be removed.
  • Back of watch: Genuine Apple Watch models are equipped with heart rate sensors and spec text on the rear. Original Apple Watch has 4 round sensors in a diamond pattern. Fake Apple Watches lack sensors or have a different arrangement on the back.

How to spot a fake Apple Watch Series 3

As soon as the Apple Watch was announced the market was flooded with cheap knock-offs. All doing their best to mimic the world’s most coveted smartwatch, with some getting closer than others.

As more and more of these clone smartwatches enter the market, the question becomes: can you tell the difference between a real Apple Watch and a copy? Perhaps the person next to you, who has been proudly wearing an Apple Watch for months, has been duped or is attempting to dupe you?

Many of these clone watches that are on the market are being sold at a fraction of the price of the real thing, offer less functionality and look suspiciously similar to the Apple Watch itself. One other, and surprising, quirk of these fakes is that they often have a longer battery life than the Apple Watch. This is due to their decreased functionality being less of a strain on battery power.

You may come across these fakes being passed off as Real Apple Watch on a friend’s wrist, in a less than honest market or by unscrupulous dealers online. Read through this graphic to learn the key differences between the Apple Watch and its imitators.

If your budget does not stretch to Apple watches why not take a look at some of our other Sports Watches?

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Apple Watch Ultra review: Ambitious aspirations

The new Apple Watch Ultra packs features tailored for athletes and extreme conditions. It does an exceptional job but still has room to grow.

Diving with Apple Watch Ultra

The new Apple Watch Ultra was unveiled at Apple‘s fall event in tandem with the launch of the new Apple Watch SE and Apple Watch Series 8. We picked one up with the green Alpine Loop to see if it was enough of an upgrade to sway users away from Garmin and other wearables.

Apple Watch Ultra

The premium Apple Watch Ultra has a 49mm titanium case and up to 36 hours of battery life during normal use.

Use coupon code APINSIDER with this pricing link in the same browsing session to save 50 on the Apple Watch Ultra.

Unboxing a new generation of Apple Watch

Upon receiving our new Apple Watch Ultra, we eagerly dug into its packaging. Opening the Ultra felt reminiscent of early Apple Watch models, where Apple put in an abundance of effort crafting the unboxing experience.

That isn’t to say recent Apple Watch boxes have been poor, just underwhelming with what Apple had used with the original versions.

As you unwrap the outer paper.- which is thick and has a matte finish.- you’ll see a mountainous vignette printed on the inside like some adventurous mural.

Rather than a thin sheet of paper or a small pamphlet, a whole booklet is enclosed to walk you through the basics of the Apple Watch Ultra. On the front of this booklet is like a puzzle piece, blending in with the wrapping paper imagery.

The Band and watch are each packaged separately, stacked in the center. The Apple Watch Series 8, plus the last several generations, have small, compact packaging, whereas the Ultra has more space, highlighting the watch itself.

Braided Apple Watch charging cable

Aside from the Apple Watch Ultra, you also receive a braided USB-C charging puck. The puck has a metal cover, and the nylon braid will hopefully extend the cable’s lifespan. If nothing else, it feels more premium.

Apple Watch gets a redesign

Sure, the Apple Watch has gotten thinner over the years, but it still looks about the same as that first fashion-oriented model. Apple Watch Ultra did retain that rounded rectangular face, not circular like so many others, which we don’t mind after using it all these years.

Apple Watch Series 8 (left) and Apple Watch Ultra (right)

One notable change is the display. It’s a new, larger size measuring 49mm. The previous maximum was 45mm, which is notable side by side.

It’s big enough that on petite wrists, it may look funky or too large. We have average or slightly below average it looks better on our wrists in person than we expected.

This time, the Digital Crown has sized up, increasing by roughly 30 percent with increased knurling that should make it easier to control with gloves. It sits in a new lip that protects the Digital Crown on either side.

The opposing side of the Apple Watch Ultra has a larger speaker and the new Action Button, highlighted in vivid International Orange color.

In this new arrangement, the Digital Crown is more protected.- but also harder to press and rotate. You can’t slide your finger too far forward when rotating it, or you’ll hit the new lip.

Louder speaker and Action Button

Similarly, when we squeeze the watch to press the Crown or side button, we wind up inadvertently pressing the Action Button quite frequently. This is mostly muscle memory, and personal retraining more than anything else.

