The word "watchOS" in black San Francisco neo-grotesque sans-serif font.
WatchOS 6 screenshot.jpg
A customized watch face on watchOS 6
DeveloperApple Inc.
Written in
OS family
Working stateCurrent
Source modelClosed, with open-source components
Initial releaseApril 24, 2015; 7 years ago (2015-04-24)
Latest release9.1[1] (20S75)[2] (October 24, 2022; 39 days ago (2022-10-24)) [±]
Latest preview9.2 beta 4[3] (20S5357b)[4] (December 1, 2022; 1 day ago (2022-12-01)) [±]
Marketing targetSmartwatch
Available in45 languages[5][6]
Update methodOTA (via iPhone 5+ running iOS 8.2+)
Kernel typeHybrid (XNU)
user interface
Cocoa Touch (GUI)
LicenseProprietary software except for open-source components

watchOS is the operating system of the Apple Watch, developed by Apple Inc. It is based on iOS, the operating system used by the iPhone, and has many similar features.[7] It was released on April 24, 2015, along with the Apple Watch, the only device that runs watchOS. watchOS exposes an API called WatchKit for developer use.

The second version, watchOS 2, included support for native third-party apps and other improvements, and was released on September 21, 2015.[8][9][10] The third version, watchOS 3, was released on September 13, 2016, to emphasize better performance and include new watch faces and stock apps. The fourth version, watchOS 4, was released on September 19, 2017. The fifth version, watchOS 5, was released on September 17, 2018,[11] to add more third-party support and new workouts, along with the "Walkie-Talkie" feature.[12] The sixth version, watchOS 6, was released on September 19, 2019.[13] The seventh version, watchOS 7, was released on September 16, 2020, to support handwashing and sleep tracking.[14][15] The eighth version, watchOS 8, was released on September 20, 2021, with updates in health monitoring, visuals, and apps.[16] The ninth version, watchOS 9, was released on September 12, 2022.

Interface overview

The home screen (rendered by and also known as "Carousel")[7] is composed of circular application icons, which can be zoomed in and out with the Digital Crown and dragged and launched by touching the display.

Prior to watchOS 3, Glances provided fast access to a summarized view of the most popular native or third-party applications used on Apple Watch.[17] The Glances view was opened with a swipe-up gesture from the watch face screen. With watchOS 3, Glances were replaced by a redesigned Control Center – much like the one in iOS. The friends menu, invoked with the side button, now acts as a dedicated dock for apps.

Different actions and options appear depending on whether the user taps or deep-presses, which an Apple Watch detects with its pressure-sensitive (Force Touch) Display.[18] Force Touch was completely removed in watchOS 7, and all actions requiring the feature were moved to specific options in the Settings app or to long-press actions.[19]

Supported health metrics

Since its inception, watchOS has supported an increasing number and variety of health metrics for measurement and tracking. These include:


Main article: HealthKit

For several years, Apple has been developing its HealthKit product in a bid to change the way people interact with their devices. There is also a conscious attempt to penetrate the lucrative healthcare and wellness industry, which many observers believe to hold a huge growth opportunity for Apple.[28] This was confirmed by Jony Ive, Apple's former chief designer, in an interview. He said that health was a crucial element in the Apple Watch since the day of its inception and that the developmental trajectory of the hardware and the watchOS were geared towards health-based capabilities.[29] Ive pointed out that one of the primary apps that shipped with the first watchOS allowed users to track and communicate as well as encourage them to move, exercise, and stand. He said:

Many of us have our phones with us all the time, but they aren't connected to you. Imagine having something this powerful with you at all times, and what opportunities that might present to the user. The opportunity is phenomenal. Particularly when [you] don't understand just where we are today in terms of technology and capability, but where we are headed.[29]

One of the most recent updates to the watchOS included applications that not only keep users active but also diagnose illnesses. For example, there is the app called DeepHeart, a deep-learning network that can detect atrial fibrillation, hypertension, sleep apnea, and diabetes.[30] It taps into the HealthKit platform to collect data, particularly those collected by the Apple Watch's heart sensor.[31]

Version history

Current watchOS versions
Version Build Architecture Release date Device end-of-life
Apple Watch iPhone
3.2.3 14V753 32-bit ARM July 19, 2017 N/A 5, 5C
4.3.2 15U70 July 9, 2018 1st N/A
5.3.9 16U693 32/64-bit ARM November 5, 2020 N/A 5S, 6, 6 Plus
6.3 17U208 December 14, 2020 Series 1, Series 2 N/A
8.7 19U66 July 20, 2022 N/A 6S, 6S Plus, SE (1st gen), 7, 7 Plus (when paired with Series 4 or later)
8.7.1 19U67 32-bit ARM August 17, 2022 Series 3 6S, 6S Plus, SE (1st gen), 7, 7 Plus (when paired with Series 3)
9.1 20S75 64-bit ARM October 24, 2022 N/A N/A
9.2 beta 4 20S5357b December 1, 2022 N/A N/A
Legend:   Obsolete   Discontinued   Supported   Current   Beta
Legend:   Obsolete   Discontinued   Supported   Current   Beta

watchOS 1

watchOS 1 was the first version of watchOS to be released. It came with iOS 8.2, instead of the initial release.

