Being able to use custom, third-party faces on your Apple Watch is tempting, but there are some solid reasons to avoid apps that offer them.
For context, we’re talking specifically about non-App Store apps like JingWatch. Currently, there aren’t any officially approved apps on the App Store that let users swap out official Apple Watch faces for ones created by third-party developers.
JingWatch, essentially, is an app that lets users install custom “watch faces” on their Apple Watch. While there are some free watch faces available on the app, most of them cost money and are purchasable via PayPal.
But, as we mentioned, JingWatch is not Apple-approved. And despite its developers saying that it’s a safe and privacy-respecting platform, there can be no guarantees. It’s particularly tricky because JingWatch and other apps like it haven’t been vetted by Apple’s strict App Store review process.
Users are able to download JingWatch because it explicitly circumvents the App Store review process.
JingWatch is side-loaded onto user devices by way of an Enterprise Developer Certificate.
While the Enterprise Developer Certificate used by JingWatch appears to be legitimate, the fact that the developers are using it to bypass the App Store is a clear violation of Apple’s enterprise and developer guidelines.
These developer certificates are issued specifically so companies and other entities can push internal apps to employees — not so the entity can get around the App Store review process and get their app installed on user devices. Just look at similar apps put forth by Facebook and Google.
Because Apple hasn’t reviewed JingWatch, you can’t be certain that the app isn’t spying on your personal information. In fact, some App Store apps have been found to do their own clandestine spying — using a non-approved app is even riskier.
Also, the watch faces in JingWatch don’t actually replace the official watch faces on your Apple Watch. Instead, it’s just an app running in the background. Because of that, your battery life is probably going to take a hit — and you won’t even get the full functionality of Apple-approved faces.
More than that, you probably shouldn’t get used to JingWatch if you decide to use it (or are already using it). Apple is extremely likely to crack down and revoke the developer’s enterprise certificate once it is made aware of the side-loading abuse.