A narrow bezel encompasses the new flat display, dropping the rounded edges all other Apple Watch models have. The idea here is the very slightly raised bezel will protect the screen from casual bumps and nicks.

After some early rumors suggesting vast incompatibility with every other watch Band, all 42mm, 44mm, and 45mm bands will work with the Ultra. That means the Leather Loop you purchased with your original Apple Watch almost a decade ago will still work with this new model.

Some bands will not fit perfectly seamlessly and may not go entirely across the width of the watch, but it’s largely unnoticeable.

What sets the Apple Watch Ultra apart

Internally, Apple Watch Ultra has the same S8 SiP as the Apple Watch Series 8.- which houses the same CPU as the Apple Watch Series 7. With the same internals, Apple has several hardware changes to differentiate it from the other models.

Apple Watch Series 7 had two titanium hues to choose from.- but the Series 8 does not.

Durability is a big theme with the Apple Watch Ultra and its new design. You’ve probably heard about the titanium’s strength and the improvements to the front sapphire crystal. It can withstand extreme temps too, from.20 C to 55 C.

That display isn’t just bigger, but it is brighter too. It can reach up to 2000 nits of brightness in sunlight.- twice as bright as the Series 8.

Setting up the Action Button

We also briefly mentioned the new Action Button. Upon setup, Apple prompts you with several choices on how to program the Action Button. You can turn on the flashlight, jump into the Workout app, start a dive, log a waypoint, start Backtrack, or even run a Shortcut.

Once the Ultra is set up, you can change this Action Button functionality anytime from within Settings. It’s here in Settings you can further customize this control.

For example, if you choose the Workout app, you have multiple options. You can launch the Workout app or start a pre-chosen workout, like that run you go on each morning.

Apple has opened this button to developers so it can do different things for other apps. The upcoming Oceanic app will let you start logging your SCUBA dive as another example.

On diving, the Apple Watch Ultra is rated for 100M of water resistance and recreational diving down to 40M. Apple even went the extra step to receive EN13319 certification, an internationally-recognized standard for dive accessories.

Apple Watch Ultra touts the largest battery life. Compared to the Apple Watch Series 8, it should last twice as long with regular use.

Then there is the siren. The new siren, which has a dedicated app, is far louder than any other Apple Watch speaker. It can reach 86 decibels which can be heard from 600 feet away.

If you trigger it, it will repeat a pattern to help make it more discernible for those listening. Indoors, and obviously, the siren is deafening. What you get outdoors depends on the clutter around you.

When in the Siren app, it dims the screen, shows the time, and gives you a timer on how long before the battery dies. Helpful if you’re ever lost and in need of rescue.

On the software side, Apple Watch Ultra does come with the exclusive Wayfinder face, specifically designed for exploring and taking advantage of the screen real estate.

The Wayfinder face supports eight total complications, with four in the center and four in the corners. It can show your current elevation and position without the need for dedicated complications.

When you rotate the Digital Crown, the face dims and features a black background with red letters, numbers, and icons. It looks slick, but it’s only the watch face that gets this Darth Vader-looking color scheme.

Diving with Apple Watch Ultra

As winter is quickly approaching, we couldn’t take the Apple Watch Ultra SCUBA diving quite yet, plus the Oceanic app Apple promoted isn’t yet available. That said, we could take the plunge into a pool to test out the Depth app before it was closed for the season.

The Apple Watch Ultra comes preinstalled with the new.- and barebones.- Depth app. Logically, you need to submerge the watch before it can do anything.

Apple Watch Ultra underwater

A waterline drops down from the top when submerged, denoting your depth. The left side reads in feet while the right reads in meters.

apple, watch, infographic, ultra, review

In the center, you’ll see your current depth, time underwater, the water temperature, and the deepest recorded depth during that excursion.

The Ultra will show your dive summary as you surface and prompt you to exit water mode. Exiting the water mode will play precisely-selected tones to help eject water from the speaker grille.

While we dove, it was easy to see the face, and it was plenty bright, even on a sunny day in shallow water. The Ocean Band was comfortable, with enough stretch to fit over our hefty seven-mil wetsuit.

Apple Watch Ultra versus Cressi dive watch

While the Depth app is more than sufficient here in a pool or even for most free divers, SCUBA differs. We already dove.- pun intended.- into the Apple Watch’s capabilities with casual diving, but we’re eager to put it more to the test.

We can confidently say that the first generation Apple Watch Ultra is a good entry-level dive watch for recreational divers. We hope Apple explores further enhancements for diving in subsequent versions.

