The Apple Watch has been one of the top Apple products to receive multiple LGBTQ+-inspired accessories and watch faces throughout the years. Here’s a look at different pride-inspired styles Apple has released for the watch.
Apple has always been a company that supports the LGBTQ+ community and organizations through donations and accessories connected to the diverse group.
One of Apple’s most significant connections to the community is that its CEO is openly gay. In 2014, Tim Cook wrote in an open letter that “(being gay has) given me the skin of a rhinoceros, which comes in handy when you’re the CEO of Apple.”
During the middle of May to early June, Apple always announces Pride-inspired watch bands and watch faces to represent the diverse and inclusive people thriving in the LGBTQ+ community. Here is how Apple has delivered these designs throughout the years.
2016 – Pre-release
Before Apple started selling Pride-edition Apple Watch bands to the public, they exclusively distributed Pride bands to employees who participated in San Fransisco’s pride parade.
Apple detailed the bands as a “symbol of (their) commitment to equality.”
2017 – Starting the trend
Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple rows coated the watch band and exemplified the colors of LGBTQ+ pride from end to end. The watch band was made of woven nylon and connected through a silver metal buckle.
While future watch bands come with accompanying watch faces, this Apple Watch Pride-edition band did not.
2018 – Continuing the trend
2018 saw the continuing trend of Apple releasing season Pride-inspired accessories, and this year, a matching watch face was included with the release.
The watch band introduced had a white background that was accompanied by red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple lines layered on top. The colored rows were thin but complimented the white background of the band beautifully.
Like the previous edition, this version was made from woven nylon and had a metal buckle attachment to secure the watch band around your wrist.
The accompanying watch face utilized the same colors and spacing as the watch band, but the background the colors positioned on top of was black instead of white. The colored rows sat in the center of the display, and they measured up symmetrically to the colored rows on the matching watch band.
When tapping the screen, the rows would wave and separate into individual strands. You could drag your finger across the screen and see the waving effect impact each row.
Apple took each purchase of the Apple Watch Pride-edition watch band and donated a percentage of it to an LGBTQ+ advocacy group this year and last year. These groups were Gender Spectrum, GLSEN, ILGA, PFLAG, The National Center for Transgender Equality, and The Trevor Project.
2019 – Expanding variations
At WWDC 2019, Apple unveiled the next generation of Pride watch bands, which ditched the woven nylon material and became part of the Apple Sport Loop line.
A white background no longer separated the rainbow colors, but the colors were now pushed together to nearly resemble the first generation of the watch band. In addition, there was no longer a metal buckle to secure the band, but now, a velcro seal brought the two ends together.
Like the watch band, the new Pride Digital watch face squished the rainbow rows together and had the colors fill the whole screen end-to-end. Tapping on the screen would still have the rows dance and wave while individual strands of each color would reveal themselves.
Unlike previous years where only one variation of the Pride watch face was released, there were several variations to choose from this year.
The Pride Analog rectangle option took all the rainbow colors and expanded them around the screen to give an expanding effect to the face. An hour-hand and a minute-hand rested comfortably in the middle of the display while the second hand traced the border quickly.
The Pride Analog circle option is the most helpful because it allows you to add up to four complications in each display corner. Tapping on a complication will launch you right into their respective app.
The design for the circle option is very similar to the rectangle option in that the rainbow colors expand from the center of the screen outwards.
Regardless of your choice, both designs bounce when tapping on the screen.
Like in previous years, Apple donated a percentage of the purchase to an LGBTQ+ advocacy group, but they added Encircle to that list this year.
2020 – New glossier design
In 2020, Apple decided to release the most significant Apple Watch Pride collect update thus far. With both groups of accessories, Apple released two types of watch bands and redesigned the partnered watch faces.
Both watch bands departed from the Apple Sports Loop line and joined the Sports Band line. Both were now made with fluoroelastomer material.
The first band Apple released kept a similar design to the previous version by expanding the colors across the whole band’s layout, but this year, the colors were altered slightly to give them a glossier and more pastille feeling.
Apple detailed that the band was assembled by hand from individual strips of colored fluoroelastomer. This resulted in subtle variations that made the wavy design unique to each band.
The second band — part of the Nike Sport Band line — provided a white foundation, with each hole sporting a different rainbow color. Purchasing the Nike Pride Sport Band also gave you access to the exclusive Nike Pride watch face, which replaced each number with one of the rainbow colors and added the Nike logo in the middle above the watch hands.
Like the watch band, Apple released several new faces to complement the bands that go with them. These designs transformed the previous versions and gave them a glossier look too.
With the circular Pride Digital and rectangular Pride Analog watch face options, they held the same layout as the previous year but ditched the yarn-like look and opted for the flatter, cleaner look instead.
The circular Pride Analog option allowed four complications to be added, and tapping on the screen made the colors wave.
