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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.jpg

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.
    apple-watch-face-time-of-day-change.jpg

    Tap Add Action, then use the search field to look up "Watch."
  6. Select Set Watch Face from the results list of watch actions.
  7. On the Actions screen, immediately below "Set active watch face to," tap the word Face in blue.
  8. 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.
    watch-face-change-time1.jpg

    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.
  9. Tap Done to finish.
    watch-face-change-time-of-day2.jpg
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.
    change-watch-face-location.jpg

    Tap Add Action, then use the search field to look up "Watch."
  6. Select Set Watch Face from the results list of watch actions.
  7. On the Actions screen, immediately below "Set active watch face to," tap the word Face in blue.
  8. 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.
    watch-face-change-time1.jpg

    Tap Next when the Actions screen reappears.
    Tap Done on the last screen to finish.
    change-warch-face-location2.jpg
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.

Article Link: How to Automatically Change Your Apple Watch Face Based on Time or Location
 
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GrannySmithPro

macrumors newbie
Sep 21, 2020
11
32
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!

???✌????
 

TJovian

macrumors newbie
Mar 13, 2011
4
10
I’m curious what happens with the shortcut if you switch between watches.

I have two different watches (one for sleep/bedtime/alarm, and my daily driver).
I imagine that if I’m not currently wearing the watch I created the automation for at the precise time it runs, it will just fail to complete the task. I guess I’ll find out tomorrow morning. ?
 

aries81

macrumors newbie
Nov 18, 2021
26
59
For some reason this won’t work for the Unity Lights watchface. Unless this has been fixed in the latest watchOS update? Haven’t tried it lately.
 
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Unami

macrumors 6502a
Jul 27, 2010
853
666
Austria
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.
 

Sygned

macrumors newbie
Feb 24, 2022
1
0
This is amazing and I can see myself using it .Nevertheless it should be natively supported for users for seamless experience in setting this up. Similar to their “focus” features.
 

Macaholic868

macrumors 6502a
Feb 2, 2017
615
795
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.

You’d think that would be an easy fix. You should be able to bypass the confirmation when setting up the shortcut. I’m surprised they don’t have that option because there may be some times where you do want the prompt with no action taken unless you confirm it and other situations where you don’t care and want it to just work.

Like my lights automatically coming on via HomeKit at sunset and going off at sunrise. It just works and I don’t have to think about it. No confirmation required.
 
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DblHelix

macrumors 6502a
Mar 19, 2009
621
468
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.
Not sure how I did it but it has an alert on my phone that my automation ran. Nothing on my watch it just updates. Unclick ask before running.
 

Agile55

macrumors 6502
Jul 18, 2008
270
76
TX
For some reason this won’t work for the Unity watchface. Unless this has been fixed in the latest watchOS update? Haven’t tried it lately.
I’m on 8.4.2 & it hasn’t been fixed, good to know it wasn’t just me that couldn’t use the Unity face for this.
 

Pcar17

macrumors newbie
Jul 18, 2018
22
7
How can I add a time zone to my automation to change a watch face? Thx!
 
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