The first version of watchOS 1 was 1.0 and was based on iOS 8.2. The second version of watchOS 1 was 1.0.1 and was based on iOS 8.3.

Table of versions: watchOS 1.x – Apple Watch
Watch family:
watchOS version iOS version based on Build Release date Features


8.2[32] 12S507 April 24, 2015; 7 years ago (2015-04-24)

Initial release on Apple Watch (1st Generation).


8.3[32] 12S632 May 19, 2015; 7 years ago (2015-05-19)
  • Display support for new Emoji characters.
  • Notification screen UI tweaks.
  • Improved performance:
    • Free floating Circular app icons in home screen.
    • Zoom in with Digital Crown.
    • Siri.
    • Measuring stand activity.
    • Calculating calories for indoor cycling and rowing workouts.
    • Distance and pace during outdoor walk and run.
    • Accessibility.
    • Third-party apps.
    • Wrist Raise (more sensitive to real-life wrist raises).
  • Additional language support:
    • Brazilian Portuguese.
    • Danish.
    • Dutch.
    • Swedish.
    • Russian.
    • Thai.
    • Turkish.
  • Security fixes[36]

watchOS 2

Table of versions: watchOS 2.x – Apple Watch[37]
Watch family:
watchOS version iOS version based on Build Release date Features


9.0[32] 13S344 September 21, 2015; 7 years ago (2015-09-21)

New Watch faces

  • Time-lapse face: Hong Kong, London, Mack Lake, New York, Shanghai, Paris
  • Photo & Photo album faces with support for Live Photos
  • New Time Travel function where you can see both past and future events
  • Nightstand Mode
  • 9 new colors for customization
  • New multicolor Modular face
  • 3rd party apps Complications support


  • Workout and Maps support
  • FaceTime audio calling and email replying support
  • HomeKit support
  • Added support in following countries: Austria, Belgium, Norway

Activity and Workout

  • Workouts done in 3rd-party apps will be included in Activity rings
  • Sharing support from Activity app on iPhone
  • Interactive achievements
  • Weekly Summary
  • Activity notifications can now be muted for a day
  • Workouts can now be automatically saved

Apple Pay and Wallet

  • Discover cards support
  • Reward cards, store credit and debit cards support
  • Passes can now be added from 3rd party apps


  • You can now add more than 12 friends to your Watch
  • Groups support
  • Multicolor sketches support
  • Animated emoji support


  • New Transit view in selected cities
  • List of directions can now be shown
  • Station placards support with departure information


  • New Beats 1 Radio support
  • New Quick Play button for Apple Music


  • You can now reply to emails right from your Watch using dictation, emoji, or smart replies
  • Support for FaceTime audio calls
  • Support for Wi-Fi calling
  • Activation Lock – No one can activate an Apple Watch without a proper Apple ID and password
  • New system languages: English (India), Finnish, Indonesian, Norwegian, Polish
  • Dictation support extended to include the following languages:
    • Dutch (Belgium)
    • English (Ireland, Philippines, South Africa)
    • French (Belgium)
    • German (Austria)
    • Spanish (Chile, Colombia)
  • Smart replies support extended to include the following languages:
    • Traditional Chinese (Hong Kong, Taiwan)
    • Danish
    • Dutch
    • English (New Zealand, Singapore)
    • Japanese
    • Korean
    • Swedish
    • Thai


  • Native SDK support
  • 3rd-party apps can now access the accelerometer, heart rate sensor, microphone, Taptic Engine, and Digital Crown
  • You can now play videos directly on your Watch
  • You can now run apps without your iPhone with a Wi-Fi connection
  • Complications for watch faces support
  • Support for Workouts from 3rd party apps – Metrics will count toward the Activity rings as well as included in the Activity app on iPhone


9.1 13S428 October 21, 2015; 7 years ago (2015-10-21)
  • New emoji characters
  • Resolved: Software updates stalling
  • Resolved: Battery performance deteriorating
  • Resolved: iPhone calendar events not syncing to Apple Watch
  • Resolved: Location information not updating
  • Resolved: Instability with Live Photo on the Photos watch face
  • Resolved: Heart sensor is on forever when Siri is used to help measure your heart rate


9.2 13S661 December 8, 2015; 6 years ago (2015-12-08)
  • New system languages: Arabic, Czech, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Malay, Portuguese (Portugal), Vietnamese
  • Right-to-left language support
  • In Arabic, switch between Latin and Hindi numerals
  • New Complication for Islamic and Hebrew calendars
  • Siri support extended to include Arabic (Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates)
  • Dictation support extended to include the following languages:
    • Arabic (Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates)
    • English (Malaysia)
    • Czech
    • Greek
    • Hebrew
    • Hungarian
    • Portuguese (Portugal)
    • Vietnamese
  • Resolved: Events not updating in the Calendar complication
  • Resolved: Power Reserve mode not working correctly
  • Resolved: 3rd-party apps not launching
  • Resolved: 3rd-party app icons not displaying correctly
  • Resolved: System instability when changing display language


