watchOS Overview Updated May 13, 2019

watchOS

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

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144 'watchOS' stories

June 2015 - May 2019


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 May 13

Apple debuted a brand new Pride face in the middle of the WWDC 2018 keynote last year, pairing a rainbow colored watch face with a matching band. Now Apple’s Pride face is getting a new design on the Apple Watch with an updated style option. There’s also a new Pride Analog version with full screen and circular versions.

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watchOS 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.

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Sylvania HomeKit Light Strip

watchOS Stories April 10

Footpath custom navigation app for runners and cyclists launches audio guidance with AirPods double-tap support

Google Maps is likely the first app to come to mind for navigation in a vehicle, but a sharp app called Footpath offers a great custom navigation experience for cyclists, runners, and walkers. Today, the app is gaining turn by turn audio guidance with dedicated AirPods double-tap functionality and more.

watchOS Stories April 5

watchOS 6, the next major version of Apple Watch software, will be an interesting operating system update. In recent years, the Apple Watch OS has focused on health and fitness features matched with software that uses new hardware like streaming Apple Music and Podcasts over LTE and the ECG app.

Apple Watch Series 5 hardware rumors are already extremely light, limited to the return of the ceramic Edition casing, and watchOS 6 rumors are even more sparse. With several Apple Watch features complete and built-in sleep tracking not expected until late 2020, what should we expect to see in watchOS 6?

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watchOS Stories March 28

Apple Watch Explorer face lost its numbers after watchOS 5.2? You’re not alone 

Notice something weird about your Apple Watch since updating to watchOS 5.2? There’s a software bug affecting the Explorer watch face on the latest Apple Watch update.

watchOS Stories March 3

Matt Birchler is out today with his annual watchOS concept, this time imagining watchOS 6. Birchler envisions some of the features he’d most like to see, including a redesigned Siri face, new sleep tracking rings, and more.

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