Apple says ‘no’ to custom Watch faces, fart apps and time-telling apps

“Apple on Tuesday updated the official App Store Review Guidelines, officially taking a stance against third-party applications for the Apple Watch whose sole purpose is to tell the time, as first discovered by developer David Smith,” Christian Zibreg reports for iDownload Blog. “A newly added clause of the agreement guiding third-party development now explicitly states that Watch applications which simply tell the time will be flatly rejected.”

“Moreover, the same principles appear to apply to custom watch faces and flatulence apps,” Zibreg reports. “In addition to time-telling apps, Apple also doesn’t want third-party developers to create custom faces for the Watch. The device ships with a selection of ten highly customizable faces, but that’s about it, at least for the time being.”

“For the time being,” Zibreg reports, “because the official Apple Watch User Guide implies that additional Apple-made faces might be coming soon by way of a future Watch OS software update.””

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Makes sense, although we’d like to see what third-party developers could do with watch faces eventually.


    1. You only have to look at the butt-ugly collection of 3rd-party Android Wear watch faces to understand why Apple says no. Not only are 99% totally tasteless, but half of them display some sort of copyright infringement with notable brand names. There is also the issue of light colored watch faces drawing down more battery power to display.

  1. Nothing about this “makes sense”. This is just classic Apple over control. Seriously, exactly how will the world end if I can load a custom watch face on my Watch? Please explain that? If there is a valid reason, they should say why (other than “we didn’t invent it, so you can’t use it” or “your watch face is unaesthetic, so you can’t do it”. If there is no valid reason, they should allow it.

    BTW, I will be ordering my Watch soon to go with my iPhone 6, MacBook Pro, Apple TV and iPad So please, no flames about how I’m some kind of Fandroid (I wouldn’t touch Android if it was the only OS on the planet).

    1. The probable reason is battery life. People check the time at least several times an hour. Apple can optimize its own watch faces to draw as little current as humanly possible; developers without direct access to the hardware can’t. If somebody’s watch goes dead after six hours, they are going to blame Apple, not the watch face programmer.

      1. I want to go with an all white watch face. /s

        According to those in the the know, Android based watches with custom loadable watch faces, have some pretty ugly resource draining watch faces. I suspect if you give people an inch, they will take a mile, and blame Apple for it.

          1. That’s a community standard, determined by elected officials and have the courts as a recourse.. I want a device, not a membership to a community. What’s this? Conform or get out?

            1. Sorry, I don’t see your point. You’ve simply proved my point.. The original owner of the property (not the HOA, which is a group that ‘manages’ the consistency of a grouping of residences) still does not make nor enforce the trash rule. Even the ‘first’ purchase of a residence that is part of a HOA is from the development company.

  2. The watch face part is probably to prevent copyright infringement issues.
    Even if it’s not apple making the watch face.

    Fart app, hope this applies to iOS as well.

  3. As much as I would love to have more watch face options .. The logic as I imagine it is owners are going to be showing there watches to folks and Apple wants them to all look their best .. For every gorgeous third party watch face there will be twenty ugly ones.

          1. Maybe you can add some functions to your app that does more than tell time.. Seems they are only rejecting apps that ONLY tell time as their function. Maybe add a mini-game to it, or allow it to have a flashlight mode.

            1. Or the old digital stopwatch game of ‘get it exactly XX:00 seconds’. You can set a different ‘goal’ each round.. 😀 You could start with say a 100 points and subtract from that the difference in 1/100 seconds.. Rounds would continue till you lost all points. Leaderboard for max number of rounds achieved.

          2. I’ve got a Binary watch I bought from Think Geek years ago. It was quite a conversation piece, “There are 10 kinds of people, those who understand Binary, and those who don’t.” 🖖😀⌚️

            1. Yes. Actually, I was developing a true binary face. Not entirely useful for telling the time, but it displayed the whole day as fractions, 1/2 day, 1/4 day, 1/8th… etc. all the way down to ~1.318 seconds or 2^-16 of a day.

      1. I got a first gen iPad as well, so I know what you mean. However, I have the Apple watch, and it’s awesome. No regrets at all. (With the iPad, I immediately knew it should have had a forward facing camera, higher pixel density, etc)

    1. Yes, gradually the controls were loosened. Once Apple had time to address security and stability issues, not as easy as it sounds. Those last two should be top priority. Do the other stuff when you have time. (pun intended)

  4. Wouldn’t it be great to have a “Watch Face Construction Kit” app where you could photograph a high dollar watch with lots of “complications” and make that into you Apple Watch face?

  5. The reason for no custom watch faces makes perfect sense for now. At issue is that no developer can currently make a custom watch face.

    Instead, what a developer could do is make an app that mimicked a custom watch face. This would be really bad and really confusing for users who might not know the difference.

    A fake face would really suck and be as useless as a fart app.

    Once Apple opens the SDK to allow custom watch faces, then everything changes, but until then, it is what it is.

  6. There doesn’t seem to be any opposition from Apple if your App that happens to have a watch face mode also does other things unrelated to keeping actual time. Since it would be a separate App no one is forcing you to download, give the user the freedom to decide if he wants a novelty, not integrated with Apple Watch’s watch face collection/interface on his watch. It’s something fun, like ringtones or wallpaper..

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