9.3 13V144 March 21, 2016; 6 years ago (2016-03-21)
  • You can now pair 2+ Apple Watches to a single iPhone
  • New Nearby function in Maps
  • New system languages: Catalan, Croatian, Slovak, Romanian, Ukrainian
  • Dictation support extended to include the following languages:
    • Catalan
    • Croatian
    • Slovak
    • Romanian
    • Ukrainian
    • English (Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Indonesia)
  • Siri support extended to include Malay, Finnish, and Hebrew
  • Background heart rate measurements have their frequency increased when you're stationary


9.3.2 13V420 May 16, 2016; 6 years ago (2016-05-16)
  • General performance and stability improvements.


9.3.3 13V604 July 18, 2016; 6 years ago (2016-07-18)
  • General performance and stability improvements.

watchOS 3

Table of versions: watchOS 3.x – Apple Watch[39]
Watch family:
watchOS version iOS version based on Build Release date Features


10.0 14S326 September 13, 2016; 6 years ago (2016-09-13)
  • Initial Release on Apple Watch Series 1 (Dual-Core) and Apple Watch Series 2 (Dual-Core)


  • Favorite apps in Dock
  • Apps in Dock updates with up-to-date information on launch
  • Dock can contain up to 10 apps
  • Simple switch to different watch face with a swipe
  • Control Center can be toggled with a swipe up

New Watch faces

  • Minnie Mouse face
  • Activity faces
  • Numerals faces
  • Complications support for Photo, Photo Album, Timelapse, and Motion faces
  • New Complications: Workout, Music, and Messages, etc.
  • Face Gallery in Apple Watch app on iPhone
  • 3rd-party Complications support


  • Share and compare activity rings
  • Activity progress notifications for a person you have shared your activity progress with
  • Smart replies for above notifications
  • New "Sharing" tab on Activity app on iPhone


  • Quick start
  • Customizable metrics view
  • Gestures support for pausing, resuming, or marking segments
  • Support for "Other" workouts not listed in built-in workout types
  • Auto-pause in running workouts for inactivity
  • Siri support
  • Route maps with a speed indicator (Outdoor workouts only)

For Wheelchairs

  • Activity rings support for people using a wheelchair
  • Pushes now contribute to the move ring
  • Stand ring and "Time to Stand" notification substituted with Roll ring and "Time to Roll" notification
  • Outdoor Run or Walk pace workouts

Breathe app

  • New app for breathing sessions
  • Visualization and haptics indicate when to inhale or exhale
  • Adjustments for session length and amount of breaths per minute
  • Summary with heart rate
  • "Time to Breathe" notifications
  • Weekly Summary


  • Full-screen effects for celebrations
  • Tap to quick reply
  • Animations for handwritten messages
  • Send built-in or 3rd party stickers
  • Ability to view secret messages
  • Replies now available in Messages and Mail notifications
  • New and redesigned emojis


  • Write directly on Apple Watch and it will automatically convert to text
  • Scroll through predictions with Digital Crown
  • Available in English, Simplified Chinese, and Traditional Chinese

Emergency SOS

  • You can now call emergency services by pressing and holding the side button
  • Your SOS contacts will be notified with your location
  • You can also display your Medical ID stored on your Watch
  • Emergency numbers are automatically adjusted per your location


  • New app to control accessories through HomeKit
  • You can now control all your accessories directly from your wrist
  • IP camera support: Watch live video with controls and notifications directly on your Watch


  • New Reminders app
  • New Find My Friends app
  • Apple Pay support in 3rd-party apps
  • New controls in the Calendar app: You can now delete events or switch calendars
  • FaceTime audio calls support
  • Search for Settings on Apple Watch app on iPhone
  • New remote camera controls: Flash, Live Photos, HDR, Zoom, Burst, and facing
  • New Siri languages: Spanish (Chile), Cantonese, English (Ireland), English (South Africa)


10.1 14S471 October 24, 2016; 6 years ago (2016-10-24)
  • Bubbles and fullscreen effects on Messages can now be replayed
  • Reduce Motion of Messages effects
  • Resolved: "Timer complete" notification being delivered twice
  • Resolved: Apple Watch Series 2 not fully charged
  • Resolved: Disappeared Activity rings on watch faces
  • Resolved: Force Touch options not appearing in 3rd-party apps


10.2 14S883 December 12, 2016; 5 years ago (2016-12-12)

Update withdrawn due to reports of Apple Watches no longer working after the update[40]


