Skip to main content

How to swap Pixel Watch bands

How to swap Pixel Watch bands


The proprietary band mechanism is over-engineered but easy to use once you get the hang of it

Share this story

If you buy something from a Verge link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Pixel Watch on a colorful background of smartwatch illustrations
The Pixel Watch’s bands are easy to swap once you get the hang of it.
Illustration by Samar Haddad / The Verge

The Google Pixel Watch is a nice lookin’ smartwatch that borrows a lot of design cues from the Apple Watch. That includes its proprietary strap mount, where you can slide bands in and out to suit your personal aesthetic. According to Google, it’s meant to mimic the way a camera lens snaps into place. The reality is that it’s over-engineered and not intuitive at a glance.

This isn’t a huge issue if you plan on sticking with the band it came with. But if you want to regularly change up the look, you’ve got to master the strap mechanism. The good news is that once you master it, it’s actually quite simple to swap bands. So simple you might feel a little silly afterward for struggling. (Though, if you do struggle, you’re in good company. Several Google employees and tech reviewers had trouble swapping the straps at the Pixel Watch launch event.)

The key lies with the Pixel Watch’s release button. Unlike other smartwatches, it’s not located on the bottom of the smartwatch case. Instead, it’s to the right side of the strap. It’s a clever design, but you might miss it completely if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

Side view of the Pixel watch
You can see the band release button in this picture. It’ll always be on the the right side of the strap.
Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

To remove a strap:

  • Press down the release button with one finger.
  • While pressing down, slide the strap to the right until it covers the button.
  • You can now remove the strap.

The trickier part is getting the strap back on. It might be tempting to try to just snap it back into place — but don’t. If you look closely, you can see grooves that need to line up accordingly.

Instead, to put on a strap:

  • Line up the edge of the strap directly over the release button
  • Press down and slide left until you hear a click
Close up of Pixel Watch’s band mechanism
You can see the grooves. The easiest way to attach a new strap is to align the strap over the release button, press down, and slide the strap back into place.
Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

How to use standard straps

Unfortunately, the Pixel Watch didn’t launch with any third-party accessories. That means you’re mostly stuck with Google’s bands until third parties can catch up. But if you really want to use existing 20mm standard straps, you’re not totally out of luck.

You’ll have to buy Google’s $79.99 Crafted Leather Bands, which have a faux lug. You can then use a strap pin tool to pop out the default strap and fit one of yours instead. (Our very own Dan Seifert did it with one of his straps.) This is more of a workaround than an official method, however, and costs a pretty penny. Thankfully, we’ve started to see the first third-party adaptors hit the market. This one, for example, is a mere $20.

Now that you know how to swap bands like a pro, we encourage you to get creative. After all, wearables are personal tech that allow you to express your style — and the Pixel Watch is sort of like a chameleon. Its entire vibe can dramatically shift depending on the band you use. We’ll have to see whether Google keeps this mechanism on future Pixel Watches, but for now, you might as well have fun.