How to use your photos as your Google Pixel Watch face

Pixel Watch photos watch face

Adding one of your own photos to your Google Pixel Watch’s face is a great way to personalize your watch. Seeing your family, a beloved dog, cat, or pet, or even a recent selfie with just a glance at your watch is a nice way to celebrate your unique life.

And Google made it very easy to add your own photo to your Pixel’s watch face using the Google Photos app.

So let’s run through it.

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How to add your personal photos to your Pixel’s watch face

There are two ways to add your photos to your watch, and both require using Google’s Photos app. 

So, the first thing to do is download and install the Google Photos app onto both your paired phone and your watch. If you already have the app on both devices, check for updates to these apps. 

  • Update apps on your phone via the Play Store. Ta your account icon, then choose Manage apps & device. Look at Updates available to see all the apps that currently have updates waiting. Update apps on Android using Play Store app
  • To update Google Photos on your watch, open the Play Store app on the watch itself. Scroll down and tap Manage apps. You should then see a list of all available app updates for your Pixel Watch apps. Pixel watch update apps with Play Store app

Once you install or update Google Photos, you’re ready to add photos to your watch face!

Now, here’s where things get a little confusing with the Pixel Watch.

Although you need to install Google Photos onto your watch, the app does not appear in your list of watch apps.

That’s because, at this time, you can only use the photos app to create a watch face. You cannot open the app and review your photo library on your watch. 

Add photos to your watch face using Google’s Watch app

  1. On your phone, open the Google Pixel Watch app. Choose Watch faces. Change Pixel watch face using Watch app
  2. Scroll down and tap Add new. Watch app for Pixel watch add a new watch face
  3. Scroll down to and tap Photos. Watch app for Google Pixel watch option to make photos watch face
  4. Select either Choose watch face in Photos app or Edit watch face in Photos app. Edit photos in Photos app in Google Pixel Watch app
  5. Select the photos you want. You can select up to 30 photos. Choose photos for Pixel watch face from Google Photos app
  6. Once you select all your photos, tap the Add button at the top right. Google Pixel Watch add selected photos to watch face
  7. Choose Save to store these photos as your Photos watch face. Save selected photos to your Google Pixel watch face
    1. If you change your mind about a photo, tap the Remove button.
  8. Wait for the Watch app to set up your watch face and confirm it. Choose OK to go back to the main watch face menu.Pixel watch set up and update Photos watch face
  9. Select your complication and its layout, then tap Add to add the Photos watch face to your watch. Select and add watch face complications for Pixel Watch
  10. Finally, go back to My Watch faces and tap Use on watch to have your photos show up as your watch face. Google Watch app use on watch for watch face

Once selected, you should see Use on watch change to On watch. Look at your Pixel Watch and verify that the Photos watch face shows up! Pixel Watch with photos watch face and weather

It worked! I now have a lovely picture of my escape artist dog Whiskey on my Pixel Watch face.

Is the Photos watch face option grayed out? Photos watch face option grayed out in Google Pixel Watch app

If the Photos watch face is grayed out, you probably already have an older version of the Photos watch face on your watch. 

To get it working, delete that existing Photos watch face.

  • To do so, go back to My watch faces and tap the pencil icon. pencil edit icon in Watch app for Pixel Watch
  • Tap the trash can next to the existing Photos watch face. Remove a watch face in the Pixel watch Watch app
    • If the trash can is grayed out, change your current watch face to a different one.
  • You see a message confirming that the watch face was removed. Pixel watch watch face removed from Watch app

Add photos to your watch face with the Pixel Watch

  1. Press and hold your current watch face to enter edit mode, then swipe left. Pixel Watch watch face edit mode
  2. Tap Add new. Add new watch face using the Pixel Watch
  3. Scroll down and select Photos. Pixel watch Photos watch face
  4. Tao the pencil icon, and when prompted to open Google Photos on your watch, tap Google Photos. Pixel watch message to open Google Photos for watch face photo selection
  5. On your phone, select the photos you want to add. Then, choose the Add button. Pixel Watch Google Photos app add watch face photos
  6. Once you add all your photos, tap Save. After saving your watch face updates immediately. Pixel Watch Google Photos save photos for watch face

If you cannot find the Photos watch face in the list of available options, you might already have an older version of the Photos watch face on your watch. 

To get it working, delete that existing Photos watch face.

  • To do so, go back to your current watch face and press and hold it.
  • Scroll left, or right to locate the Photos watch face. Pixel Watch edit photos watch face
  • Swipe up on the Photos watch face to delete it. Delete a watch face from Pixel Watch

How to use the photos watch face on your Pixel Watch

The Photos watch face can show up to 30 different photos and periodically switches which photo it shows. 

You can also tap on the current photo to change it, so your watch face shows another one of your selected photos.

Unfortunately, the Photos watch face only offers one complication, which either sits at the bottom (called linear placement) or sits in the center on top of your image (called stacked placement.)

Is Google Photos not showing up as an option for your Pixel watch face?

If you’re trying to add your photos from your Google Photos app’s gallery but you aren’t seeing any options to add photos, you likely need to update the Photos app on your watch. 

Even if you see that Google Photos is up to date on your phone, open the Play Store app on your watch and check there. 

  1. On your watch, tap open the Play Store app. Google Pixel Watch Play Store app
  2. Search for Google Photos and if an update is available, tap to update it. Pixel Watch update Google Photos app via Play Store
  3. You can also scroll down and tap Manage apps, then select Update All or locate Google Photos and update it. Pixel Watch Play Store app update all apps

Final thoughts

Hopefully, your Pixel Watch now shows some of your favorite photos! You can update those selections at any time by adding and removing photos via the Watch app and choosing to edit your watch face in the Photos app.

Currently, you can add up to 30 photos to your watch (due to storage limitations.) 

Every picture you select cycles through your watch face automatically at a set interval. Tapping the face once also changes the photo. If you want a photo to remain on-screen, don’t choose multiple photos–select just that one.

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A. Beth Whittenberger
I started my love affair with computers way back in elementary school with the Apple II. Since then, I've worked with technology in my career as a media educator and videomaker. I have an MFA in media making from Temple University, where I also taught undergrads as an adjunct faculty member. Additionally, I was a writer, content producer, and editor on the popular tech blog AppleToolBox. So I know a thing or two about teaching others and creating how-to guides! After a cancer diagnosis, I turned to mobile technology like my Apple Watch to help me monitor my health throughout my chemotherapy treatment and later, to regain my wellness once in remission. I love sharing how to understand and use mobile tech, like smartwatches and phones, as a tool for empowerment to live our best and healthiest lives! Connect with me on LinkedIn!


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