10.2.1 14S960 January 23, 2017; 5 years ago (2017-01-23)
  • Resolved: Bricking Apple Watches after updating to watchOS 3.1.1
  • Includes fixes from watchOS 3.1.1, including...
    • Resolved: Contact names not appearing in notifications and the Messages app
    • Resolved: Unable to respond notifications
    • Resolved: Stocks Complication not updating on watch faces
    • Resolved: Activity rings not displaying on Activity watch faces
    • Resolved: Dials of Analog watch faces not displaying after changing the temperature unit in the Weather app
    • Resolved: Maps app still launching after navigation has ended
    • Resolved: Month view of Calendars app showing incorrect dates


10.3 14V249 March 27, 2017; 5 years ago (2017-03-27)
  • Siri now works with 3rd-party apps with features including
    • Start a workout
    • Send messages
    • Make payments
    • Book rides
  • Theater Mode
  • New Scribble languages: French, Spanish, Italian
  • Sync progress for music playlists is now displayed in the Apple Watch app on iPhone


10.3.2 14V485 May 15, 2017; 5 years ago (2017-05-15)
  • Bug fixes.


10.3.3 14V753 July 19, 2017; 5 years ago (2017-07-19)

watchOS 4

Table of versions: watchOS 4.x – Apple Watch[41]
Watch family:

Limited support on the Apple Watch (1st generation). Some features are not supported on the Apple Watch Series 1 and Apple Watch Series 2

watchOS version iOS version based on Build Release date Features


11.0 15R372 September 19, 2017; 5 years ago (2017-09-19)

Initial release on Apple Watch Series 3

Drops support for iPhone 5 and iPhone 5C

New Watch faces

  • Siri face with updates based on time, location, and daily routines
  • Toy Story face with animated Toy Story characters
  • Kaleidoscope face with static images turning into patterns
  • Siri, News, Heart Rate, Now Playing, Messages Complications


  • Personalized notifications
  • Monthly challenges
  • Full Screen animations for achievements and rings closed
  • Workout metrics included in replies for Activity Sharing notifications


  • App completely redesigned
  • High Intensity Interval Training workout support
  • Multiple workouts in a single session support
  • Auto sets for Pool Swim workouts
  • Synced music playlist support when starting workouts (Apple Watch 1st gen not supported)
  • Music controls right inside the app
  • Do Not Disturb can be automatically turned on when starting workouts

Heart Rate

  • Graphs for all-day heart rate
  • New measurements including resting rate, walking average, workout average, workout high, recovery, and Breathe sessions
  • High Heart Rate notifications support (Apple Watch 1st gen not supported)
  • New Heart Rate data on iPhone including Heart Rate Variability and VO2 max


  • App completely redesigned
  • Multiple playlists sync support for local playback with Bluetooth headphones
  • Apple Music curated playlists sync support, includes Heavy Rotation, My New Music Mix, and My Favorites Mix


  • News app added
  • Flashlight and Safety Light can be toggled through Control Center
  • Recent used apps in Dock
  • App home screen in alphabetical view
  • Gestures support in Mail
  • Dialer pad right inside Phone app
  • Conflicts for Calendar invites can now be displayed
  • New language for Scribble: German
  • New timers: sub-minute and repeating
  • Recent locations and suggestions in Maps
  • Contacts in Smart Reply, includes location


11.0 15R654 October 4, 2017; 5 years ago (2017-10-04) Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular) only
  • Resolved: Apple Watches joining unauthenticated Wi-Fi networks


11.1 15R846 October 31, 2017; 5 years ago (2017-10-31)
  • Music streaming support on Apple Music or iCloud Music Library (Apple Watch Series 3 only)
  • New Radio app: Beats 1 Live Radio, custom stations, and expert-curated stations (Apple Watch Series 3 only)
  • Find, discover, and play songs, albums, or albums using Siri
  • Fitness data syncing support for more accurate metrics on GymKit-enabled treadmills, ellipticals, stair steppers, and indoor bikes
  • Ability to disconnect from a Wi-Fi network right in Control Center (Apple Watch Series 3 GPS + Cellular model only)
  • Resolved: Heart Rate notifications erroneously delivered to users who have not enabled the feature
  • Resolved: Current Stand Hour indicator not correctly displayed
  • Resolved: Haptics not delivered for silent alarms
  • Resolved: Apple Watch (1st gen) not charging
  • Resolved: Sunrise / Sunset complication not appearing on watch faces
  • Mandarin Chinese now set as default dictation language in China


11.2 15S102 December 5, 2017; 4 years ago (2017-12-05)
  • Apple Pay Cash support (US only)
  • HomeKit sprinklers and faucet support
  • 3rd-party app Workouts: distance, average Speed, number of runs, elevation descended for downhill snow sports (Apple Watch Series 3 only)
  • Resolved: Crash when asking Siri about weather
  • Resolved: Scrolling disabled in the Heart Rate app
  • Resolved: Simultaneous timers and alarms not being independently dismissed


11.2 15S542 January 23, 2018; 4 years ago (2018-01-23)
  • This update includes improvements and bug fixes.


11.2 15S600b February 19, 2018; 4 years ago (2018-02-19)
  • Fixes an issue where using certain character sequences could cause apps to crash.