Taking on Garmin

At launch, the Apple Watch was wanting. Since then, Apple shifted away from the fashion-heavy debut to fitness. It has evolved from a single product with multiple finishes, to an entire lineup.

After the Apple Watch SE and too-long available Apple Watch Series 3 started the lineup expansion, the Apple Watch Ultra arrived with new features and a new design while also incorporating changes from the standard Series 8.

But it was also tackling another issue for Apple.- Garmin and others were drawing away athletic customers. Garmin’s Fenix line is popular with pro athletes and weekend warriors who want something a bit more capable.

Garmin has models with massive days-long battery life, support for marathons and triathlons, and withstand the elements. Garmin has had an everyday smartwatch capable of SCUBA dive tracking for years. Apple had to play catch-up.

In some ways, the Ultra answers those shortcomings. Battery life can now last more than just a day, and as we’ve already discussed, it can act as a dive watch.

With watchOS 9, there are more metrics for runners too. This update also brought the new BackTrack feature to help prevent you from getting lost in the wilderness.- another prominent competitor feature.

Holding Apple Watch Ultra

The Apple Watch Ultra will sway some Garmin users. But, battery life still isn’t terribly long compared to 7-day to 10-day wear times, and Garmin’s Descent MK2i has full air integration for diving.

apple, watch, infographic, ultra, review

There’s a lot of potential here, and the Apple Watch Ultra proves Apple is willing to listen to athletes that need more.

Historically, Apple’s very first version of a product is good enough for most. Improvements on a second version start to convince some hold-outs that it’ll do what they need it to do.

The Apple Watch Ultra is not an exception to this general rule.

Battery life

Most frequently, you’ll hear Apple boast about Apple Watch as having all-day battery life. If you want to put a number on that, it’s around 18 hours. Apple Watch Ultra is supposed to double that, yielding 36 hours on a charge.

You can wear Apple Watch Ultra up to 36 hours

We have found Apple’s ratings for Apple Watch batteries on the conservative side, often getting more than was promised. That’s what we’ve seen here with the Ultra.

We’ve repeatedly been able to get two full days of use with two nights of sleep tracking before the low battery alert appears. Your experience will vary based on how you use your watch.

Later this year, Apple will release a device-specific low-power mode for Ultra users that should get about 60 hours of usage by disabling features such as the always-on display.

The Apple Watch Ultra also takes a little longer to charge than we’d initially anticipated. It still supports fast charging, but since it has a larger battery life, it is a little behind the speed of the Series 7 and Series 8.

Some new bands

Alongside the Apple Watch Ultra, Apple released three new styles of bands. All are purpose-driven in their design.

The new bands are Ocean, Alpine Loop, and Trail Loop, which are loosely designed for diving, climbing, and running, respectively. Our favorite so far has been the Alpine Loop.

Each Band is intricately crafted with small details to aid their intended uses, though it’s just as valid to use them day-to-day.

Alpine Loop has a titanium buckle that tucks into the loops and is exceptionally strong. Ocean is comprised of a rubberized material that can easily fit over a wetsuit and uses a movable titanium latch. Trail Loop has a quick-grab tab for on-the-go adjustments and reflective fibers for enhanced visibility.

These new bands aren’t exclusive to the Ultra. They can all be used with any 45mm Apple Watch.

Should you buy the Apple Watch Ultra?

If we were summarizing the Apple Watch Ultra into a single word, it would probably be great.

You have all the benefits of the Apple Watch Series 8, such as crash detection, temperature monitoring, and the S8 SiP but many others as well. It has a new look, premium materials, plus thoughtful considerations and customizations.

Not to mention the improved durability and its ability to be used as a full-fledged dive watch. It’s a lot to love.

At the same time, it feels a little like a first-gen product. There’s one color option, no air integration for diving, and harder-core athletes will still be asking for more.

There isn’t anything wrong with picking up the Apple Watch Ultra this year though I think the part we’re most excited about is the future of this upgraded product line.

With Apple Watch Ultra, Apple has some high ambitions to meet its users’ aspirations, and in many ways, it delivers.

Apple Watch Ultra cons

Where to buy the Apple Watch Ultra

Exclusive Apple Watch deals are available when you tack on AppleCare to the Apple Watch Ultra.

Save 20 on AppleCare when you shop through this activation link at Apple Authorized Reseller Adorama and enter promo code APINSIDER in the same browsing session. Need help with the code? Here’s how to activate it.

