Tick tock, my Apple Watch experience, watch faces and complications

Watch faces and complications.


After having a week away on holiday on the beautiful West coast of Wales I thought I’d return with a blog about the different things you can do with the watch faces on your Apple Watch.


It sounds very technical when you hear people talking about adding and removing complications to your watch face, but don’t worry, it’s really not all that bad.


First I want to explain what complications actually are, as it’s a pretty frightening word when you first come across it on the Apple Watch. To put it simply, complications is a term that has been used by watch makers for quite a while. It encompasses any function on a watch that is not simply telling the time. This includes things like date, moon cycle etc. So a watch that simply tells the time has no complications, whereas a watch that tells the time, shows the moon’s cycle and has a day and date function does have complications.


One of the great things about the Apple Watch is that not only can you choose from a variety of watch faces, you can also customise what, if any, complications you also have displayed on your chosen watch face.


To choose the watch face you would like you first need to bring up the watch face selection screen. To do this you will need to make sure your watch is awake by tapping once with a single finger on the screen. Then single finger double tap and deep press on the screen, the watch will make three ascending tones followed by a popping sound. The deep press gesture does take a bit of getting used to so don’t worry if it takes you a few attempts to master it. I’ve found that I get the best results if I press as if I’m trying to push my watch through my wrist, it really does need to be quite a definite hard press rather than the gentle press and hold that we are all so used to.


Once you’ve done this you will be presented with the watch face selection screen. Here the available watch faces are displayed with he name of the watch face as well as information about what it contains. For example: Utility, analog with optional numbers or colour, analog with coloured tick marks. The watch will also tell you to double tap on the selected watch face to choose it. If you have Digital Crown Navigation switched on simply turn the crown to navigate around the available watch faces. If you have Digital Crown Navigation switched off single finger flick left or right to navigate around the available watch faces. To activate a watch face single finger double tap on it. The watch will now exit the watch face select screen and return you to the standard watch face screen.


Once you’ve chosen your watch face you can navigate around it by dragging your finger around the screen or by using Digital Crown Navigation. You will hear that several of the watch faces already have complications such as date, weather, calendar etc on them. Don’t let this bother you if there are complications on there that you simply don’t want or will never use as you can customise the complications you have on each watch face.


To customise the complications on your chosen watch face do the following:


1. Make sure your watch is awake then single finger double tap, deep press and flick up or down. This brings up a list of three options, customise, delete and activate item.


2. Single finger flick up or down to find the customise option then single finger double tap on it. You will now be presented with a variety of complication options, but which watch face you have chosen dictates how many complications there are to customise.


Apple have really thought this through for VoiceOver users as each complication has a position on the watch face and this position is announced by VoiceOver during the customising process. For example the watch will say: “Editing top left complication”, “Editing top centre complication”, “Editing bottom left complication” etc. It will also tell you if you are editing colours rather than complications. This makes customising watch faces much easier as we can identify what we’re putting where.


3. I recommend toggling between having Digital Crown Navigation on or off during this stage as having it switched on in some instances makes the process easier.


With Digital Crown Navigation on, turn the crown away from you to move to the previous complication or turn it towards you to move to the next complication. Once you’re on the complication you wish to customise, switch Digital Crown Navigation off.


The watch will actually tell you to scroll up or down using the crown to select the complication you want for that particular position of the watch face. Once you’ve selected the complication you want in that position switch Digital Crown Navigation on and move to the next complication you wish to customise and repeat the process.


4. Once you’ve customised all of the complications that you want, simply press and release the Digital Crown once and you will be returned to the watch face selection screen. Press and release the Digital Crown once again and you will be taken to your newly customised watch face.



I’ve had my Apple Watch for nearly a month now and I’m still fiddling around with customising the complications on my watch faces. I’ve even customised the complications on several watch faces so I can experiment with which combinations work best for me. It’s well worth spending some time playing with your complications as you can get some really useful stuff on your watch face that you’ll probably find you will use almost without thinking about it.


Have fun!


In my next blog post I’ll be talking about using Siri on your Apple Watch.

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