11.3 15T212 March 29, 2018; 4 years ago (2018-03-29)
  • HomePod volume and playback control support
  • Regaining control of music on iPhone
  • Multiple orientation support on Nightstand mode
  • Activity rings progress and new songs to Apple Music mixes are now shown on the Siri watch face
  • Resolved: Activity achievements incorrectly awarded
  • Resolved: Siri music commands not working for some audio


11.4 15T567 May 29, 2018; 4 years ago (2018-05-29)
  • Fixes an issue which caused Apple Watch to sometimes remain at the Apple Logo during startup for some users.


11.4.1 15U70 July 9, 2018; 4 years ago (2018-07-09) Final release supported on Apple Watch (1st generation)
  • This update includes improvements and bug fixes.

watchOS 5

watchOS 5 was first shown to the public at the 2018 San Jose WWDC developer conference held on June 4, 2018 by Apple. It had an instant watch-to-watch Walkie-Talkie mode.[42] With this release, Apple dropped support for the first generation Apple Watch. watchOS 5 was the first version of watchOS to bring 64-bit support.

Table of versions: watchOS 5.x – Apple Watch[43]

Some features are not supported on the Apple Watch Series 1 and Apple Watch Series 2.

watchOS version iOS version based on Build Release date Features
5.0 12.0 16R364 September 17, 2018; 4 years ago (2018-09-17)

Initial Release on Apple Watch Series 4

Drops support for the Apple Watch (1st generation)

  • Workout
    • Compete with Friends notifications
    • Auto detect workout and notification to turn off workout when done
    • New workouts: Yoga and Hiking
    • Pace Alerts and Cadence
  • Podcasts
    • New app for watchOS
    • Download episodes of podcasts for listening
    • Stream your favorite podcasts on the go (Series 3 and later only)
  • Walkie-Talkie
    • A new watchOS app that allows you to do FaceTime Audio calls similar to talking on a walkie-talkie
  • Siri
    • Watchface adds 3rd-party access to Siri
    • Raise to Speak. No longer need to say "Hey Siri" to activate (Series 3 and later only)
    • Integrate with shortcuts like "I am on my way home" and Siri will start playing your favorite playlist on the way home
  • Notifications
    • Grouped notifications
    • More actions you can do with Notifications
    • Can view webpages from iMessages
  • Do Not Disturb
    • Can schedule Do Not Disturb events when leaving a location or just for a specific time period
  • Student ID Cards
5.0.1 12.0 16R381/16R382 September 27, 2018; 4 years ago (2018-09-27) Improvements and bug fixes
5.1 12.1 16R591 October 30, 2018; 4 years ago (2018-10-30) Update withdrawn due to reports of Apple Watches no longer working after the update[44]
5.1.1 12.1 16R600 November 5, 2018; 4 years ago (2018-11-05)

Improvements and bug fixes

  • Addresses a problem in the WatchOS 5.1 update leading to non-functional Apple Watches.
  • Improvements to Series 4 automatic fall detection.
  • Resolves a problem with completing setup of Walkie-Talkie.
  • Resolves a problem with sending and receiving invitations for Walkie-Talkie.
  • Resolves missing earned Activity awards.
5.1.2 12.1.1 16S46 December 6, 2018; 3 years ago (2018-12-06)
  • New ECG app for Apple Watch Series 4 (US and US territories only)
  • Irregular rhythm notification (US and US territories only)
  • AFiB notification
  • Other improvements and bug fixes
5.1.3 12.1.3 16S535 January 22, 2019; 3 years ago (2019-01-22) This update includes improvements and bug fixes.
5.2 12.2 16T225 March 27, 2019; 3 years ago (2019-03-27)
  • ECG app extended to Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK
  • Irregular rhythm notification extended to countries listed above
  • 2nd gen AirPods support
  • Real-time text support for phone calls
5.2.1 12.3 16U113 May 13, 2019; 3 years ago (2019-05-13)
  • ECG app extended to Croatia, Czech, Iceland, Poland, and Slovakia
  • Irregular rhythm notification extended to countries listed above
  • New Pride watch face
  • Other bug fixes
5.3 12.4 16U569 July 22, 2019; 3 years ago (2019-07-22)
  • ECG app extended to Canada and Singapore
  • Irregular rhythm notification extended to countries listed above
  • Resolved: Security fix for Walkie-Talkie app that could enable the owner's iPhone to be eavesdropped[45]
5.3.1 12.4.1 16U600 August 26, 2019; 3 years ago (2019-08-26)
  • Re-patches a security vulnerability that was accidentally unpatched in the previous update
Post-watchOS 6 Updates for watches paired with an iOS 12.x iPhone (to support iPhone 5S and iPhone 6/6 Plus)
5.3.2 12.4.2 16U611 September 26, 2019; 3 years ago (2019-09-26) Apple Watch Series 1 and Apple Watch Series 2 only
  • Security update for Series 1 and Series 2 watches[46]
5.3.3 12.4.3 16U620 October 29, 2019; 3 years ago (2019-10-29) Apple Watch Series 1 and Apple Watch Series 2 only[citation needed]
  • Important security updates
5.3.4 12.4.4 16U627[47] December 10, 2019; 2 years ago (2019-12-10)
  • Security update for Series 1, 2, 3, and 4 watches[48]
5.3.5 12.4.5 16U652[49] February 18, 2020; 2 years ago (2020-02-18)
  • Update for Series 1, 2, 3, and 4 watches with heart rhythm notification bug fix[50]
5.3.6 12.4.6 16U662 March 24, 2020; 2 years ago (2020-03-24)
  • Important security updates
5.3.7 12.4.7 16U674 May 18, 2020; 2 years ago (2020-05-18)
  • Improvements and bug fixes
5.3.8 12.4.8 16U680 July 15, 2020; 2 years ago (2020-07-15)
  • Improvements and bug fixes
5.3.9 12.4.9 16U693 November 5, 2020; 2 years ago (2020-11-05) Final version to support iPhone 5S, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus
  • Improvements and bug fixes

