Most Apple Watch owners already know that you can bounce between different watch faces by flicking your finger across its screen. But did you also know that you can use your own photos and images as your Apple Watch’s wallpaper? You can display a single photo for your wallpaper or a collection of photos that change each time you tap your watch or raise your wrist, and this customization works on any Apple Watch—from the old-school original to the Series 3. The process requires a few steps, but once you’re done, your watch will have a more personalized look and feel.
First, make sure to transfer the photos you want as a background from your iPhone to your watch. To do this, open the Photos app on your iPhone. Browse through your Camera Roll and other albums. Open any photo you’d like to have on your watch and tap on the heart icon to tag it as a favorite. You can tag as many photos as you like as favorites, and they’ll all appear on your watch in this single synced album.
Next, open the Watch app on your iPhone. Tap on the icon at the bottom for Face Gallery. Swipe down to the Photos section and tap on the Favorites album. At the Photos screen for this album, tap on “Add” to add the album to your watch.
Raise your wrist and you’ll see that your Apple Watch’s face is now your new synced album of favorite photos. Tap on the watch face, and the photo segues to the next image in the album. Each time you raise your wrist to peek at your watch, the photo will change to the next one as well.
You can also set up a photo face on your Apple Watch by pressing down on your current watch face swiping to the left until you see the “New” option. Tap on it and start turning the Digital Crown until you see the entry for Photos. Tap on the display photo, and your favorite photos will become your new watch face.
Like most Apple Watch faces, you can tweak the information displayed on your new Photos face. Open the Watch app on your iPhone. Swipe through the My Faces section and tap on the face you want to modify. Under Time Position, you can change the location of the time between the top and bottom of your face. Under Complications, you can tap on each of the current complications and change it to a different piece of info, such as Alarm, Heart Rate, Stocks, Stopwatch, Timer, or Weather.
If you want to create a watch face from any photo on your iPhone, not just those tagged and synced as favorites, you can use a single photo or multiple photos (up to 10). To start, open the Watch app on your iPhone, and tap on the Face Gallery icon. Then swipe down to the Photos section, and tap on the album for Favorites. Under “Photos,” tap the option for “Custom” instead of the default “Synced Album,” and go browse your albums for the photos you want to feature. Tap to add them, and then tap “Done” when ready. Back on the Photos Face Gallery screen, tap Add at the top. This customized face will now appear on your Apple Watch. If you selected multiple photos, you can tap on the screen to cycle through all of them.
To create a photo face from your Apple Watch (without using the iOS Watch app), open the Photos apps on your watch. Keep swiping through your photos until you find the one you want to use to create the new face. Press down on the screen. Tap on the icon to Create Watch Face. At the next screen, tap on the option for “Photos Face” to turn that picture you picked into your new watch face.
You can also use the color or design of a photo to create a Kaleidoscope watch face. Instead of selecting “Photos Face” on the previous screen, pick “Kaleidoscope Face” instead. The Kaleidoscope watch face will take on the look of your photo, so be sure to pick something vibrant and fun.
You can tweak the design of your Kaleidoscope faces via the Watch app. On your iPhone, open the Watch app. At the My Watch screen, tap on the Kaleidoscope face you just created. You can now switch between a facet, radial, and rosette style.
One last way to create a watch face: open the Photos app on your phone, and select the photos you want to use. Tap on the Share icon and choose the option to Create Watch Face, then at the Watch Face screen, tap Add to generate your new watch face.
To organize or remove some of your customized photo watch faces, pull up the Watch app on your phone, and tap on the Edit link in the “My Faces” section. Tap the minus sign, and then tap on Remove for any faces you want to delete. Move the hamburger icon up or down for the remaining watch faces to move them higher or lower in the list.