Here’s everything we know about the Apple Watch’s upcoming operating system.
watchOS is the operating system that powers the Apple Watch. Apple is soon expected to announce watchOS 9, the ninth major iteration of the software. However, few key details have leaked out about what watchOS 9 may contain (even fewer details than for the upcoming iOS 16).
So, we can glean a few facts about watchOS 9 already. We’ve rounded up everything know about Apple’s wearables OS below.
watchOS 9: Release Date
watchOS 9 will be announced at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference on June 6, 2022. WWDC is Apple’s annual conference where it previews all of its new operating systems and lets developers go hands-on with them the same day through the release of a developers beta.
watchOS 9 should get the same treatment this year. Expect it to be announced at WWDC 2022, with a developer’s beta released the same day. A public beta of watchOS 9 should also be released shortly after, though it may not come until the middle of June at the earliest.
As for the final public release of watchOS 9, expect it to hit Apple Watches in September as usual. Our guess is watchOS 9 will ship around mid-September 2022.
WWDC will also see the unveiling of macOS 13 and iOS 16.
watchOS 9: Supported Devices
Currently, watchOS 8 runs on all Apple Watch models since (and including) the Series 3. However, it’s highly likely Apple will finally stop selling the Series 3 this fall. That makes us think that the Series 3 won’t get the watchOS 9 updates this year. However, that’s just speculation on our part for the time being.
We won’t know what Apple Watch will support watchOS 9 until Apple previews the new software at WWDC 2022. If Apple does drop support for watchOS 9 on the Series 3, it is very likely it will still support watchOS 9 on the following Apple Watch models:
It’s important to note, however, that some features of watchOS 9 may not be available on all Apple Watch models. As a matter of fact, some watchOS 9 features may be limited to the Series 7 or even the upcoming Series 8.
watchOS 9: Features
But just what might those watchOS 9 features be? As of now, we don’t have that much of an idea. Leaks about watchOS are rare. However, there are a few safe bets, based on a smattering of rumors.
These rumored features come from Bloomberg, which reports:
watchOS 9 could feature improved atrial fibrillation detection. As Bloomberg notes, “Apple is also looking to expand its atrial fibrillation detection feature on its watch to calculate what is known as ‘burden,’ or how often a person is in a state of atrial fibrillation across a certain period.”
The publication also says watchOS 9 may feature an enhanced Low Power Mode that could allow select apps to run on the Apple Watch even when it has very little power left. Currently, the Apple Watch has a very lite version of a low power mode, called Power Reserve. But Power reserve is only able to display the time once it is active.
Bloomberg also reports that new sleep features, medication management features, and fitness workouts are coming to the Apple Watch. This is likely in watchOS 9.
And as usual, we can also expect watchOS 9 to feature new watch faces, which is always one of the highlights of the operating system. However, those users hoping for a full-fledged Apple Watch Faces Store where you can download third-party faces will likely be disappointed yet again. There’s no evidence Apple has any plans to allow third-party faces on the Apple Watch.
And check out iPadOS 16: All The New Features, Release Date, & Supported Devices!