watchOS 9 hands-on: The new and updated Apple Watch faces


watchOS 9 hands-on: The new and updated Apple Watch faces

Apple on Monday announced watchOS 9, the next major update to the Apple Watch operating system. It offers features like better sleep tracking and a new medication reminder app, as well as new and updated watch faces. Read on as we detail what’s new for Apple Watch watch faces in watchOS 9.

The Apple Watch is notable for the many options users have for customizing the watch faces. Not only can you choose different styles, but you can also change colors and add different complications to see when you raise your wrist.

Over time, Apple watchOS has added new watch faces, but the old ones have stayed pretty much the same. Now, with the Apple Watch Series 7, it’s become even clearer that these watch faces weren’t designed for the latest Apple Watch models. With watchOS 9, Apple not only added three new watch faces, but also updated some of the old ones.

First, let’s talk about the new watch faces coming with watchOS 9.


Lunar is one of the new watch faces coming with watchOS 9, and Apple describes it as a watch face that “represents the relationship between the Gregorian calendar and the lunar calendar.” Basically, it is inspired by ancient timekeeping methods based on the phases of the moon.

Showcasing the moon at the center with time surrounded by the phases of the moon, this dial supports four complications. There aren’t many other customization options other than pointer colors, analog or digital time, and Chinese, Hebrew, and Islamic calendars.

Users can rotate the Digital Crown to explore other phases of the moon, and the watch will vibrate each time you do so.

game time

Playtime is a dynamic and interactive watch face developed in collaboration with illustrator and artist Joi Fulton. It has a funnier vibe as it features the numbers in the form of stuffed animals.

Playtime watch face in watchOS 9.

There are no complications in this watch face, but it allows users to change the background color and add or remove some decorative elements on the background. Time moves in a parallax effect on the screen as you wiggle your wrist, and you can interact with the numbers by tapping them.


Metropolitan is more of a classic dial as it is modeled after an analogue watch. Despite this, it has several customization options.

Metropolitan watch face in watchOS 9.

Like other modern watch faces, Metropolitan supports up to four corner complications. Here the user can change the color of the background and also the time in the center of the watch face. Rotating the Digital Crown more or less stretches the numbers, allowing users to create even more unique looks.


While Astronomy isn’t a new watch face, it’s been completely overhauled with watchOS 9. In addition to super-detailed 3D versions of the Earth and Moon, the changes to the Astronomy watch face go beyond that.

Astronomy watch face in watchOS 9.

Users can choose to view the Earth or Moon full-size or zoom in on a specific part. There is also a version that shows the entire solar system and you can interact with it using the Digital Crown.

When it comes to customization, the Astronomy watch face offers options to change the font and complications at the top and bottom of the screen.

Updated watch faces

Other watch faces have also been updated with watchOS 9, but with less aggressive changes. For watch faces like Modular, Modular Compact, and X-Large, users can now change the background by adding a solid color or gradient.

Infograph modular watch face in watchOS 9.

Some of the original watch faces like Simple and Utility have also received minor updates, now with support for more modern complications.

Classic watch faces in watchOS 9.

The Portrait watch face, which displays photos taken in Portrait mode and merges them with the time, has also been updated to work with pet portraits.


Fortunately, all of the new watch faces will be available for the Apple Watch Series 4 or later, so there are no new watch faces that are exclusive to the Apple Watch Series 7.

watchOS 9 is currently available as beta software for developers through the Apple Developer website. A public beta will be released next month, while the official release is expected this fall.

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