Apple unveiled the new watchOS 10 software update during its WWDC 2023 Keynote, alongside the company’s new Vision Pro AR/VR headset, the upgraded Mac Studio and Mac Pro desktops, and the new iOS 17, iPadOS 17, macOS Sonoma, and tvOS 17 versions.
The new watchOS 10 software update will bring a completely redesigned user interface, redesigned applications, new watch faces, and several new features. The Apple Watch will be able to use Smart Stacks and widgets, and there are many new health and sports features that’ll help hikers and people with an active lifestyle take advantage of even more tracking features.
watchOS 10: Release Date
During the June 5, WWDC 2023 Keynote, Apple confirmed that watchOS would be available for developers. Those with developer accounts can already install the new operating system to try and test out the new OS.
Users will be able to sign up for the public beta, scheduled to arrive in July. watchOS 10 will be available as a free software update “this fall”, and assuming Apple follows the same timeline as before, we should expect the new version to arrive sometime in September, alongside the new iPhones.
watchOS 10: Supported Devices
watchOS 10 will be compatible with many older and recently unveiled Apple Watches, including the Apple Watch Series 4, Series 5, SE, Series, 6, Series 7, Series 8, and the Apple Watch Ultra. Apple notes that not all features will be available on all devices, and there’s a chance that some might be exclusive to the Apple Watch Ultra and the recent series.
watchOS 10 will require an iPhone XS, iPhone XR, or later with iOS 17 – meaning that older iPhones with newer smartwatches may not be able to provide full functionality and support.
- Apple Watch Series 4
- Apple Watch Series 5
- Apple Watch SE
- Apple Watch Series 6
- Apple Watch Series 7
- Apple Watch Series 8
- Apple Watch Ultra
Apple Watch SE 2
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The affordable Apple Watch SE (2nd Generation) looks the same as its predecessor; it features improved fitness tracking and is powered by the latest and most powerful Apple S8 chip. It’s available in three colors and supports the same bands as the last generation.
Apple Watch Series 8 takes the crown from Series 7, becoming the best wearable to buy and keeping track of your fitness levels and notifications. It promises all-day battery life and a new body temperature sensor to improve metric accuracy.
Apple Watch Ultra
The latest edition in the Apple Watch lineup is the Apple Watch Ultra. It comes with body temperature sensors, LTE, and GPS, a new large 49mm size, a more durable design, and the longest battery life in an Apple Watch to date.
watchOS 10: New Features & Improvements
Completely Overhauled Experience
Apple has completely redesigned the user interface, feel, and experience of watchOS 10. The new interface takes better advantage of the large displays on your wrist, and users will be able to see more at a glance. Apps like the weather app, stocks, and more have been redesigned from the ground up, and will provide more content. Additionally, Smart Stack has been introduced for the Apple Watch, and it’ll be able to hold widgets. These can be accessed by either using the display or the Digital Crown to reveal the widgets. The Control Center will also be accessible using the side button.
The new palette interface brings an analog time face to your smartwatch, modernized with bright and colorful gradients.
“The Palette face depicts time in a wide variety of colors using three distinct overlapping layers, and as the time changes, the colors on the display also shift.”
There’s a new Snoopy watch face that lets you see the weather and other information at a glance, using the new cartoon Snoopy character.
“Additionally, the beloved comic strip Peanuts comes to life on Apple Watch with a new watch face featuring Snoopy and Woodstock. The characters interact and play with the watch hands, react to the weather conditions in the area, or even get active when the user does a workout.”
Apple added new metrics with compatible Bluetooth accessories, such as cadence, speed, and power to Workout View. For instance, if you have a motion tracker on the pedal and support for the watchOS 10, your watch will be able to give you more insight into your workout.
There is a new Power Zones Workout View that’ll estimate the user’s functional threshold power and provide insight into the intensity to help maintain it for an hour. This information will help sports users to improve their performance and achieve even greater results. Additionally, cycling metrics will now show up as a Live Activity on the iPhone, providing even more information at a glance on the smartphone.
The compass will get even more useful for hikers, and it will now automatically generate two new waypoints: A Last Cellular Connection Waypoint will estimate the last place with cellular reception, making it easier to see useful information as well as for making messages and making calls. In case of emergencies, a Last Emergency Call Waypoint will estimate where on the route a device last connected to any available carrier’s network, guiding users to a place where the emergency services can be reached.
Additionally, the elevation view uses altimeter data that’ll offer users a three-dimensional view of saved points. Starting in the US, Apple Maps will display a new topographic map featuring contour lines, hill shading, elevation details, and points of interest. Users can search for trails and trailheads and tap on the cards to see more information about them.
Mental health is as important as physical health, and Apple’s research shows that it’s important to reflect on the state of mind to build emotional awareness and resilience. Users can turn the Digital Crown to scroll through engaging, multidimensional shapes to choose how they are feeling, select what is having the biggest impact on them, and describe their feelings.
Apple’s watchOS 10 introduces the ability to measure time spent in daylight using the ambient light sensor which will then show up in the Health app on the iPhone and iPad. The time spent in daylight can provide additional benefits to physical and mental health for all ages, and children and Apple users, guardians, and parents can set up the app to track the amount of time that is spend in daylight.
Users will be able to create personal workout plans and select the days, workout duration and types, trainers, and music to create a custom plan. The new schedule will provide a more personalized experience, helping users get closer to their goals and stay on track of their workouts.
Other features coming to watchOS 10
- NameDrop allows users to easily share contact information by bringing Apple Watch close to someone else’s iPhone. Apple Watch users can also use NameDrop by tapping the Share button in My Card in the Contacts app, or by tapping the My Card watch face complication, and then bringing Apple Watch face to face with someone else’s Apple Watch.
- Offline maps on iPhone provide access to turn-by-turn navigation, estimated time of arrival, places in Maps, and more while away from Wi-Fi or cellular services. These features can also be used on a paired Apple Watch that is in range of its companion iPhone.
- Users can now initiate playback of a FaceTime video message and view it directly on Apple Watch. Additionally, Group FaceTime audio is now supported on Apple Watch.
- The Medications app can send follow-up reminders if a medication hasn’t been logged 30 minutes after the scheduled time.
- Enterprise customers can enhance productivity and safety in the office and in the field. watchOS 10 introduces support for Mobile Device Management (MDM), enabling enterprise customers to remotely and centrally install apps and configure accounts on a fleet of devices, with features such as passcode enforcement, and configuring Wi-Fi and VPN settings. With this update, Apple Watch can further help improve employee wellness, productivity and health, and safety monitoring.