You can also order the Ultra at Amazon, with easy price comparison at your fingertips in our Apple Watch Ultra Price Guide.

Best third-party Apple Watch complications in 2023

Make your Watch even more useful with the best Apple Watch complications.

You can customize your Apple Watch in countless ways with the best Apple Watch complications. With custom complications, for example, you can view upcoming flights or hotels, your next pill dosage, whether it’s going to rain in a half-hour, how long you’ve been working out, and much more from your display.

There are hundreds (perhaps thousands) of third-party complications you can install on your Apple Watch. Here are some of our favorites.

I’ve been writing about Apple since 2010 with a brief hiatus to work at the Apple Store. I’m an Apple Watch enthusiast who was once the sole writer for an Apple Watch website. I use those complications on my Apple Watch face (and other Apple Watch features) multiple times per day.

Get the best Apple Watch complications

You can always trust i.

Our team of Apple experts have years of experience testing all kinds of tech and gadgets, so you can be sure our recommendations and criticisms are accurate and helpful. Find out more about how we test.

apple, watch, infographic, ultra, review

Things 3

One of the most popular apps for iPhone, Things 3 is an organizational app that work syncs across multiple Apple devices, including Apple Watch. With Things, you can easily make lists, build projects, set reminders, and more.

Specifically on Apple Watch, you can use Things to get notifications about your daily tasks and check off items on your list. You can also create new to-dos from the Watch face with ease, making this one of the best complications for Apple Watch.

When you need to keep track of important reminders and tasks, you can’t do better than Things.

Calendar by Fantastical

Not only is Fantastical an excellent calendar app for your iPhone, iPad, and Mac, it also supports your Apple Watch and offers one of the best Apple Watch complications. While the watch app gives you a quick rundown of everything on your calendar for the next few days and lets you add new events with your voice, the Fantastical complication displays your next (or current) appointment, along with either a time frame or an UNTIL indicator letting you know when your meeting’s ending. It also supports Time Travel, letting you fast forward through the day’s events.

Calendar by Fantastical

Use Fantastical to take your calendar planning to brilliant new levels.

CARROT Weather

For a snarky take on today’s weather, you can’t go wrong with Carrot. One of the most popular weather apps on the App Store, Carrot doesn’t come cheap, however. To get Carrot Weather complications on your Apple Watch, you’ll need to purchase a premium plan, which is currently 4.99 per month or 19.99 per year.

Carrot Weather provides numerous complications that vary by the Apple Watch face. These complications can list the weather in icon form, what the temperature feels like, the highs and lows of the day, and a quick notation on what the sky’s doing—cloudy later on, rain in three minutes, and the like.

You can download Carrot Weather free and get one of the best complications for Apple Watch to track your local weather. The freebie version will work on iPhone. Use an in-app purchase to upgrade your membership. You can also turn off the snark feature if you don’t like being called meatbag, for example.

CARROT Weather

Can you deal with Carrot’s snarky weather forecasts? It’s time to find out.

Streaks

Streaks is one of the best habit tracking apps for iPhone or iPad—whether it’s walking the dog, doing yoga, standing for a certain amount of the day, or more. (It even integrates with the Apple Watch and the Health app to track certain tasks automatically.)

The app’s complication is one of the simplest I’ve seen—it’s only available in small size and displays as a series of light and dark dots—but it’s surprisingly useful. White dots mean you’ve completed your task for the day; gray dots nag you to finish on up. If you like motivating complications, Streaks might just be your ticket to greatness. They say that the best time to start a good habit is yesterday; the second best time is today. Streaks is one of the best Apple Watch complications to help you get started on your good habits right now.

Streaks is currently priced at 4.99 on the App Store. It’s available for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac.

There’s no time like the present. Begin something new today, then repeat it tomorrow, and so forth. You’ll be happy you did.

Citymapper

Need to catch a train? Citymapper is one of the best transit apps for iPhone, and it hooks into just about every transportation agency it can get its hands on to provide accurate data for your transit travels.

On the Apple Watch, you’ll get a large complication that lets you know what train you should catch next, when it comes, and where you should board. A smaller complication shows your ETA.

This app is a must if you’re a regular city transit user, and it has one of the best complications for Apple Watch. Citymapper is free and offers in-app purchases.

Stay on your path with this impressive travel app.

