watchOS 5 for Apple Watch Overview Updated July 22, 2019

watchOS 5 for Apple Watch

Release Date, Features, News, Rumors, and more

See All Stories

50 'watchOS 5' stories

January 2018 - July 2019


watchOS 5 is an operation system for Apple Watch. It was released on September 17th, 2018. It runs on all Apple Watches except the Series 0 watches. It’s a free update for users who are running watchOS 4.

New Features

Version 5 included a number of new features for compatible Apple Watches.

Activity Competitions

Apple is upgrading Activity Sharing with a new motivational feature: Competition. Apple Watch users can challenge friends to one-on-one competitions.

This social component is especially useful if you’re looking for a new push to increase your physical activity or jumpstart a new workout routine. Competitions run for seven days each and the winner walks away with a virtual medal that proves you bested your opponent.

No group competitions this year, but you can run multiple competitions with different friends if you’re super competitive.

Automatic Workout Detection

watchOS 5 addresses a common complaint about Apple Watch: you need to start and stop workouts if you want the most accurate credit for your activity. That’s because Apple Watch uses different formulas to calculate workout metrics based on what you tell it you’re doing, but watchOS 5 improves this experience.

Workout detection isn’t totally automatic now — the best practice is still to start and stop workout tracking through an app or with Siri — you will now be will nudged you if it thinks you’ve started or ended your workout without starting or stopping a session in an app.

Workout detection supports starting five exercises:

  • running
  • walking
  • swimming
  • elliptical workouts
  • rower workouts

watchOS 5 enables the ‘Start Workout Reminder’ by default and credits you retroactively if you start a workout from the alert, but it’s not a replacement for manually starting workouts — just an intelligent reminder if you forget.

Apple Podcasts on watchOS 5

If you use the Podcasts app on iPhone, the Podcasts app on watchOS 5 will automatically appear and sync. Shows that you subscribe to on iPhone just show up on Apple Watch when new episodes are made available. No need to manage a separate set of subscriptions. Optionally, you can manually select which shows appear on Apple Watch, but it’s not required or default.

The layout of the Podcasts app is similar to the Music app layout. Cover art for updated episodes scrolls vertically. Just tap an episode to start playback. If you want to browse further, you can scroll to the top (tap the time as a shortcut) and find Library. This lets you browse alphabetically by subscribed show, tap a show to specific episodes, or tap Episodes at the top to see all available unplayed episodes.

Alternatively, you can remotely control podcast playback on the iPhone from the Apple Watch. Just tap ‘On iPhone’ from the main view on Apple Watch, then select from Listen Now, Shows, Episodes, or Stations. That’s a handy new convenience, but the real fun is in playing podcasts directly from Apple Watch without the iPhone.

Episodes download for offline playback when available, and brand new episodes show up with a cloud icon and can be streamed over Wi-Fi or LTE. Like music playback, you need Bluetooth audio (like AirPods) to hear your entertainment.

Siri works with Podcasts on Apple Watch too. Use Siri to start playing an episode from your subscriptions, request a show in the Apple Podcast Directory without being subscribed, or subscribe to a currently playing podcast not in your library.

With the new Podcasts app on watchOS 5, the Apple Watch finally becomes a standalone podcast player — just like iPods of the old days, only with Siri, iPhone sync, and LTE in the mix.

We also saw other updates as well:

  • Advanced Running Features
  • Walkie-Talkie
  • Smarter Siri
  • Improved Notifications
  • Student ID Cards

Popular Articles

watchOS 5 Stories July 22

Last week, Apple revealed that it had disabled the Walkie-Talkie feature on Apple Watch due to an exploit that could have allowed someone to secretly eavesdrop. With the release of watchOS 5.3 and iOS 12.4 today, Apple has restored Walkie-Talkie functionality for Apple Watch.

expand full story

watchOS 5 Stories May 12

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how I had purchased an Apple Watch Series 4. One of the key reasons I purchased it was for GPS tracking while running. I’ve been listening to podcasts while working out for a good decade even when people thought I was crazy. For me, the Apple Watch with AirPods or Powerbeats Pro is the dream device for running. With watchOS 5, we finally got a built-in Apple Podcast app and support for third-party apps to sync files over to Apple Watch. Since I am such a fanatic about podcasts, I try almost every iPhone podcast app that comes around. For the Apple Watch, there aren’t as many podcast apps that support watch only playback, but I still wanted to give a round-up of the best ones. expand full story

Sylvania HomeKit Light Strip

watchOS 5 Stories April 28

I’ve had a long road with the Apple Watch. I bought the original one on release day, but sold it within a few months due to the slowness of watchOS 1. I purchased a Series 2 when it was released, but I ended up returning it a few weeks later. When the Series 3 Apple Watch was released, I ended up buying one to write a review, but returned it before the return period was up (it was around Christmas so I had a longer return period). In the entire time the Apple Watch has existed, I’ve probably owned it a total of six months. A month ago, I picked up another one. This time, I have a Series 4 Apple Watch with LTE. I know I am late to the Apple Watch party, but I do have some thoughts that I think are interesting based on my past history, and my thoughts on Apple’s health plans with Apple Watch. I’ve been around the watchOS scene from day one, but I’ve definitely come and gone for periods of time.

expand full story

watchOS 5 Stories January 24

Update: Developer betas are now available including iOS 12.2, watchOS 5.2, tvOS 12.2, macOS 10.14.4, and Xcode 10.2 beta 1.

Now that Apple’s bug fix beta updates to iOS 12.1 are now available to all users, it’s time for the next big point release of iOS 12. Apple will release iOS 12.2 developer beta 1 today. watchOS 5.2 beta 1 for developers is also arriving today. The software update should be available at the top of the hour. We’ll update and report back any changes that we discover inside.

expand full story

watchOS 5 Stories October 6, 2018

The Apple Watch Series 4 (read Zac’s full review) is the biggest upgrade to the Apple Watch since the product launched back in the spring of 2015. New features include an all new design, stainless steel gold color, faster internals, brand new watch faces, and more. Watch our hands-on unboxing and overview, as we discuss the top Apple Watch Series 4 features. expand full story

watchOS 5 Stories September 27, 2018

[Update: watchOS 5.0.1 is now available.]

A little over a week after releasing watchOS 5 to the public, today Apple is going to be releasing its first minor update: watchOS 5.0.1. This is a small update that aims at fixing some issues with the original release, including a bug that caused an incorrect increase in exercise minutes for some users.

expand full story

Powered by WordPress.com VIP