Apple also expanded the LGBTQ+ organizations they donate to by partnering with ILGA World internationally.
2021 – Expanding the colors
With the introduction of the Apple Watch Series 6, Apple introduced a new category for the watch bands, which is known as the Solo Loop. This design allowed for no connection to be needed and stretched out to fit seamlessly around the wearer’s wrist.
In 2021, the Apple Watch Pride collection joined this category of watch bands by introducing a braided version that weaved together the different colors of diversity and inclusivity within the LGBTQ+ group.
“The Pride Edition Braided Solo Loop artfully weaves together the original rainbow colors with those drawn from various Pride flags to represent the breadth of diversity among LGBTQ+ experiences and the history of the movement,” said Apple in a press release from May 2021.
Black and brown colors were added to the band to represent the movement’s combined strength and mutual support, while also symbolizing Black and LatinX communities and people who have passed away or have HIV/AIDS. Light blue, pink, and white represented the individuals that identify as transgender and nonbinary.
Following the rollout of the previous year, Apple also released a Pride Edition Nike Sport Loop band. It can be compared to the 2019 Pride watch band, which brought the accessory together with a velcro connection.
The yarn used for this watch band showcased the six original Pride colors set in front of a white base.
The Pride Woven watch face took the original design and added a wavy effect to give the face depth and motion. Turning the digital crown would unravel the colors and then ravel them again while still being turned. If you enabled Always On Display, the colors would turn into thin lines until you woke up your watch, making the lines whole again.
There was also a circular option for the Pride Woven watch face, which, like previous versions, allowed one complication to be added to each display corner. Just like with the full-screen version of the watch face, the colors would become thin when the screen was off and expand when awakened, and turning the digital crown would unravel the colors and then ravel them again.
The Nike Pride watch face was the same one released the previous year, and the colors no longer danced when tapping them with the Pride Woven watch face.
Apple expanded the LGBTQ+ organizations they donated to by partnering with Equality North Carolina, Equality Texas, Human Rights Campaign, and SMYAL.
2022 – Bringing back an iconic design
Apple kept innovating and updating their Pride watch band’s design, and in 2022, Apple introduced one of their most unique layouts yet.
Utilizing the Sports Loop design, Apple used a new technique that removed several double-layer nylon-woven textile loops on the band, and after doing so, it revealed the word “Pride.” This technique would give the word a three-dimensional look and feel.
The word was written in the same cursive font as the iconic “hello” greeting that was displayed on the Macintosh in 1984. It was also set in front of a subtle brushed rainbow-colored layout that utilized the same colors as the previous generation but brought back the design of rows instead of the woven one.
The Pride Edition Nike Sport Loop offered the same design as the Pride Edition Sport Loop, but offered a dark-mode type aesthetic instead with no “Pride” text incorporated into it.
Apple also introduced a new Pride watch face to accompany the Sport Loop, but unlike the previous version that layered the time on top of the design, this year’s watch face intertwined the time into the design itself.
Matching with the colors of each rainbow-colored string, the time floated seamlessly around behind the shades. Tapping the screen would move the lines and also make the numbers bounce. The backdrop also turns black when the watch was asleep and white when it was active.
The Nike Pride watch face offers a gradient rainbow background with big black numbers to tell the time with the Nike logo underneath them.
2023 – It’s a celebration
This year, Apple decided to ditch the usual rainbow rows and lines and opted for a new design that showcased the colors differently but still uniquely.
The Apple Watch Pride Sports Band offers a sprinkle-like design that showcases each color of the LGBTQ+ community. The unique part about these bands is that they are configured through a forming process that allows the base material to flow around each shape.
This results in slight variations being crafted in each band’s layout — making neither two precisely alike. Apple says that this individuality between each band represents the individuality of each member of the LGBTQ+ community.
The accompanying Pride Celebration watch face also showcases the sprinkle-like design crafted with different representative colors. When you wake up your watch, the colors will circle the edges of the display in front of a white background, and when you lower your wrist, the colors will freeze, and the background will turn black.
Two other Pride Celebration watch face variations are available — Hour Marks and Numerals. Hour Marks replace the numbers and put the colored sprinkles in their places, and Numerals sports the same colors as the colored sprinkles, but the numbers return. Both allow for a complication to be assigned within each display corner.
Unlike previous years, no Nike Pride edition band was released, but a dedicated Pride iPhone wallpaper was issued for the first time. The wallpaper offers the same design as the Pride Celebration watch face but aligns the sprinkles into a wave-like design that will move when locking and unlocking your device.
Keeping the colors flowing
With the seasonal releases and continuous expansion of the Pride collection for the Apple Watch, Apple repeatedly showcases its values through its creative ways of promoting the diversity and inclusivity of the LGBTQ+ community, while also donating to accompanying charity groups.
While not every Pride-edition watch band is still available for purchase, every Pride-edition watch face is available for download from the Face Gallery in the Watch app on your iPhone.