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Confused about how to swap faces on your Apple Watch? Here's the secret

With watchOS 10, Apple changed the way you jump from one watch face to another. Now you can return to the older, simpler method. Here's how.
Written by Lance Whitney, Contributor
Apple Watches with different faces

In the past, moving from one face to another on an Apple Watch was easy. You'd simply swipe left or right on the watch face screen, and another face would appear. With watchOS 10, however, Apple changed this method, making it more complicated and cumbersome. But fear not, fellow Apple Watch owners, you can now choose your preferred method. Here's how.

Also: Why I suddenly rushed to buy an Apple Watch from Amazon (that I didn't really want to buy)

How to swap faces on your Apple Watch

1. Run watchOS 10

If you're still running watchOS 9 or earlier, the older method of switching watch faces is still the norm. Just swipe left or right. If you already updated to watchOS 10 to gain all the latest features, such as new watch faces, fitness routines, and Health app tools, then the newer method is in effect.

Run watchOS 10
screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

2. Switch watch faces

With watchOS 10 installed, try swiping left and right. Oops, nothing happens. To jump to a different face, you have to press down on the current one. That takes you to the editing screen. Swipe left or right until you find the face you want to display. Tap on it to make that the active face. Not too user-friendly, is it?

Switch watch faces
screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

3. Update to watchOS 10.2

Apple must have realized that it ticked off Watch owners by making the new face changing process so clumsy. That's why it fixed the issue with the latest 10.2 update. For this, open the Watch app on your iPhone, head to General, select Software Update, and then install the latest version.

Altefnatively, you can update the OS directly from your watch. For that, open the Settings app on the watch, tap General and then Software Updates, and allow the new version to be installed.

Update to watchOS 10.2
screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

4. Change the method for switching faces

The newer method for swapping watch faces is still the default in watchOS 10.2. However, Apple now lets you revert to the older method. On your watch, open the Settings app, tap the setting for Clock, and then turn on the switch for "Swipe to Switch Watch Face."

Change the method for switching faces
screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

Also: The best smartwatches you can buy: Apple, Samsung, Google, and more compared

5. Switch watch faces by swiping

Now, tap the Digital Crown to return to your last watch face. Swipe left or right as you did in the good, old days, and you'll find that the older and simpler method is back. If for some reason, you prefer the newer process, you can always head back to the Clock settings and turn off the switch for "Swipe to Switch Watch Face." Otherwise, be glad that Apple saw the error of its ways in switching how you switch watch faces.

Switch watch faces by swiping
screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET
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