Water tracker Waterllama

There are countless water-tracking apps, but perhaps none as fun as Waterllama. Made in Ukraine, the freemium app goes a terrific job of reminding you when and how much to drink. It will also segment your daily intake by the kind of drink. It currently features more than 40 beverage types. Discover 45 cute animal characters, motivating challenges, and more along the way. It also tracks your daily caffeine intake.

Waterllama works with Apple Health sync and includes two handy widgets for Apple Watch. There’s even an iOS 16 Lock Screen widget.

To unlock all of Waterllama’s features, you’ll need to make a one-time in-app purchase.

Water tracker Waterllama

Get useful reminders to stay properly hydrated.

App in the Air

Do you travel a lot? The App in the Air should be your best friend. The Apple Watch app will show you when you’re boarding your next flight and give you any essential status changes relating to your flight. With the complication, you can get this information quickly with a flick of your wrist, including other details like various times to get somewhere, which makes it one of the best Apple Watch complications. App in the Air also works with flights from relatives and friends if you need to pick them up.

Most of the App in the Air features are free. For 29.99 per year, you can add real-time flight status updates, automated check-in, and the option to subscribe family members to your trip status via SMS. Try premium for 14 days free.

App in the Air

You’ll always be on time when you’re heading on a new adventure thanks to App in the Air.

Lumy

If you’re a photographer, you probably already know about Lumy. If not, add it to your iPhone (and Apple Watch) today. With Lumy, you always know when it’s the best time to take outdoor photos, whether it be the golden or blue hour.

Priced at 6.99, Lumy uses your current location (or any location you add) to present upcoming times. The app’s Apple Watch complications offer numerous ways to see the times for first light, golden hour, sunrise, and last light. It also includes Moon phase information. In total, there are now nine Lumy Apple Watch complications.

One purchase unlocks Lumy on other Apple devices, including iPad, Mac, and Apple TV. This is a must for photographers, one of the absolute essential Apple Watch complications.

What time is it? Perhaps it’s time to take some terrific outdoor shots.

Watchsmith

Offering a wide selection of highly customizable complications, the freemium Watchsmith is unique in that it’s time-based. So, for example, you might want to see your Activity ring progress in a specific location on your Apple Watch each day between noon and 5 p.m., but sundown information between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. From there, you’d like to see more information about the weather, and so forth.

Watchsmith supports Apple Health and offers various built-in tools and functions. These include a weather app, a workout app, a timezone converter, games, a calendar, and more.

Most tools on Watchsmith are free. However, for 1.99 per month, you can unlock additional features, including tide datsources. This is one of the best complications for Apple Watch that automatically change to be most useful in the moment.

For something completely different, consider Watchsmith, like a Swiss Army knife for digital timekeeping.

HeartWatch: Heart Rate Tracker

One of the most popular Apple Watch health apps on the planet, HeartWatch works with Apple Health and makes it better. On both iPhone and Apple Watch, you can view key heart rate metrics, detailed trend analyses, heart rate alerts, detailed ECG, and more. In total, the app now includes more than 30 health metrics.

The HeartWatch Apple Watch complication makes it easy to find real-time information, including pulse, daily and sedentary heart rate, move time, and steps.

Priced at 4.99, HeartWatch is a valuable tool; your heart will thank you for using it. It’s one of the best Apple Watch complications for anyone that needs to keep a special eye on their heart.

Your Apple Watch collects a lot of information each day about your heart. Use this app to see how you’re doing in real-time.

Which of the best Apple Watch complications should I get?

No doubt, there are a lot of Apple Watch complications floating around. If you want to use the best ones, select one or all of the ones above. Whether it’s the beautifully designed Waterllama or health-focused HealthWatch, these apps serve fun and valuable purposes. They work on all the best Apple Watches using watchOS 9 and later. Ultimately, the best Apple Watch complications are the ones that fit your lifestyle.

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Fit your style, whether you’re going for analog or futuristic.

You wear your Apple Watch every day to work, play, and exercise, so why does it still shine with the original factory display? Customizing your Apple Watch face elevates the display of your precious accessory and allows for a more personal look. Whereas the options were once fairly limited. Apple now provides a myriad of customizable faces, and third-party faces are also widely available for different mobile operating systems.

Some crowd favorites within the Apple Watch app include Typography and Stripes — simple, aesthetically pleasing designs — and Count Up, a utilitarian pick for people who want to maximize the accessory’s timer features. As with most Apple products, the options that are available to you will depend on the generation of your device. The latest release is the Apple Watch Series 7. Below we’ll guide you through the best Apple Watch faces for your lifestyle.

