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by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Dan Moren

In defense of the Apple Watch’s Photo Album face

Yes, I’m still wearing my Apple Watch these many months later. And one thing I’ve discovered over that time is that functionality isn’t the only thing driving some of my choices. While many folks I know have switched to the complication-heavy Modular face, I’ve found myself increasingly drawn to the other end of the spectrum and the Photo Album face.

Photo Album Face
The Photo Album face pulls images from your Favorites album in Photos, which itself is a Smart Album that collects all the pictures that you’ve selected as favorites, by clicking the heart icon. Photo Album picks a different image each time the screen turns on; other than the time, date, and day of week, that’s it. No complications. No fancy widgets. (Pro tip: You can also cycle through the images by tapping the Watch’s screen when it’s active)

Where I give thumbs up to the Photo Album face is in its personalization. For the same reason that we like putting wallpaper on our phones, it’s great to be able to assign that same level of customization to our even-more-personal watch. I enjoy the rotating set of images that pop up, and more often than not, it makes me smile.

Do I wish there were complications? Sure. We’re talking about personalization here! It’s not very personal to not offer some sort of tweaks for complications, even if it were simply where to put the time on the face. I don’t need it to be festooned with widgets, but even simply having the ability to add the current temperature or a calendar item would be great.

But I also appreciate the intent of this watch face, which is definitely more streamlined and elegant. And the best thing about the Apple Watch is that it’s a snap to switch back and forth between this and my default Utility face. Some days, it’s far less stressful to glance at the time and, instead of a litany of data and indications where to be and when, simply see a little reminder of happiness.

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[Dan Moren is a tech writer, novelist, podcaster, and the Official Dan of Six Colors. You can email him at dan@sixcolors.com or find him on Twitter at @dmoren.]