In a previous post we touched on 50 of the new changes and features found in watchOS 5. Many of the changes were subtle updates and enhancements, but a few of them stood out above all the rest. Watch this hands-on video as I talk about five of my favorite watchOS 5 features.

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Manually connecting to Wi-Fi networks

With watchOS 5 the Apple Watch continues its march towards iPhone independence. One positive step in that direction is being able to manually connect to Wi-Fi networks without relying on the iPhone, and watchOS 5 makes it possible.

Video walkthrough

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Access Control Center and Notification Center from apps

Prior to watchOS 5 you could only invoke Control Center and Notification Center while on the watch face. With watchOS 5, you can access both features while in other apps. To do so, simply tap and hold near the top or bottom of the screen, and swipe.

Podcast app

Apple’s first-party podcast app makes its debut appearance in watchOS 5, allowing users to play their favorite podcasts directly from the Apple Watch or from a paired iPhone.

The Podcasts app is fueled by the iOS version of the app, with all of your subscriptions automatically appearing in the watchOS version. Users will even be able to use Siri to request and subscribe to any podcast found in the Apple Podcasts library.

Activity Competitions

They say that competition breeds excellence, and the new watchOS 5 Activity Competitions help Apple Watch continue to build on its status as a bonafide fitness companion. Activity Competitions allow you and friends to engage in 7-day events where you score points based on your activity. During the competition period, you’ll receive status updates that tell you how you’re doing compared to your friends. The winner of the competition will even receive a special victory award.

Viewing web content

In older versions of watchOS, the Apple Watch would ask you to use your paired iPhone to view such web content found in emails or messages. watchOS 5 brings more independence to the watch by being able to display that web content directly on your wrist.

Conclusion

watchOS 5 is packed with well over 50 new features and changes, but these are five of the features that I’m personally most fond of. In this update you’ll find a plethora of new positive changes to the Workout app, along with many other refinements and adjustments to various watch faces, UI elements, and other areas. The Apple Watch’s progression has been a very drawn-out and deliberate process, but complete iPhone independence is inevitable; watchOS 5 is the latest step in that direction.

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