— Best Overall: California Apple Watch Face— Best for Fitness: Activity Digital Apple Watch Face— Most Calming: Breathe Apple Watch Face— Best for Nurses: Infograph Apple Watch Face— Best Animated: Portraits Apple Watch Face— Best for Space Lovers: Facer NASA Earth Orbit Apple Watch Face— Best for Pet Parents: StepDog Apple Watch Face

How We Picked the Best Apple Watch Faces

We’re longtime Apple Watch users and have owned multiple generations over the years. These devices have held onto their popularity in part because of the ability to choose from so many different watch faces that inherently change your relationship to the product and what it does.

We took into consideration all of the watch faces available within the native Watch app, plus 10 of the more popular third-party app options, which are brimming with thousands of faces at different price points and subscription models. We evaluated the features, cost, and design of faces to arrive at picks that would work best for people depending on their styles, habits, and occupations. A key spec for our picks were complications: a feature within the Watch app that allows you to customize elements of the watch face depending on location; for instance, a complication on the Activity watch face can allow you to display a compass in the top left corner of your watch face. We also tested out the watch faces to see if, for instance, the Activity watch face was as great a workout companion as it’s billed to be. We arrived at our picks because they fit the expectations of the widest group of people and offer the best functionality.

The Best Apple Watch Faces: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall: California Apple Watch Face

Why It Made The Cut: The California Apple Watch Face is the best bet for people who want to take advantage of the product’s technology plus find their own flair and style with customizable details.

Specs: — Complications: Up to seven — Colors: Dozens with gradient — Dial: Rectangle or circle

Pros: — Customizable symbols — Easy-to-use complications with features that make sense — Offers appeal of a traditional watch

Cons: — Display can be busy

The California Apple Watch Face gives your fave accessory an analog appeal and allows you to hone in on all of the details. It’s been a hit since it was released on watchOS 6 and is available on Apple Watch SE and Apple Watch Series 4 and after.

With colors ranging from a simple ceramic to a soothing abyss blue, pretty much anyone using this watch face can find a combination they like. Some of the colors even include a gradient so you can adjust the depth of the hue. Its customizable numbers include Roman, Arabic-Indic, Devanagari and Arabic. It’s a well-rounded face that offers a chic rectangle or square dial with the option to delicately display anything from UV index, temperature, and activity in its corners.

Best for Fitness: Activity Digital Apple Watch Face

Why It Made The Cut: The Activity Apple Watch Face has been around practically since the dawn of the watch because it gives fitness buffs and casual walkers alike a constant motivation plus the tools they need to maximize any workout.

Specs: — Complications: Up to three — Colors: 24 with gradients — Display: Rings or subdials

Pros: — Easily view heart rate or start a workout — Excellent for people who want to listen to music while working out — Perfect for listening to music during a run

Cons: — Fitness tracking is less refined and detailed than some competitors

Exercise couldn’t be easier or more sophisticated with the Activity Digital Apple Watch Face. This face allows you to choose your own speed and adventure. Whether you’re taking a long run, enjoying a slow yoga class, or looking to hit daily movement, standing and exercise goals, you can track it all and access apps like timer, workout, and heart rate while you’re in motion.

While the rings style displays bold numbers and text, the subdials are perfect for people who want to isolate their movement goals and hone in on their progress in each individual area. This watch face can be the first step toward a healthier lifestyle with its sheer motivational quality and also serve as a more rigorous option for race training.

Most Calming: Breathe Apple Watch Face

Why It Made The Cut: While the Apple Watch can get a bad rap as the device of the most productivity-obsessed among us, one of its most neutralizing and relaxing assets — the Breathe app — comes alive as a watch face.

Specs: — Complications: Up to three — Display: Four options — Dials: No additional

Pros: — Bright, attractive animations — Draws FOCUS to mindfulness — Allows app access

Cons: — No additional colors available

One of the best aspects of an Apple Watch is its ability to help people build new habits, and the Breathe Watch Face — which is available for all versions of the watch — does exactly that. By tapping on the glass screen, you’ll be transported directly to the Breathe app for a timed meditative session that can help you decompress after a long day, prepare for a high-pressure meeting or be more present during a hangout with a loved one.

