Everything You Need to Know About Apple’s watchOS

WatchOS 5 serves up new tricks for your wrist

Much like your laptop and telephone, the Apple Watch has its personal running gadget — watchOS — that it makes use of to make calls, obtain textual content messages, and run apps.

Since the launch of Apple Watch in 2015, the tool has long gone through several iterations of watchOS, the maximum current being watchOS five, introduced in mid-2018. Here’s a rundown on every of the watchOS versions in reverse chronological order with the features every model added to the Apple Watch experience.

Note: Every watchOS update through watchOS 4 is well suited with all Apple Watches, from the unique Apple Watch thru Apple Watch Series three, which is the trendy model. That modifications with watchOS 5, which is not supported on the unique Apple Watch.

watchOS 5

Many of the updates in WatchOS five focus on staying lively and new connection features. Specific enhancements with this update consist of:

  • A Competitions characteristic
  • Yoga and hiking exercises
  • Updates to Outdoor Run
  • Walkie-Talkie option
  • A more predictive, proactive Siri
  • Improved notifications
  • Apple Podcasts
  • Student ID cards

More Details

The famous Activity app now has a Competitions characteristic you can use to mission your activity-sharing friends. Choose an interest, and as the week is going by means of, screen your development and your buddy’s development stay at the Apple Watch.

The OS also introduces a brand new yoga exercise and a trekking exercising that takes elevation into consideration. Runners will like the additions to the Outdoor Run, which include pace alert, cadence, and rolling mile stats. If you neglect to set a begin on an pastime, don’t worry; Apple Watch now has automated Start and End alerts for workout routines.

Previous WatchOS versions introduced e mail, text messages, and call calls (on mobile-equipped watches). WatchOS 5 is going one step in addition with its new Walkie-Talkie app. It establishes a one-to-one connection between Apple Watches. Just push the Walkie-Talkie button and talk. The individual at the other quit hears your voice and replies with a push on their Walkie-Talkie button.

The Siri watch face saw some upgrades as properly. You can opt to acquire live sports ratings on your watch or activate the new Shortcuts capabilities which are part of iOS 12.

If you’re bored with elevating your watch in your mouth and saying “Hey, Siri” to launch the function, you will be happy to hear you not have to mention it. The watch acknowledges what you want whilst you improve the watch and automatically launches Siri.

At closing, the Apple Watch can show internet content material. Previously, you could see an e mail or message had a hyperlink, but you could not get right of entry to it. With watchOS five, whilst you obtain a link in a message or email, you can view a model of the content material this is formatted for the small display.

If you’ve been jonesing on your preferred podcasts, you’ll admire the brand new Podcast app in watchOS 5. You’ll in the end be capable of pay attention to podcasts streaming immediately from your watch as you participate in sports including runs, gymnasium periods, or motorbike rides.

watchOS 4

WatchOS 4 comes packed with new watch faces, along with a new Siri watch face that shows information consisting of how long it’s going to take you to get to your home or work out of your contemporary vicinity. Other new faces include a kaleidoscope face, and new Toy Story faces for Buzz, Jesse, and Woody.

If you have got HomeKit-connected gadgets, you can installation the watch to do such things as show the power switch in your lighting at night time, so you don’t ought to get off the bed to show them off.

The health and exercising apps also received an upgrade with watchOS four. The Activity app now offers personal monthly challenges and alerts to notify you while you’re near assembly your aim for the day or beating the previous day’s numbers. The Workout app makes it easier to start a workout and has advanced swimming competencies.

WatchOS 4 adds a flashlight app to the control middle that you could use as, nicely, a flashlight, or set to blinking mode whilst you’re going for walks or cycling at night time. Apple Pay receives an improve with this model, allowing you to ship cash to pals the usage of Apple Pay proper from your wrist. Music gets an upgrade with personalised pointers for tunes primarily based on what you commonly pay attention to.

While it’s nevertheless there, the honeycomb-stimulated app picker can be switched out for an alphabetical listing, which makes it greater logical (and possibly quicker) to locate your established apps.

watchOS 3

With watchOS three, Apple allows a number of the apps you often use to live within the watch’s reminiscence. As a result, they release faster and do not necessarily need to have a strong connection in your smartphone to feature. For energy customers of the Apple Watch, this replace turned into huge. It made it feasible to run a few apps, like the ones for walking, entirely without your smartphone present. For runners who wanted to depart their smartphone at home, this was a welcome update.

A new dock introduced in watchOS three allowed you to select a number of the apps you used most customarily and provide your self clean get admission to to those. The button at the side of the Apple Watch commenced to work as an app switcher, in preference to just a manner to carry up the list of people you designated as buddies. This exchange made the usage of apps at the tool an awful lot faster and simpler.

