How to Change Apple Watch Band in 5 Simple Steps

Isn’t it wonderful to have the option to change your Apple Watch bands at will? Just change the bands and watch face; that way, you can hit the gym and stroll into a meeting afterwards, looking classy as ever.

To make this possible, Apple doesn’t use standard watch bands. Apple designers created a special type of slotted lug attachment and spring-loaded buttons on the straps that lock in place.

Holding the band release button lets you slide the old band out, and slide in the new one. But there’s a catch (literally)—you’ve got to have the right bands for your Apple Watch and do the swap properly to avoid damage. 

Apple Watch Band Compatibility Guide

There have been 7 iterations of the Apple Watch so far, with several generations and countless Editions between them.

Apple has tried to make the bands compatible with the watch body through its generations, which is good news if you are a collector. However, there are changes in sizing and styling that you need to consider.

Apple Watch Strap Sizes

Apple Watch Generation Case/Lug Size
1st Generation Two versions, 38mm and 42mm
Series 1, 2, and 3 Two versions, 38mm and 42mm
Apple Watch SE Two versions, 40mm and 44mm
Series 4, 5, and 6 Two versions, 40mm and 44mm

All third-party Apple Watch straps have to be compatible with this system as well. Our collection at BluShark Straps is crafted to the exact standards that fit just as well as the official Apple bands.

How to Change Bands on Your Apple Watch: Step-By-Step Guide

1. Place Your Watch On a Soft Surface

Place a soft microfiber cloth or paper towel on top of a flat, clean surface, then put your Apple Watch face down onto it to prevent scratches on the watch face.

Open the bracelet where possible. This may not be possible with the closed Sport Loop and Sport Band, but these are flexible enough to work with as-is.

If you have a Link Bracelet, there will be a quick-release button on a few of the links that you can press to separate it into two parts. Push down on this button and pull the links apart.

Link Bracelet

2. Press the Band Release Buttons and Hold

You will see two oval release buttons near the channels where the bands attach. They hold the band in place, and pushing on them releases it so that you can slide it out. The two band release buttons are marked E on the image below.

Parts of the Apple Watch
Image courtesy

You can use your fingernails or any thin sharp object to press and hold the buttons individually.

3. Slide the Band Across To Remove It

While pressing the band release button, gently slide one side of the band out of the channels in either direction. Repeat the same process for the other side as well.

4. Get Your New Apple Watch Band and Position it Carefully

Your new band should be compatible with the case width of your Apple Watch. Apple confirms that the 38mm and 40mm bands are interchangeable, as are 42mm and 44mm cases. However, it’s always best to match the case width exactly if you can.

With the underside of the band facing you, position the band near each of the channels. It often doesn’t matter in what order you do that, but try to match the original positioning of the old bands.

If you are replacing the band with a new one, it should come in two pieces. If not, open the closure mechanisms to free the two ends and enable you to slide the bands into place. Again, this doesn’t apply to closed bands such as the Sport Loop.

5. Slide the New Band Into the Channels

Slide the new band into place one side at a time. You will hear a click when the band locksinto place, especially with the metal bands. Give the band a slight tug to ensure that it is locked in place.

If you have trouble removing or restoring a band, try tilting it slightly to match the angle of the channels. If all else fails, here is a novel but risky solution you can attempt. 

Official Apple Watch Band Options to Choose From

There are currently six standard designs of official Apple Watch bands available. These all have different wrist size specifications and aesthetics, so it's worth taking a moment to ensure that you have the right one. 

Apple Watch Band Case Size Wrist Size Specifications
The Leather Loop 44 mm
  • Medium–150-185 mm (5.9–7.1 in)
  • Large–180–210 mm (7.1–8.3 in)
The Milanese Loop 40 mm and 44 mm
  • 130–180 mm (5.1–7.0 in) for the 40mm
  • 150-200 mm (5.9–7.8 in) for the 44mm
The Link Bracelet 38 mm and 42 mm
  • 135–195 mm (5.3–7.6 in) for the 38mm
  • 140–205 mm (5.5–8.0 in) for the 42mm
The Modern Buckle 40 mm
  • Small–135-150 mm (5.3–5.9 in) Medium–
  • 145–165 mm (5.7–6.5 in)
  • Large–160–180 mm (6.3–7.0 in)
The Leather Link 40 mm and 44 mm
  • 130–160 mm (5.1–7.0 in) for the 40mm
  • 140–180 mm (5.5–7.0 in) for the 44mm
The Sport Band 40 mm and 44 mm
  • 130–200 mm (5.1–7.8 in) for the 40mm
  • 160–245 mm (6.3–9.6 in) for the 44mm

And yes, these straps are also a wonderful gift idea for Apple lovers.

Buy Affordable Apple Watch Bands

The official Apple Watch bands command official Apple prices, so it makes sense to buy compatible bands from third-party manufacturers instead.

However, you can’t trust any but the best quality third-party sellers. You don’t want to see your $700 Series 6 drowning in a lake while fishing, do you?

At BluShark Straps, we handcraft luxury Apple Watch Bands from materials such as Cordura, leather, canvas, and nylon to fit all the Apple Watch models. Explore our collections today to find a world of choice and affordability like you haven’t experienced before.

Featured Image from: Flickr by Alex Binary

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.