watchOS 6

Apple announced a new version of watchOS that would contain features, such as the App Store, a calculator with tip tools, an audiobooks app, noise level monitoring, and Apple's Voice Memos app, at WWDC 2019 held on 3 June 2019.[51][52][53] It also enables special games that can only be played on the Watch interface. With this release, Apple dropped support for iPhone 5, 6 and 6 Plus. However, watchOS 6 has limited support on Apple Watch Series 1 and 2. watchOS 6.3 is the final release supported on the Apple Watch Series 1 and 2.

Table of versions: watchOS 6.x – Apple Watch[54]

Limited support on the Apple Watch Series 1 and Apple Watch Series 2.

watchOS version iOS version based on Build Release date Features
6.0 13.0 17R575 September 19, 2019; 3 years ago (2019-09-19)

Initial Release on Apple Watch Series 5

Not released for Apple Watch Series 1 and 2

Drops support for iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

  • Cycle Tracking
    • New Cycle Tracking app for tracking menstrual cycle and fertility metrics
    • Notifications predicting a person's next menstrual cycle and fertile window.
  • Noise (Series 4 or later only)
    • New Noise app for detecting decibel levels in your surroundings.
    • Notifications can be pushed when it detects that the noise in your surrounding is too high.
  • Voice Memos
    • New Voice Memos app for recording and listening to voice memos directly on Apple Watch
    • Synced across all your devices as well.
  • Audiobooks
    • Now you can sync up to 5 hours of audiobooks to your Apple Watch
    • Stream them when your Watch is connected via Wi-Fi or cellular
  • App store
    • New built-in App Store where you can find and download apps for your Watch.
    • Supports Sign in with Apple
  • Activity Trends
    • Activity Trends in Activity app which includes all three activity rings, stand minutes, walking distance, walking pace, running pace, and VO2 max.
    • These are compared with data averaged over the last 90 days to the wearer's performance over the last year.
    • Tips are given if a single trend is going down.
  • Workout
    • New elevation metrics for Outdoor Run, Outdoor Walk, Outdoor Cycle, and Hiking workouts (Series 2 or later only)
    • Stopwatch app can now be viewed on your watch face during workouts
    • GymKit support for True and Woodway
  • Siri
    • Now you can identify songs directly on your Watch—with the ability to add identified songs to your Apple Music library
    • New Siri Web Search—shows up to 5 online results with the ability to view optimized Web content.
    • Siri integration into the redesigned Find People app
  • Watch Faces
    • New Faces
        • Numerals Mono and Numerals Duo (Available in Arabic, Arabic Indic, Roman numerals, and Devanagari)
        • Meridian—black or white dial which fills the screen and includes 4 complications (Series 4 or later only)
        • Gradient—Design dynamically changes as time passes. Available in full screen or circular with 5 complications (Series 4 or later only)
        • California—Supports multiple numeral styles in Roman, Arabic, and Devanagari in fullscreen or circular (Series 4 or later only)
        • Solar Dial—Depicts the Sun's path in circular form across a 24-hour dial (Series 4 or later only)
        • Modular Compact—With many complications and the option to choose between analog or digital time (Series 4 or later only)
    • Tap to speak on all watch faces, supports up to 30 languages
    • Receive and customize time-keeping chimes (An alert on the hour, every half hour or every 15 minutes, either with haptics or customizable chimes)
    • Now you can reorder your Watch faces directly on your Watch
    • New complications
      • Audiobooks
      • Calculator
      • Cellular connectivity
      • Cycle Tracking
      • Noise
      • Wind
      • Rain
      • Voice memos
    • New monochrome complications for Infograph and Infograph Modular faces
  • Miscellaneous
    • New Calculator app with the ability to calculate tips and split checks
    • Support for custom stations in the Podcasts app
    • Smart Guidance and spoken navigation in Maps
    • Redesigned Now Playing app with Apple TV Remote controls
    • Personalized music picks in the For You tab
    • Support for automatic software updates
    • Redesigned Walkie-Talkie app
    • Redesigned Find People app which allows you to add friends, set notifications, and change settings directly on your Watch
    • Redesigned Reminders app with shared lists, subtasks, and the ability to add new reminders
    • More settings for Accessibility, Workout, and Health
6.0.1 13.1 17R604/17R605 September 30, 2019; 3 years ago (2019-09-30) Not released for Apple Watch Series 1 and 2

