If you find yourself regularly swiping to a different watch face on your Apple Watch depending on what you're doing or where you are, this article is for you. Because thanks to the power that Apple has built into its Shortcuts app, it's possible to make the watch face on your Apple Watch automatically change based on the time of day or your location. Keep reading to learn how.

applewatchfaceswatchos7
One of the great things about the Apple Watch is the number of watch faces you can customize, which allows you to make certain faces more informative or more functional for different purposes, and then swipe to them when you need them. When you go to the office, for example, you can have a watch face filled with work-focused complications. Or you might swipe to a minimal watch face in the evening when you're winding down before bed.

If you tend to set up different watch faces in such a way, then it's worth considering creating an automation in iOS that can change the watch face on your Apple Watch for you when you need it, without you having to even raise your wrist. With the Shortcuts app, you can.

If you've never created a shortcut before, don't worry – the steps below show you how easy this particular automation is to set up. The only thing to bear in mind is that if you want your Apple Watch to change back to another watch face after a certain time (when your working day is at an end, for example) then you'll need to set up a second, separate automation for this to happen.

Likewise, if you want the watch face to only be active when you're at a particular location and then revert when you leave, then unless you want to dig deeper into the complex world of Shortcuts, a second automation is required.

How to Automatically Change Your Apple Watch Face At a Certain Time

  1. Launch the Shortcuts app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap the Automation tab at the bottom of the screen.
  3. Tap Create Personal Automation.
  4. Select Time of Day.
  5. Choose Sunrise or Sunset (after which you'll be given the option to define a specific time around these solar events), or specify any time with Time of Day. (Note the Repeat options include Daily, Weekly, and Monthly.) Then tap Next.
    shortcuts

  6. Tap Add Action, then use the search field to look up "Watch."
  7. Select Set Watch Face from the results list of watch actions.
  8. On the Actions screen, immediately below "Set active watch face to," tap the word Face in blue.
  9. Choose the watch face you'd like to change to at the specified time. Note the list here uses Apple's official names for its watch faces, so you may see some duplicates. That's because the list corresponds to the current watch faces arranged on your watch, with the top watch face in the list being the one you see when you've swiped to the first (leftmost) face on your Apple Watch.
    shortcuts

  10. Tap Next when the Actions screen reappears, then toggle off the switch next to Ask Before Running and confirm by tapping Don't Ask at the prompt.
  11. Tap Done to finish.
    shortcuts

You should now see the automation you just created on the Automation screen. You don't have to do anything else – your watch face should now automatically change at the time you set.

How to Automatically Change Your Apple Watch Face Based on Location

  1. Launch the Shortcuts app on your ‌iPhone‌.
  2. Tap the Automation tab at the bottom of the screen.
  3. Tap Create Personal Automation.
  4. Select Arrive or Leave, depending on when you want the watch face to change.
  5. Choose the Location, and select it either by searching or entering the address, then tap Next.
    shortcuts

  6. Tap Add Action, then use the search field to look up "Watch."
  7. Select Set Watch Face from the results list of watch actions.
  8. On the Actions screen, immediately below "Set active watch face to," tap the word Face in blue.
  9. Choose the watch face you'd like to change to when arriving at or leaving the specified location. Note the list here uses Apple's official names for its watch faces, so you may see some duplicates. That's because the list corresponds to the current watch faces arranged on your watch, with the top watch face in the list being the one you see when you've swiped to the first (leftmost) face on your Apple Watch.
    shortcuts

  10. Tap Next when the Actions screen reappears.
  11. Tap Done on the last screen to finish.
    shortcuts

You should now see the automation you just created on the Automation screen. You don't have to do anything else – your watch face should now automatically change either when you leave or arrive at the location you selected.

These two automations barely touch the surface of what is possible with the Shortcuts app. For example, you can create actions using predefined shortcuts in order to build complex automations that take in all manner of conditions and variables for when your watch face should change. Ultimately, the complexity of your automations depends on how much time you want to invest in discovering what's possible, and the only limit is your imagination.

