Are Apple Watch Bands Universal?
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Whether you just bought a shiny new Apple Watch Series 7 or you’ve had an older series wrapped around your wrist for years, you might have asked yourself about Apple Watch band replacements.
After all, customizing your Apple Watch band to meet all of your needs is part of the fun of owning one of these fashion-forward pieces of technology.
Are Apple Watch Bands Universal?
Apple Watch Bands are available from Apple and many other third-party manufacturers. Since Apple Watch bands are available in many different sizes, they are not all universal but most manufacturers make Apple-Watch compatible bands.
The good news is that nearly every design is offered for each size of the Apple Watch from 38mm to 44mm.
In fact, the variety of band types is nearly countless.
From stainless steel loops to sweat-resistant cloth bands.
My favorite is the magnetic Milanese-style bands.
Apple offers a slew of band variety already with the Braided Solo Loop in seven colors, Solo Loops in seven colors, Sport Band in nine colors, Sport loop in six colors, Nike-branded Loops, seven different Leather Link/Buckle bands, seven stainless steel loops, and sixteen Hermes Loops.
The downside is that Apple’s bands can become a little pricey.
That’s where third-party manufacturers decided to fill the gap with considerably less expensive options that mimic Apple’s quality offerings.
What Sizes Do Apple Watches Come In?
When looking for new Apple Watch bands, the most important detail you’ll have to get right is the band size.
In the beginning, Apple Watch came in either 38mm or 42mm sizes.
After years of improvement, Apple decided to offer something a little bigger and added the Apple Watch 6 and SE editions to be available as either 40mm or 44mm.
Apple once again upped the size with the Apple Watch 7 by offering 41mm and 45mm sizes.
In total, there are 38mm, 40mm, 42mm, 44mm, and 45mm Apple Watch sizes. On top of that, bands made for each size can be offered In Small, Medium, or Large length sizes.
The best way to determine what size you want to wear is to go to a retail store with the option to either see a demo or try on a watch.
With the variety in band sizes, you won’t have to worry about the band length or fitting based on the size of the Apple Watch screen.
Find the most comfortable fit for you to wear and use.
How Do I Pick The Right Apple Watch Band Size?
If you’ve got the watch you want, the next step is to fit the best length.
To be thorough, you can measure your wrist with measuring tape.
Here’s a quick breakdown of wrist band sizes:
- Small: 5 to 6.5 inches
- Medium/Regular: 6.5 to 7 inches
- Large: 7 to 8.5 inches
With the length figured out, you’ll just need to look for the right Watch fitting. Apple Watch bands are typically marked with the size of the Watch it fits.
For Apple Watch Series 1 through 3, it’s either 38mm or 42mm. From Series 4 to Series 6, it’s either 40mm or 44mm. With Apple Watch Series 7, it’s either 41mm or 45mm.
The best keyword combination to use for your online searches is watch size/band length and the band type.
For example, to find good stainless steel bands I would type 42mm/Large Milanese Loop.
Here’s a few examples of the different loop types you can search for:
- Stainless Steel
- Solo loop
- Leather braid
- Leather loop
- Leather buckle
- Sport band
- Milanese loop
- Modern buckle
That’s a lot of options. It seems like every day there’s even more.
It may take some time for you to choose the right bands for you.
If you have a little difficulty making decisions, you might look through online retailers like Amazon or eBay.
You’ll find different types for low prices that’ll allow you to try out different styles without breaking the bank.
Where Can I Find Apple Watch Bands?
Apple’s popularity often leads to a long list of retailers selling accessories.
You can find all kinds of different bands on popular sites like Amazon, Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and eBay.
There are also many options available in-store at Target, Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Apple Stores, Verizon, AT&T, and many other locations as well.
It’s important to remember that the only bands you will consistently find are Apple-branded bands.
Almost every retailer has a completely different third-party selection. That’s not a comment on quality, just the selection.
You might find that your favorite band just by keeping an eye open.
If you’re looking for a recommendation, I often find myself ordering my Watch bands from Amazon.
The availability and variety in one place are tough to beat.
Will Any Apple Watch Band Fit My Apple Watch?
Unfortunately, Apple Watch bands are not universal.
Each variation of the Apple Watch has a different set of face sizes and band attachment sizes.
Put simply, some Apple Watches are bigger and some are smaller.
For the same reason, the band connection point is also a different size.
Don’t put too much thought into it. You will be able to find the band you like in the size you need.
Can I Mix and Match Apple Watch Bands?
In some cases, you can mix and match parts of different watch bands for a new look.
Apple-branded sport loops and bands designed to mimic them can usually be swapped together as long as you make sure to have the right pairing for the band to connect.
Why Are Apple Watch Bands So Expensive?
Apple-branded bands can get rather expensive.
With some collection-edition bands reaching upwards of $600 and sometimes more.
Some of these prices are based on quality, material, and design.
Others are made purely for aesthetic purposes.
Many of these bands are often imitated by other brands. You can often find a very similar design at a much lower price.
The most popular example is the Milanese Loop.
Third-party makers often sell Milanese-style bands for $20-30, while Apple retails theirs at $150 or higher.
Make no mistake, there is a large difference in quality.
Are Third-Party Apple Watch Bands Any Good?
Non-Apple branded Apple Watch accessories like watch bands, chargers, protective cases, and glass coverings are widely available. Most of these are solid products.
Even the inexpensive options are in the $10-20 range.
They aren’t quite as good as the Apple-made ones or more expensive options, but they aren’t bad either.
You may even be surprised to see custom bands designed to look-like high-quality jewelry.
With the price these accessories often sell at, there’s little to no risk to trying them out.
You might find it refreshing to have a few different bands to change with the occasion.
How Do I Take My Apple Watch Band Off?
Apple has created a rather sturdy, unique, and easy-to-use band attachment method.
Underneath the band on the edge near the Watch’s underside, you’ll find the band release button. Push it in.
Slide the band out of place to remove it. Now you can slide in your new band to replace it. That’s all it takes.
Remember, you will not need to force the band into position.
If it doesn’t move smoothly, you may be pushing it too hard or in the wrong way.
Take a second look and make sure the right side is facing up.