Speaking of switching, the update introduced the potential to fast switch between different Apple Watch faces through swiping throughout the display. This new feature made switching watch faces a more reasonable issue to do numerous instances for the duration of the week or day.

watchOS 2

One of the standout features of watchOS 2 turned into its addition of native third-party apps. Everything out of your favorite fitness app to Facebook can run for your watch and take gain of some of the Apple Watch’s built-in hardware to create a better consumer enjoy. Previously you were restrained to the use of best Apple’s native apps, however watchOS 2 opened the door for developers to begin developing apps for the watch.

And open the door it did. After the launch of this model of the running gadget, hundreds of apps started out to pop up for the whole lot from navigation to shopping. Fitness apps noticed a in particular massive quantity of traction with the replace, permitting you do loads extra on the fitness front than you could previously with the device.

Beyond app, watchOS 2 brought a number of different features that during a manner transform the Apple Watch into a whole new tool. Here are a number of the new functions that made the software program update well worth it:

  • Activation Lock: No one wants to have their Apple Watch stolen. The original version of the Apple Watch software made it so thieves may want to wipe your Watch with out understanding your passcode and move on to sell it with nobody being the wiser. With watchOS 2, Apple brought an elective Activation Lock that allows you to tie your Apple Watch on your iCloud ID. Once it’s far connected, a person needs your username and password to wipe the device, some thing your common street thief won’t have. It’s a layer of more security that can upload peace of mind need to your tool move missing.
  • New Watch Faces: watchOS 2 got here with more than a few of new watch faces, which turned into a lot-needed on the time. New additions protected cool time-lapsed skylines from locations round the arena and the capacity to apply certainly one of your favorite photographs (or albums) as your watch face.
  • Time Travel: Admit it: time travel is cool. While your Apple Watch won’t physically take you ahead or backward in time, the time travel characteristic targets to present you a short observe what’s formerly happened or what’s on faucet in a number of your apps. For things like your calendar or the weather, being capable of scroll forward a few hours or a few days, can make matters lots easier. This feature made it so that you should quick see if you had a meeting coming up nowadays and make plans for the destiny.
  • Transit Directions: Anyone who lives in or has visited a main city is aware of how important mass transit guidelines can be. While a current update to macOS delivered mass transit directions, watchOS 2.0 introduced the ones guidelines on your wrist as well. The Maps app is able to not only tell you what bus or teach to take, however also deliver you turn-by means of-turn instructions to the station or forestall, so you’ll be able to get wherein you’re going without strolling into any snags within the method. Google Maps released for the Apple Watch around the identical time, however it changed into high-quality to have both alternatives to be had, in particular whilst visiting. Delivering guidelines is one of the Apple Watch’s killer features, permitting you to preserve your phone in your pocket and navigate via unusual regions.
  • Siri Gets Serious: Siri sees a chunk of an upgrade with watchOS 2. Siri is now able to have interaction with your Glances and some Watch apps like Maps, making her even extra beneficial. Try asking Siri to give you directions to dinner or to start your morning exercise.


WatchOS was the first version of Apple’s running machine for the Apple Watch. Looking at what is available nowadays, the first version of the Apple Watch’s OS was naked bones. At release, it wasn’t capable of run non-Apple apps and relied totally on apps that Apple constructed for the tool.

With the first model of the operating device, you had some watch face alternatives and will text friends and place calls out of your wrist, assuming your iPhone turned into close by. The device supplied a drawing and heartbeat mode, so that you should ship buddies custom-drawings or a loved one your heartbeat all through the day.

At launch, the watch used Apple Maps, which become much less useful than Google’s option on the time. The health capabilities inside the first model of the Apple Watch’s operating system have been exceedingly useful however and offered an clean way to depend calories at some point of the day and track your steps and how lengthy you spent sitting, with mild reminders to rise up and circulate throughout the day.

At the time, the watch’s health capabilities were particular. While there have been gadgets inclusive of the FitBit available on the market that tracked your motion at some stage in the day, that movement become usually represented in steps, no longer damaged down by the quantity of time you spend exercise versus the amount of time you spent slowly shuffling thru your neighborhood.

Future Versions of watchOS

Apple tends to announce the newest model of the Apple Watch’s running device at its Worldwide Developer Conference, an annual occasion that historically occurs every June. The announcement of the new version of the operating device, along side a number of its functions, is typically finished on the conference, while the real software would not roll out to customers till the autumn. The delay offers developers time to tweak their apps and carrier so they may work with the replace the day it launches. Many developers have get right of entry to to the update months earlier than the majority.