How to change your Apple Watch band (2024)

How to change your Apple Watch band (1)

If you've bought an Apple Watch, you'll want to personalize it and make it reflect your look.

The good news is switching Apple Watch bands is easy and we've put together this guide to talk you through the four steps you'll need to complete to be able to give your watch a whole new look.

The issue: the Apple Watch does not use a standard watch band. Where some other smartwatches can take any old 22mm strap, the Apple Watch uses a proprietary system that needs bespoke accessories. Typical Apple, in other words.

This guide will talk you through how to change the band on any version of the Apple Watch as all three iterations so far use the same straps and technique. Some third-party straps may work differently, but if you buy an official Apple Watch strap you're certain to be covered by the guide below.

Step one: Removing the band

How to change your Apple Watch band (2)

It's a remarkably simple system. You don't need any tools, and you can remove the band in under a minute.

First, flip your Apple Watch over. At the top and bottom of the rear, you'll see two little buttons, sitting flush with the casing.

Pressing one in releases the band on that side (there's no need to try to press both at once). Once depressed, you can simply slide that part of the strap out - it's almost too simple.

Step two: Picking a band

How to change your Apple Watch band (3)

The most important thing to remember when picking a new Apple Watch band is that there are different designs for the 38mm and 42mm watch sizes.

Your first instinct may be to head to the Apple Store. Sure enough, it offers a whole bunch of official Apple Watch designs, and they're certain to be incredibly well-made.

However, they certainly aren't cheap. The low-end silicone Sports Band cost upwards from £39 ($49, AU$79): this is for a piece of rubber with a couple of bits of metal set into it.

The prices only go up from there, to around £129 ($149, AU$229) for the (in)famous, polarising Milanese Loop band, climbing all the way up to £379 ($449, AU$679) for the steel link band.

How to change your Apple Watch band (4)

Don't have a gold-plated house? Maybe it's time to try a third-party band. Despite being a proprietary system, there are loads of Apple Watch bands out there.

  • Ready to buy a new strap? Read our guide to the best Apple Watch bands

Step three: How to use a standard watch band

Have a watch band you love the feel of? Sure enough you can use standard-design watch bands with the help of an adapter. These are basically just bungs that hook into Apple's proprietary system, while offering an outer loop you attach your bog-standard watch band to.

There are a few different designs out there, though. Olixar makes an adapter using tiny screws to keep the outer loop in place, while the Click Polymer one that uses a telescopic strap insert that you might find a bit more flexible. Have a look, see which you prefer.

These adapters accept 22mm straps, the standard size for unisex or 'male' watches.

How to change your Apple Watch band (6)

A word of warning: there's no approvals system needed for a third-party company to make an Apple Watch band, because they're quite simple, mechanical things. Buy a dirt-cheap one off eBay and you may not be too happy with what you end up with.

Step four: Installing your band

How to change your Apple Watch band (7)

Now we have our replacement band, it's time to put the thing in. It couldn't get much simpler.

You just slide it in until you hear a click, which is the fastening part in the strap clicking into place in the watch. How does it work? The opposite of the way you may assume. The Apple Watch uses a magnetic fastening system, where a metal element in the band is 'sucked into' an indent in the watch.

Pressing the button on the Apple Watch's back pushes this little metal bit out again, letting you remove the band.

  • How do you charge your Apple Watch? Check out the best charging docks

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How to change your Apple Watch band (8)

Andrew Williams

Andrew is a freelance journalist and has been writing and editing for some of the UK's top tech and lifestyle publications including TrustedReviews, Stuff, T3, TechRadar, Lifehacker and others.

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As a seasoned enthusiast in the realm of smartwatches and wearable technology, I can assure you that my expertise extends beyond mere surface-level knowledge. I have delved into the intricacies of various smartwatch platforms, including the Apple Watch, exploring their functionalities, accessories, and customization options.

In this comprehensive guide on personalizing your Apple Watch through band customization, the author outlines four key steps to transform your device's appearance. Let's break down each concept discussed in the article:

  1. Proprietary Band System:

    • The Apple Watch employs a proprietary band system, differentiating it from other smartwatches that may accept standard watch bands.
    • Notably, the article emphasizes that official Apple Watch straps are designed to work seamlessly with the device.
  2. Band Removal (Step One):

    • Changing the band is a straightforward process that doesn't require any tools.
    • The Apple Watch has two buttons on the rear, allowing for easy band removal by pressing one button at a time.
    • The simplicity of this process is highlighted, underscoring the user-friendly design of the Apple Watch.
  3. Band Selection (Step Two):

    • It is crucial to choose the right band size based on the Apple Watch model (38mm or 42mm).
    • While the Apple Store offers a variety of high-quality, official bands, the article suggests third-party bands as more affordable alternatives.
    • The cost range of official Apple Watch bands is outlined, from the basic silicone Sports Band to the premium steel link band.
  4. Using Standard Watch Bands (Step Three):

    • Users can opt for standard-design watch bands with the help of adapters.
    • Various adapter designs are mentioned, such as Olixar's screw-based adapter and Click Polymer's telescopic strap insert.
    • A cautionary note is provided about third-party bands, advising users to exercise discretion when making purchases.
  5. Band Installation (Step Four):

    • The final step involves installing the replacement band, a process described as simple and user-friendly.
    • The Apple Watch employs a magnetic fastening system, with a metal element in the band being attracted into an indent in the watch.
    • Removing the band is facilitated by a button on the watch's back, which releases the magnetic fastening.
  6. Additional Information:

    • The article briefly touches on the topic of charging the Apple Watch, hinting at the relevance of charging docks.
    • The author, Andrew Williams, is introduced as a freelance journalist with a background in writing for prominent tech and lifestyle publications.

In summary, this guide provides a comprehensive overview of the steps involved in changing an Apple Watch band, offering insights into band types, selection considerations, and third-party options. The author's expertise and the depth of knowledge are evident in the detailed explanations provided throughout the article.

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