Related Forum: Apple Watch

Top Rated Comments

GrannySmithPro Avatar
30 months ago
This right here my friends, is what I love seeing. Give us more of these super random yet quick and impactful tips, please. Love the post!

There’s a similar one on making ones of Memoji into an Apple Badge I saw a long time ago. Maybe if you have a collection of all these tips somewhere on the site? So we can see a collective amount of shortcuts, now that’s be cool!

???✌????
Score: 41 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bradbomb Avatar
30 months ago
There needs to be a correction. For location based shortcut automations, they do not run automatically. They bring a pop up to run when arriving at the location.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nattK Avatar
30 months ago
I wish there was a shortcut that automatically changes your watch face once you're closed all your activity rings.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Unami Avatar
30 months ago
Yeah, but in reality your watch face then doesn't change with location automatically but it brings up a popup in the watch, which you have to confirm manually if you even notice it. Just as "usefull" as setting a location based reminder to change it yourselfy. A lot of shotcuts automations sound nicer in theory than they are.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
siddavis Avatar
30 months ago

I have a regular watch to conveniently check the time and date and I carry a phone for the rest. So for me, Apple watch has always been completely pointless.
Cool story Hansel.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Andrew73875 Avatar
30 months ago
Thanks for the amazing article!

By the way, it would also be great to set up album covers (from now playing) as a watch face.

Like here

Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 18 CarPlay Feature

iOS 18 Adds These 5 New Features to CarPlay

Thursday June 13, 2024 7:44 am PDT by
Apple did not mention CarPlay during its WWDC keynote this week, but iOS 18 includes a handful of new features for the in-car software. Overall, there is not a whole lot new for CarPlay on iOS 18, with changes seemingly limited to the Messages and Settings apps so far. Below, we recap everything new for CarPlay on iOS 18. New for CarPlay on iOS 18 1. Contact Photos in Messages App...
apple watch series 9 display

Kuo: Apple Watch Series 10 to Get Larger Screen and Thinner Design

Monday June 17, 2024 1:20 am PDT by
This year's Apple Watch Series 10 will be thinner and come in larger screen sizes than previous models, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In his latest industry note -10-and-98075c44ce92">shared on Medium, Kuo said the screen size options on the next-generation Apple Watch will increase from 41mm to 45mm, and from 45mm to 49mm, while being encased in a thinner design. For reference,...
iPod Nano vs iPod Pro Ad Feature 1

Apple Developing Thinner MacBook Pro, Apple Watch, and iPhone

Monday June 17, 2024 2:22 am PDT by
Apple intends to slim down the MacBook Pro, Apple Watch, and iPhone, with the new ultra-thin M4 iPad Pro a sign of the company's new design trajectory, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. When the M4 iPad Pro was unveiled last month, Apple touted it as the company's thinnest product ever, and even compared it to the 2012 iPod nano to emphasize its slim dimensions. Writing in the latest ...
iOS 18 Siri Integrated Feature

You Can Give Siri a New Name With iOS 18's Vocal Shortcuts

Friday June 14, 2024 4:33 pm PDT by
Apple in iOS 18 added a Vocal Shortcuts accessibility feature, and now that iOS 18 is available in a beta capacity, users have figured out that this option can be used to give Siri a new wake word. With Vocal Shortcuts, you can assign a custom phrase that Siri can understand to launch shortcuts and complete "complex tasks," and one of the shortcuts you can set up is an alternative for "Hey...
iOS 18 Wallet Feature

Here's What's New in Apple Wallet on iOS 18 for Event Tickets and More

Friday June 14, 2024 7:32 am PDT by
iOS 18 includes a handful of enhancements to the Wallet app on the iPhone, with new features for Apple Pay, Apple Cash, event tickets, and more. Below, we outline everything new for the Wallet app on iOS 18, based on information from Apple's press release and a WWDC 2024 coding session. Redesigned Event Tickets Event tickets have an all-new design in the Wallet app on iOS 18, complete...