A flick of the Digital Crown will now reveal a smart stack of widgets. There's also a new look to apps like Fitness, Maps, and other favorites. The aforementioned widgets can hold complications like timers, while the World Clock app features new dynamic backgrounds. Even the Activity app will feature new corner icons along with an updated trophy case. Additionally, there will be some great new full-screen views.
Everything about watchOS 10 is shaping up to be a fantastic redesign and a huge update to watchOS 9.
Here's everything you could hope to know about watchOS 10, which is released later this year.
watchOS 10: Release date
watchOS will be available for Apple Watch as a free update "this fall". It's likely the launch will coincide with the release of Apple Watch Series 9, which tends to occur around the same time as a new iPhone in September. The latest iPhone will be the iPhone 15.
It's possible to download the watchOS 10 public beta for your Apple Watch to try it out for yourself. To do so, you'll also need to be running iOS 17 on your iPhone.
watchOS 10: New features
watchOS 10 promises a significant overhaul to many of the Apple Watch's day-to-day apps. This includes Weather, Stocks, Home, Maps, Messages, World Clock, and others. They all now use up more screen real estate so that you can see useful information more clearly.
Apple has taken a new approach to the design of watchOS, with a new focus on what it is calling 'Smart Stack'. The feature is accessible with the Digital Crown and provides more glanceable information when you look at your wrist. The 'Smart Stack' is comprised of small, rectangular versions of your apps and widgets, with small versions of apps like News, Weather, and Health. A quick tap takes you to the app itself where there are more new design elements.
The idea is to make these elements give you more information using more of the screen, rather than the smaller complications that Apple Watch has relied on before. Apple says that "a new Smart Stack contains widgets that display timely information that adapts to the user’s context and can be revealed with a simple turn of the Digital Crown from any watch face."
The widgets in the smart stack provide information that's live and useful, with Apple stating that the new Smart Stack "enables users to enjoy a beautiful watch face, like Portraits, while still offering a way to quickly access information they care about."
Developers will also be able to use the new feature, allowing for third party apps in the Smart Stack.
As part of the new design, Control Center has moved to the side button, so it's easier to open it when needed. Double-clicking the Digital Crown reopens any apps used recently.
New Watch Faces
There are two new faces coming to Apple Watch in watchOS 10. The first is the Palette face, which shifts and changes using three layers as the time changes.
The second new face is lighter hearted as it's Snoopy. The Peanuts characters, Snoopy and Woodstock, feature on a new watch face with interactive elements. The characters play with the hands of the watch and also react to weather conditions where you are.
watchOS brings an update to the cycling app with Apple adding power zone tracking and FTP calculations. Short for Functional Threshold Performance, FTP is a vital stat for cyclists and sure to be a welcome addition. The Apple Watch will also new connect automatically to cycling accessories, "such as power meters, speed sensors, and cadence sensors."
Hikers also see a useful update with the ability to save Apple Maps for offline use for when you're off the grid. There's also an 'in case of emergencies' call function called "Last Emergency Call Waypoint" that estimates where on a route your device last had a connection. It can then find the best place to call an emergency contact.
Also new for fitness enthusiasts is Apple Fitness Plus offers the ability to create a custom plan for your workouts.
If you have a goal in mind, you can choose your weekly schedule, including how long you want to workout per day, as well as how many weeks you want to pursue your goal. Add on the activity types you want to enjoy, and Apple Fitness Plus creates a personal plan for you to follow.
Each day, you'll receive suggestions of what to do with your workout time.
There are Mental Health updates as well to help with your mental well-being. The new Mindfulness app allows you to log your moods, as well as what's making you feel that way. It ties in with the Health app so you can see a complete picture of both your physical and mental well-being.
There's also NameDrop -- one of the title features of iOS 17. It lets you transfer your contact panel between watches and phones. You'll also be able to take FaceTime calls while viewing on the watch screen.
Offline Maps are coming to iPhone. This allows you to use turn-by-turn navigation on a map you've saved without depending on cellular services or Wi-Fi. When paired with an Apple Watch, you'll be able to see turn-by-turn directions.
Watch Series 9
Alongside new core software, Apple is also likely to release new hardware at the same time with watchOS 10 sure to pair perfectly with the next-generation Apple Watch.
Watch Series 9 is expected to debut in September alongside an all-new iPhone 15. If last year and Apple Watch Series 8 is anything to go by, it's quite likely that this next model will be a fairly modest upgrade. Count on seeing more options and price points for users. Multiple models including the Apple Watch SE and Apple Watch Ultra should mean something for everyone.
However, because of that, there's not much room for a major upgrade to Apple Watch Series 9 and all signs point to it being a fairly minor improvement.
watchOS 10: Compatibility
Apple watchOS 10 will run on all the same watches as watchOS 9. That means it will be available to download and run on the following devices:
- Apple Watch SE
- Apple Watch Series 4
- Apple Watch Series 5
- Apple Watch Series 6
- Apple Watch Series 7
- Apple Watch Series 8
- Apple Watch SE (2nd Generation)
- Apple Watch Ultra
When is watchOS 10 coming out?
Apple watchOS 10 will be available as a free update in the fall of 2023.
Will my Apple Watch work with watchOS 10?
watchOS 10 works with all the same watches that watchOS 9 worked with. That's the Apple Watch Series 4 or later paired with iPhone XS or later, running iOS 17.
Master your iPhone in minutes
iMore offers spot-on advice and guidance from our team of experts, with decades of Apple device experience to lean on. Learn more with iMore!
Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.
Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9