watchOS Overview Updated September 20, 2021

watchOS

Simple, minimalistic, small: The platform for the best smartwatch on the market

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182 'watchOS' stories

June 2015 - September 2021


watchOS only runs on the Apple Watch and launched alongside the product back in 2015. It has seen several major revisions since its launch, such as axing glances, the friends UI, and more.

The original version of the software was very slow and relied on your iPhone for its apps. Everything presumably ran over Bluetooth, and would be unable to open any apps if your connected iPhone was out of range.

Apple quickly moved away from interaction model and pushed native applications as of watchOS 2.0, where the majority of the app’s interface and information were installed on your Apple Watch, instead of your iPhone.

watchOS 3.0 added support for background app refresh, which allowed apps to run in the background, but also enabled complications to be updated without needing to completely launch an app.

With watchOS 4.0, and the Apple Watch Series 3 with LTE, Apple took this interaction model a step further. The company introduced APIs to allow applications to run completely independently of the iPhone. This meant that users were allowed to stream Apple Music, get the latest News, or take a phone call without being in the range of your iPhone. However, an iPhone is still required to setup and manage your Apple Watch.

Learn more about watchOS by reading the articles below:

watchOS Stories September 20

The next major version of Apple Watch software lands today with the release of watchOS 8. Now users can choose to share health information with family members and doctors, take a moment to pause with the new Mindfulness app, and turn Portrait mode photos into watch faces.

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watchOS Stories September 14

watchOS 8 for Apple Watch officially launching on September 20

Apple Watch Series 7 may not have a release date yet, but watchOS 8 is coming next week. The new software update for Apple Watch Series 3 and later will drop on Monday.

watchOS Stories June 7

Apple Watch Series 3 support continues for another year with watchOS 8

Apple Watch Series 3 is having a hard time updating to new versions of watchOS 7, but there’s good news for customers using the hardware first introduced in 2017. watchOS 8 will run on all Apple Watch models that support watchOS 7.

Apple is previewing watchOS 8 for Apple Watch at WWDC 2021. Here’s what’s new:

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watchOS Stories June 2

Apple Watch Series 3 is taking a lot of heat ahead of WWDC. The thing barely accepts watchOS 7 updates, doesn’t work with Family Setup, and makes the much better Apple Watch SE seem overpriced. My pet complaint about the Apple Watch affects modern models too, however, and it was something Apple Watch Series 3 introduced.

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watchOS Stories May 10

Apple today released the third beta of watchOS 7.5 to developers, following the release of the second beta version on April 30. The update likely comes with more bug fixes and general improvements.

Update: Apple also released watchOS 7.5 beta 3 to public beta users as well.

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watchOS Stories May 6

watchOS 8 will be shown off for Apple Watch in just one month, and we’re hoping for a feature-packed update this year. While there’s still time to dream about what could come in the next Apple Watch software update, we’re sharing four short feature requests that would be welcome in watchOS 8 or any future version of the Apple Watch software.

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watchOS Stories May 3

Following the release of the iOS 14.5.1 update to the public, Apple has just released watchOS 7.4.1 for Apple Watch users. The company doesn’t say exactly what has changed with today’s update beyond mentioning that this version brings security improvements.

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watchOS Stories April 30

Apple surprisingly released the second beta of watchOS 7.5 to developers on Friday, just a week after releasing the first beta versions of iOS 14.6, watchOS 7.5, and more. The update likely comes with bug fixes and general improvements.

Update: watchOS 7.5 beta 2 is now available to public beta users as well.

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watchOS Stories April 26

The release version of the watchOS 7.4 software update for Apple Watch is now available. iPhone users are now able to use Apple Watch to replace Face ID and a passcode when wearing a facial covering like a mask.

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watchOS Stories April 20

During Apple’s special “Spring loaded” event this Tuesday, the company finally revealed that watchOS 7.4 will be available to all users “early next week.” The long-awaited update brings an important feature to users, which is the ability to unlock iPhone models with Face ID using the Apple Watch when wearing a mask.

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watchOS Stories March 31

The sixth developer beta version of the upcoming watchOS 7.4 software update for Apple Watch is now available. iPhone users will be able to use Apple Watch to replace Face ID and a passcode when wearing a facial covering once this update goes public.

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watchOS Stories March 30

Now that Apple has confirmed the dates for this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference, rumors are sure to start swirling about this year’s software releases. We’ve been working on a series of concepts for each of Apple’s core platforms over the past few months and we wanted to share them again. So far, we’ve shared concepts for iOS 15, watchOS 8, and macOS 12. We’re at work on concepts for tvOS 15 and iPadOS 15, and we’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas for them. Let us know about those in the comments below! In the meantime, check out our already published concepts.

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watchOS Stories March 23

The fifth and hopefully last developer beta version of the upcoming watchOS 7.4 software update for Apple Watch is now available. iPhone users will be able to use Apple Watch to replace Face ID and a passcode when wearing a facial covering once this update goes public.

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watchOS Stories March 15

The fourth developer beta version of the upcoming watchOS 7.4 software update for Apple Watch is now available. iPhone users will especially appreciate this update as it allows the Apple Watch to replace Face ID and a passcode when wearing a facial covering.

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watchOS Stories March 8

watchOS 7.3.2 security update with WebKit fix drops for Apple Watch

There’s a new software update awaiting Apple Watch users. watchOS 7.3.2 is now available as the latest version of watchOS 7.

watchOS Stories March 5

Update March 5, 2021: watchOS 7.4 beta 3 is also now available to public beta users as well.

The third developer beta version of the upcoming watchOS 7.4 software update for Apple Watch is now available. iPhone users will especially appreciate this update as it allows the Apple Watch to replace Face ID and a passcode when wearing a facial covering.

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watchOS Stories January 19

There are so many big and small ways that Apple can improve watchOS. If you haven’t already, make sure to check out part 1 of our watchOS 8 concept before you continue reading. The second half of our concept includes some smaller changes to the operating system that would be welcome quality of life improvements.

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watchOS Stories December 3, 2020

A new concept from Matt Bircher today imagines how Apple could overhaul Control Center in watchOS 8. Currently, the Apple Watch Control Center is reserved for quick access to things like WiFi, Do Not Disturb, and Water Mode, but this concept imagines a more versatile design with support for complications.

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watchOS Stories September 14, 2020

GymKit for Apple Watch is brand new technology that will hopefully one day be in all gyms and personal fitness equipment, but for now you need to know where to look to find it. The good news is there are several models of workout machines that work with GymKit today, but you may want to seek out a fitness club with the right equipment for now.

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watchOS Stories June 8, 2020

Watchsmith is a powerful Apple Watch application that gives you the ability to create custom dynamic complications for your watch faces. A new update for Watchsmith today focuses on introducing dynamic and interactive maps.

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watchOS Stories June 3, 2020

Right after tvOS 13.4.8 beta, Apple has just released the first watchOS 6.2.8 beta version to developers. The update comes two days after watchOS 6.2.6 was released to the public, and as with tvOS, Apple has skipped version 6.2.7 for some unknown reason.

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watchOS Stories April 8, 2020

Apple has released watchOS 6.2.1 to the public today, bringing bug fixes and performance improvements specifically related to FaceTime. Today’s update for Apple Watch users comes following yesterday’s release of iOS 13.4.1 and iPadOS 13.4.1.

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Hodinkee delivers a lesson on twilight with the Apple Watch ‘Solar’ face

Jack Forster has published a fascinating piece for the watch experts at Hodinkee that takes a deep dive look at the Solar face in watchOS 6 for Apple Watch Series 4 and Series 5:

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