Wear OS tips, faces, bands, and apps

Customization is one of the best aspects of a smartwatch compared to its mechanical counterparts. Google’s inaugural wearable is no exception, and we want to see your Pixel Watch setup. Meanwhile, here are some tips on getting started.

Screen settings & battery life

Some people already know on which wrist they like to wear accessories, but try playing around with the Pixel Watch orientation settings. Unlike mechanical watches, you can literally flip the device around and still have it visually work. Another consideration is how not having the crown face what your hands point to will help reduce accidental bumping/activations.

You should absolutely give the Always-on screen a try. Keep it on for a few days at least, while turning off Tilt-to-wake in favor of Touch-to-wake especially when the AOD is already on. This configuration saves battery life in our experience.

On the topic of battery life, it will improve after a few days of usage. The first day is not at all representative, and getting a full day with the AOD enabled meets the experience of more than a few Pixel Watch users.

If you’re curious, Google’s “up to 24 hours” specification is “based on the following usage“:

  • 240 notifications
  • 280 time checks
  • 5 min LTE phone call
  • 45 min LTE and GPS workout with downloaded YouTube music playback
  • 50 minutes of navigation (Google Maps) while connected to a phone via Bluetooth®️
  • The watch configured with the default settings, including the Always-on display set to off

Pixel Watch faces & complications

Google did a good job by providing high-quality watch faces out of the box. Most people will be happy sticking to the 19 defaults, which contain a wide variety of customization options:

  • Before starting to customize watch faces (and Tiles), make sure your Pixel Watch (December 5, 2022) and apps (in the Play Store) are all up-to-date. Some features aren’t available until you’re running the latest versions.
  • If you like the time in analog, check out Classic, Dial, and Pilot. The hour hands are hollow so complications can be more easily viewed.
    • Try turning seconds off for a more unobstructed analog face.
  • Speaking of complicationsdon’t feel obliged to fill every slot in, or even arrange things so they’re symmetrical.
    • While Wear OS 3 offers a now playing shortcut when audio is playing at the bottom of your watch face, adding a dedicated media controls complication is worth it as it remains persistent. You can use it to resume songs even when the system indicator is gone.
  • If you want a one line digital clockuse Utility’s Minimal Layout instead of Track.
    • Everyday’s Big Layout is also a good alternative to Big Time.
  • Index’s small line-style complications aren’t for everyone, but the left-hand digital clock is nice (if you wear the Pixel Watch on your right wrist). This lets you quickly pull up your sleeve to quickly glance at the time.
  • Don’t sleep on Concentric’s Half Dial Layout to add three complications to the Pixel Watch’s most striking face.
  • wear Bold Time whenever possible to aid glanceability.
  • Some watch faces support dual colors at the end of the carousel: Abstract, Analog, Big Time, and Track.


On the Pixel Watch, there’s a large complement of Fitbit Tiles, while the Weather ones (Forecast, UV Index, and Sun) are all beautifully laid out.

When ordering, make use of the fact that you can swipe left and right for them. Instead of putting your most important Tiles in sequential order, put the second-most vital one on the other side of the watch face. This makes navigation to desired Tiles a great deal faster.

Wear OS apps

By 2022, Google Play named Todoist as its Best for Wear OS app following a single feed-based redesign earlier this year to replace the original Android Wear-era layout. The to-do app also offers a wide range of complications that act as shortcuts and progress indicators.

On the developer side, Google has also highlighted Spotify, Strava, and Outdooractive. Google Keep, following its recent update, is also quite good, and one of the platform’s better apps.

If you’re looking for an app to do quick calculations on your wrist, samsung calculator is surprisingly installable on the Pixel Watch. However, you have to download directly via the Play Store listing.

Pixel Watch bands & straps

Google’s Active Band is a jack of all trades that can be worn all day and night. If you have experience with the Apple Watch’s Sports Band, Google’s is much more secure due to the double tuck-in nature. Brighter colors would be welcome, but until then get another Active Band and mix the top and bottom pieces for a dual-tone look. It’s also a good idea to stick to this default if you’re waiting for Google’s metal bands, or higher-quality ones than the initial third-party crop that have emerged.

If you have your own preferred standard watch strap, the trick is using Google’s Crafted and Two-Tone Leather Bands for their adapters, or the pieces of metal that actually connect to the watch. Until the company starts certifying third-party connectors, going with the quasi-official adapter is a good bet.

Meanwhile, Google made an amusing wine-esque guide on how to pair watch faces and bands:

  • Active Band: Analog face
  • Stretch: Big Time
  • Woven: View
  • Leather: Prime and Dial
  • Metal: Classic and Concentric

Share your Pixel Watch setup in the comments below!

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