It offers four soothing animations to choose from so you can gain some variety while still limiting the overall distractions that can come from a busy watch interface. There’s also some irony to this pick — the complications allow you to access apps in multiple areas of the watch face, so you could theoretically tap to access Stocks or News apps (we don’t find either of those options terribly relaxing). But for those who want a clean, minimal look that promotes relaxation and rejuvenation, this face is for you.

Best for Nurses: Infograph Apple Watch Face

Why It Made The Cut: This Apple Watch Face is a prime pick for people who are multitasking on the job because they can customize based on every task and integrate areas of their work and personal life into one optimized face.

Specs: — Complications: Up to eight — Colors: Multiple colors available — Dial: Circular dial only

Pros: — Highly customizable — Allows display of multiple timers ranging from 1 minute to 2 hours — Traditional sports-watch face

Cons: — Overwhelming for people who aren’t as proficient with apps and technology

If you’ve been in a health care setting lately, you’ve probably noticed the Apple Watch is a hot ticket for nurses, for good reason. The Infograph Apple Watch face enables nurses to easily track time — whether via the timer, stopwatch, alarm or clock —- so health care specialists can juggle many tasks while constantly on their feet.

It’s a complication maximalist’s dream because you can take aspects of traditional equipment, software and checklists, and combine them all in one incredibly handy place. This face is available for the Apple Watch SE and Apple Watch Series 4 and later. For those who want a slightly more streamlined option, the Infograph Modular face is another strong option.

Best Animated: Portraits Apple Watch Face

Why It Made The Cut: This Apple Watch face is specific to the product and allows you to tap into your library to display some of your favorite moments on your wrist.

Specs: — Complications: Up to two — Colors: Not applicable — Display: Classic, modern or rounded

Pros: — Great for visual lovers — Bold numerals to display time — Simple and clean functionality

Cons: — Limited on additional tech features

The Portraits Apple Watch face is a new option for people with Apple Watch SE and Apple Watch Series 4 and later that brings a vibrant and sentimental touch to your favorite accessory. This watch face will display up to two dozen of your photos as long as they were taken using Portrait mode with iOS 10.1 or later.

The three styles available include a bold font that stands out in front of the backdrop of your favorite people and moments. It’s a really special face for people who want to use their watch to think of personal moments and not so much to take advantage of every app that can sync to the wearable.

Best for Space Lovers: Facer NASA Earth Orbit Apple Watch Face

Why It Made The Cut: For space junkies who want to keep tabs on other planets and galaxies, this Watch face is a constant reminder of your connection to the broader universe.

Specs: — Complications: Up to six — Colors: Multiple colors available — Display: Not applicable

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Pros: — Big, bold NASA logo for fans — Can display multiple astronomy features at once — Complications are compatible with a range of apps

Cons: — Display of time is inflexible

While it can certainly be tough to keep tabs on earth, this NASA Apple Watch face is a fun portal into the solar system for your everyday enjoyment and fascination. It’s easy to add straight from the Fiver app to your Watch collection, and the positioning of the complications allow you to simultaneously display up to four different astronomy features at once: Earth, Moon, Solar and Solar System. If you choose to add the astronomy feature to the face’s bigger, middle complication — which is preprogrammed to display the NASA logo — you can opt in for a weekly calendar display of the moon’s phases plus corresponding graphics.

The color displays on this watch face are relatively limited; depending on which complications you choose, the color alterations will apply only to limited aspects of the display. It’s a great option to play around with and even temporarily explore, via your timepiece, the greater happenings on other planets — alongside, for instance, your own activity.

Best for Pet Parents: StepDog Apple Watch Face

Why It Made The Cut: For the dog lovers among us, this inventive app and watch face are the perfect motivation to get active and gamify your movement with a cute virtual pup of your choice.

Specs: — Complications: Up to six — Colors: Multiple colors available — Display: Not applicable

Pros: — Creative app to set and meet your fitness goals — Free option available — Inexpensive subscription at 99/month with free trial available

Cons: — Display of time is inflexible

Want a virtual Border Collie, Doberman or Shih Tzu to accompany you on your daily walks? Look no further than the StepDog Apple Watch Face — and despite the name, there are a few cat options available with this third-party app too. With the basic version of this watch face, you can track general data suhc as activity, step goal progress and temperature. As you hit your step goal, your sweet virtual pet will take a snooze as a testament to your hardwork.

To access this face’s premium features, you can start a one-week free trial; after that runs out, it’ll cost you 0.99/month. The premium features allow you to access toys, food, water and a dog house for your virtual pet. You can also measure your progress against other local users to earn medals for your pup. For fans of Tamagotchi or Neopets, this app and accompanying watch face are a fun way to keep active and reap the benefits of caring for your body — and your furry pal.

