iOS screen showing Apple Shortcuts app icon.

Using the Shortcuts App to Change Watch Faces at a Specific Time of Day.

I wanted to find a way to disconnect from work when the day was over so that I wouldn’t think about what needed to be done at different points in the evenings.

I really like the Modular watch face for workdays because I have a calendar snapshot set as the center complication. However, when glancing at the time while making dinner or walking the dogs, I would get a preview of tomorrow’s events each time.

Previously, I would swipe left or right to another watch face with less complications.

When I was sitting on a plane, I took some time to play around with the Shortcuts app on my phone. This is when I realized that I could swap watch faces by creating a shortcut. Then I realized that I could create an automation to run the shortcut at specific times.

Below we will create a new shortcut and then setup the automation to run at a specific time. Take some time to play around with the options and create your shortcut and automation the way you want it to function.

If you want to download my shortcut, there is a link at the bottom of this page.

Creating The Shortcut

The steps below will walk you through creating a new shortcut to change your watch face to a “working time” watch face The weekend/evening watch face shortcut can be configured in a similar manner.

Shortcuts dashboard. arrow pointing to plus sign to add new action.

1. On your iPhone, open the Shortcuts app and tap the + (plus sign) in the upper-right corner of the screen.

new shortcut screen. arrow pointing to add action button.

2. Click the Add Action button which will bring up the Actions search and select panel.

Shortcut action search results for Watch face. arrow pointing to Set Watch Face action

3. Type Watch Face or Set Watch Face (if you want to be more specific) and press search or wait for the results to appear.

shortcut action for set active watch face to options. arrows pointing to watch face selector box and toggle for show when run option.

4. Tap on the Face parameter to select one of your current watch faces. My “working time” watch face is Modular.

Tap the little arrow next to the Face parameter and toggle the Show When Run option off. Note: the screenshot shows the toggle in its default status of on.

Shortcut. showing name color and glyph.

5. At the top of the shortcut screen, tap on the grayed out text where it says Set Watch Face to give your shortcut a name. For this, it really doesn’t matter what the name is, but it needs something.

Once you set a name, tap on the icon to the left of the name to choose a color and a glyph.

6. After tapping the X in the upper-right corner, your new shortcut will be on the All Shortcuts dashboard. New shortcuts appear at the top.

Test it out by tapping on the shortcut. Make sure to change the watch face to something other than what you selected for the shortcut (above).

Creating the Automation

Now that we have a shortcut created, we can move on to the fun part — making it do the work for us. The following steps will walk you through setting up an automation that runs the newly created shortcut every weekday at 7:45 AM.

Shortcut automation screen. Arrows pointing to automation icon and plus sign.

1. At the bottom of the All Shortcuts dashboard, tap the Automation icon, and then click the + to create a new automation.

2. Tap on Create Personal Automation to create an automation.

3. Next, you will be presented with options for when the automation should run. For my example, I chose Time of Day.

4. Set the time the automation should run, and then choose Weekly from the Repeat section. I only want this automation to run during weekdays to I deselected Sunday and Saturday. Tap Next.

5. Tap the Add Action button to tell the automation what you want it to do.

6. Search for Shortcut when the selection panel pops up.

Click on Run Shortcut.

7. Tap on the shortcut parameter and select the newly created shortcut from the list.

Tap Next.

8. Turn off the Ask Before Running toggle so that the automation can run in the background.

If you leave this option on, you’ll have to tap a button on your phone each the automation is triggered.

Download link (use your iPhone):


That’s all there is to having your iPhone automatically change your watch face at a specific time using the Shortcuts app. In summary, you’ll create the shortcut using the steps above and create an automation that runs a specific time of day. At this point, it just runs on autopilot.

I have two watch face shortcut automations that run during the day. The one we just created (“working time”) runs at 7:45 AM, and the other (“evening/weekend”) runs at 5:30 PM. The evening automation changes the watch face to a robot Memoji watch face.

There are so many options to trigger when an automation will run. Choose one that works best for you, and play around with the different settings to get the results you want.