watchOS 9: Features, Watch Faces, compatibility, release date
Seven 'watchOS 9' stories
August 2021 - May 2022
watchOS 9 is Apple Watch’s upcoming operating system. The Apple Watch software is likely to focus on health and well being-features, as it did with watchOS 8. Here’s everything we know so far about Apple’s future watchOS update.
Table of contents
New features in watchOS 9
As of now, we still don’t know much about watchOS 9, except that its codename is Kincaid. As always, expect Apple Watch’s upcoming operating system to focus on health and well being-features.
Since Apple Watch Series 7 introduced a larger screen, Apple could better optimize a few apps and Watch Faces with watchOS 9. As it usually does, the company is likely to bring more faces and complications for users with the upcoming operating system.
Revamped Watch Faces
It seems like watchOS 9 will finally revamp Apple’s existing Watch Faces. According to a report by Bloomberg, Apple wants to dramatically upgrade the experience. Mark Gurman says Apple aims to “refresh many” of its faces, as Apple hasn’t kept up with the design of the Apple Watch hardware itself. Many of them lack modern complication styles or do not fully take advantage of the larger screen found in newer Apple Watches.
New lower power mode
Bloomberg also reports that a new low power mode for watchOS 9 would allow customers to run a suite of apps and features without using as much battery life.
New workouts and health upgrades
Last but not least, Mark Gurman believes watchOS 9 will gain new workout types, track additional metrics during a workout, and expand on the system sleep tracking functionality.
The report suggests that new women’s health features are expected, as well as a better report about atrial fibrillation. Bloomberg writes that watchOS 9 may bring the long-awaited debut of the pill medication reminders app.
Although we personally don’t think Apple should, it’s likely that all Apple Watches running watchOS 8 will support watchOS 9, which includes the 2017 Apple Watch Series 3. But even if the company supports all of these Watches, don’t expect Series 3 to get all new features.
Here are the models likely to receive the future update:
- Apple Watch Series 3 (2017)
- Apple Watch Series 4 (2018)
- Apple Watch Series 5 (2019)
- Apple Watch SE (2020)
- Apple Watch Series 6 (2020)
- Apple Watch Series 7 (2021)
Apple is also expected to unveil three new Apple Watches in 2022.
Release date: When will watchOS 9 come out?
watchOS 9 will likely be announced on June 6, during WWDC 2022’s keynote. The event will be online, although some students and developers will be able to attend the keynote in person at Apple Park.
Following the announcement, Apple will test the operating system for a few months until it’s released for all users around September, as the company has done over the past years.
watchOS 9 feature request
For watchOS 9, 9to5Mac’s Parker Ortolani has a few ideas about what Apple should add in this future update, such as new Watch Faces, a revamped Home Screen, and widgets. Parker explains why:
There are many watch apps that are just terrible. Only a small bunch are genuinely useful and well-designed. I can name only a few off the top of my head: Carrot, Watchsmith, Chirp, PCalc, Deliveries, and Lumy. I can name dozens if not hundreds of iPhone and iPad apps that are great off the top of my head. Widgets might be a way to convince developers to add functionality to the watch in a simpler, more convenient way. If you have a small widget on the iPhone, iPad, and the Mac, you’ve already, in theory, done most of the work.
If you think about what the apps that have disappeared could do with a widget on the watch, there are plenty of opportunities. Feedly could show top stories. Instagram could show photos. Target could show your rewards. Evernote could let you dictate a quick note. Slack could show you recent messages. There are lots of different things that could be done.