Things to Consider When Choosing The Best Apple Watch Faces

Your Primary Use(s)

Are you a big runner who mostly uses their device to monitor daily steps and act as a fitness tracker? Are you a nurse who spends long shifts on your feet, monitoring patients’ needs and paying careful attention to elapsed time? Or are you simply a person who wants to tell the time and also take advantage of a few other features? Take your general use and style into consideration to find a face with the right design for you.

Your Device’s Generation

The Apple Watch Series 7 and Apple Watch SE are some of the newest models on the market since the wearable was released in 2015. While lots of faces are flexible enough to work on older models, some designs such as the Contour Apple Watch face are only available for Series 7 because it hugs the device’s larger display. When you’re scrolling through your Apple Watch app, you might find some options are missing. We’ll highlight if certain faces have generational limitations in this guide.

Cost

The Apple Watch app has a ton of free faces that can easily incorporate software updates and fit the needs of most casual users. But at a price, there are also apps on the market that are home to, in some cases, hundreds of thousands of faces to choose from. Most apps have an option to pay for a weekly or monthly subscription.- as well as a free trial to try before you buy.

How to Change Your Watch Face

If you own an Apple Watch, the most direct way to change your Watch face is to use the app, navigate to the Face Gallery and select the face you’d like to choose. On the face’s page, you can choose ways to customize it and then select “ADD” under the face title. On the My Watch page, click the face you’d like to use and then click “Set as current Watch Face.” If you’d like to change your watch face on the device itself, Apple has handy instructions.

As for third-party apps like Facer, the processes to change your Apple Watch face can vary; generally, as you select a face you’d like to use, you will be directed through a series of steps to transfer the face to your device.

FAQs

Q: Can you download more watch faces for Apple Watch?

You can download more watch faces for Apple Watch using a third-party app or the Watch app that’s installed on your iPhone. While many people may stick with the factory design, downloading additional watch faces gives you the opportunity to customize your device to fit your personal needs.

Q: What Apple Watch face is most popular?

The most popular Apple Watch faces include California, Infographic, and Siri. While California has an analog aesthetic and many complications, Infographic is more visually driven and almost mirrors a traditional Rolex in its level of detail, except it’s a smartwatch. Siri continues what Siri does best on the Apple Watch face by providing relevant updates as your personal digital assistant. All of these Apple Watch faces are available in the Watch app’s Face Gallery for free.

Q: How do you get new Apple Watch faces?

You get new Apple Watch faces by adding a new face from the Watch app or a third-party app and then editing your faces in the Watch app. You can swap multiple faces in as you please, and you can make tweaks to those face options as well hone in on your own use habits.

Q: How do you customize Apple Watch faces?

You customize Apple Watch faces by clicking on the face you want to display in your Watch app and modifying it depending on the specificities of the face you’re using. Faces can offer modifications such as complications — or tweaks you can make to areas of your display such as the bottom-right or top-left — as well as colors, styles, and dial shapes. Some Apple Watch faces like the Artists, Portraits, and Photos rely on images. You can often choose what those images are by physically tapping the watch or selecting photos from your gallery to be displayed.

Q: Can you buy Apple Watch faces?

You can buy Apple Watch faces. While a selection of faces are available in the native Watch app, others apps such as Watch Faces by Facer, StepDog, and WatchSmith offer a mix of free faces plus add-ons and subscriptions at various costs. Many apps that include fees allow you to do a free trial, so you can decide whether it’s worth spending money to access a wider library of watch faces.

Q: How can I download Apple Watch faces?

You can download Apple Watch faces by adding them to your collection via a third-party app. The native Watch app provides a more streamlined collection of faces that you can easily test out and customize.

Final Thoughts on the Best Apple Watch Faces

An Apple Watch is a pretty big investment for people, especially given the range of smartwatches and fitness trackers available on the market. The watch face is the most prominent part of a device, and selecting or swapping in one that fits your needs and lifestyle is essential to your experience with the device. The California Watch Face is one of our top picks because it combines analog appeal with Smart tech and organization to get the most bang for your buck and have a face that just plain looks good. With Apple releasing new options frequently and third-party apps enabling everyday innovators to design their own faces, the California Watch Face, or the Portraits watch face if you’re sentimental, continues to stand out and make the cut.

This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.

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