Improvements and bug fixes

  • Resolves an issue where the Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse watch faces do not speak time.
  • Addresses an issue where the calendar complication may not display events.
  • Fixes a bug that could result in a loss of display calibration data.
6.1 13.2 17S84 October 29, 2019; 3 years ago (2019-10-29) First version of watchOS 6.x to support Apple Watch Series 1 and 2
  • Support for AirPods Pro
  • Other improvements and bug fixes
  • Brings watchOS 6 to Apple Watch Series 1 and Series 2
6.1.1 13.3 17S449 December 10, 2019; 2 years ago (2019-12-10)
  • Important security updates
6.1.2 13.3.1 17S796 January 28, 2020; 2 years ago (2020-01-28)
  • Important security updates
6.1.3 17S811 February 18, 2020; 2 years ago (2020-02-18)
  • Heart rhythm notification bug fix
6.2 13.4 17T529 March 24, 2020; 2 years ago (2020-03-24)
  • Brings ECG app and irregular heart rhythm notifications to Chile, Turkey, and New Zealand
  • Brings in-app purchases to Apple Watch apps
  • Fixes music playback issues when switching from Wi-Fi to Bluetooth
6.2.1 13.4.1 17T530 April 8, 2020; 2 years ago (2020-04-08)
  • Fixes an issue that prevented FaceTime audio calls with devices running iOS 9.3.6 and earlier or Macs running OS X El Captain 10.11.6 and earlier from working
6.2.5 13.5 17T608 May 18, 2020; 2 years ago (2020-05-18)
  • ECG app on Apple Watch Series 4 or later now available in Saudi Arabia
  • Irregular heart rhythm notifications now available in Saudi Arabia
6.2.6 13.5.1 17T620 June 1, 2020; 2 years ago (2020-06-01)
  • Important security updates
6.2.8 13.6 17U63 July 15, 2020; 2 years ago (2020-07-15)
  • ECG app on Apple Watch Series 4 or later now available in Bahrain, Brazil, and South Africa
  • Irregular heart rhythm notifications now available in Bahrain, Brazil, and South Africa
  • Digital car keys support for Apple Watch Series 5
13.6.1 August 12, 2020; 2 years ago (2020-08-12)
13.7 September 1, 2020; 2 years ago (2020-09-01)
6.2.9 17U203 November 5, 2020; 2 years ago (2020-11-05)
  • Improvements and bug fixes
6.3 17U208 December 14, 2020; 23 months ago (2020-12-14) Final release supported on Apple Watch Series 1 and 2
  • Improvements and bug fixes

watchOS 7

Apple announced watchOS 7 at the 2020 Worldwide Developers Conference on June 22, 2020. With watchOS 7, Apple dropped support for Apple Watch Series 1 and 2. However, watchOS 7 has limited support on Apple Watch Series 3.

Table of versions: watchOS 7.x – Apple Watch[55]

Limited support on the Apple Watch Series 3.

watchOS version iOS version based on Build Release date Features
7.0 iOS 14.0 18R382 September 16, 2020; 2 years ago (2020-09-16)

Initial Release on Apple Watch SE and Apple Watch Series 6

Drops support for the Apple Watch Series 1 and Apple Watch Series 2

  • Watch Faces
    • Updated Faces
      • Chronograph Pro gains a tachymeter (Series 4 or later only)
      • X-Large adds support for one large complication
      • Photos face provides colour filters for pictures and more customization options
      • Updated colours for many watch faces
    • Complications
      • Apps may now include more than one complication
      • New and/or updated Sleep, Shortcuts, Camera Remote, Moon Phase and World Clock complications
    • Watch Face Sharing
      • Ability to share custom Watch Faces through Mail, Messages, or posting a link
  • Sleep Tracking
    • Apple Watch uses the accelerometer to measure sleep
    • See logged sleep, manage schedules and set alarms in the new Sleep app
    • New alarm sounds and haptics
    • Wind Down mode
    • Sleep Mode automatically enables Do Not Disturb and disables Raise to Wake
    • Reminders to charge your Apple Watch in the evening if below 30% charge
    • Notifications on iPhone when Apple Watch is finished charging
    • Wake up screen displays after your alarm, showing the weather and your battery level
  • Activity
    • Workouts
      • New Dance, Functional Strength Training, Core Training and Cooldown workouts
    • Mobility Metrics
      • Support for low-range cardio fitness, walking speed, stair-descent speed, stair-ascent speed, six-minute walk distance, double support time, step length, and asymmetry metrics in the Health app on iPhone, tracked by Apple Watch
    • Exercise and Stand goals can now be modified in addition to the Move goal
    • Activity app renamed Fitness app on iPhone
  • Maps
    • Cycling Directions
      • Cycling specific directions in Maps in supported areas
      • Choose routes based on intensity and duration
      • Alerts about upcoming stairs and dismount locations
  • Handwashing (Series 4 or later only)
    • Automatic handwashing detection with a 20-second timer
    • Handwashing reminder when arriving home
  • Siri
    • Translation support for 10 languages
    • Support for Announce Messages with Siri
    • New Siri UI
  • New Apps
    • New Shortcuts app, and ability to choose visible shortcuts on Apple Watch from iPhone
    • New Memoji app with support for editing and creating new Memoji (Series 4 or later only)
  • Dictation
    • Dictation is processed on-device (Series 4 or later only)
  • Privacy
    • Microphone icon appears onscreen when in use
  • Headphones
    • Ability to set a decibel volume limit for headphones
    • Reminders to reduce volume if above World Health Organization's limits
  • Family Setup (Cellular Series 4 or later only, in supported countries)
    • Pair Apple Watches for family members that do not have their own iPhone, aimed at children and seniors
    • Activity metrics are more accurate for children, and Apple Watch now measures move minutes rather than active calories
    • Apple Cash Family allows children to receive money using Apple Cash
    • Enhanced parental controls, including approved contacts and apps, and Schooltime
  • Schooltime
    • Displays a standard yellow watch face and turns on Do Not Disturb to limit distractions
    • Can be manually enabled through the Control Centre, or scheduled and remotely enabled for child watches using Family Setup
7.0.1 iOS 14.0.1 18R395 September 24, 2020; 2 years ago (2020-09-24)
  • Fixes an issue where some payment cards in Wallet were disabled for some users
7.0.2 18R402 October 12, 2020; 2 years ago (2020-10-12)
  • Fixes an issue where the battery drained too quickly
  • Fixes an issue that blocked access to the ECG app
7.0.3 18R410 October 19, 2020; 2 years ago (2020-10-19)
  • Fixes an issue that causes unexpected restarts with Series 3 watches
7.1 iOS 14.2 18R590 November 5, 2020; 2 years ago (2020-11-05)
  • Headphone audio level notifications
  • Adds ECG and irregular heart rhythm notifications support in South Korea and Russia
  • Fixed: Unlocking Mac with Apple Watch fails
  • Fixed: Always-on display failure on Apple Watch Series 6
7.2 18S564 December 14, 2020; 23 months ago (2020-12-14)
  • Adds support for Apple Fitness+ (Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, UK, and US only)
  • Cardio fitness notifications
  • AFiB notifications now available at heart rates above 100 BPM
  • Adds ECG support in Taiwan
  • Adds braille displays with VoiceOver support
  • Family Setup now available in Bahrain, Canada, Norway, and Spain
7.3 18S801 January 26, 2021; 22 months ago (2021-01-26)
  • New Unity watch face
  • New Time to Walk podcasts in Apple Fitness+
  • Add ECG support in Japan, Mayotte, Philippines, and Thailand (Series 4 or later)
  • Add Irregular heart rhythm notifications in Japan, Mayotte, Philippines, Taiwan, and Thailand
  • Fix an unresponsive issue when zoom is enabled in the Control Center and Notification Center
7.3.1 18S811 February 15, 2021; 21 months ago (2021-02-15)
  • Fix for a charging issue when in Power Reserve mode (Series 5 and SE only)
7.3.2 18S821 March 8, 2021; 20 months ago (2021-03-08)
  • Important security updates
7.3.3 18S830 March 26, 2021; 20 months ago (2021-03-26)
  • Important security updates
7.4 iOS 14.5 18T195 April 26, 2021; 19 months ago (2021-04-26)
  • Unlock iPhone with Face ID using Apple Watch when wearing a face mask
  • Set the Bluetooth device type in Settings
  • Airplay audio and video content of Apple Fitness+ workouts
  • Add ECG support on in Australia and Vietnam (Series 4 or later)
  • Add irregular heart rhythm notifications in Australia and Vietnam
7.4.1 iOS 14.5.1 18T201 May 3, 2021; 18 months ago (2021-05-03)
  • Important security updates
7.5 iOS 14.6 18T567 May 24, 2021; 18 months ago (2021-05-24)
  • Subscription content in Podcasts app
  • Apple Card with a Family Sharing
  • Add ECG support in Malaysia and Peru (Series 4 or later)
  • Add irregular heart rhythm notifications in Malaysia and Peru
7.6 iOS 14.7 18U63 July 19, 2021; 16 months ago (2021-07-19)
  • Add ECG support for multiple countries (Series 4 or later)
  • Add irregular heart rhythm notifications for multiple countries
7.6.1 iOS 14.7.1 18U70 July 29, 2021; 16 months ago (2021-07-29)
  • Important security updates
7.6.2 iOS 14.8 18U80 September 13, 2021; 14 months ago (2021-09-13)

watchOS 8

Apple announced watchOS 8 at the 2021 Worldwide Developers Conference on June 7, 2021. Apple Watch models supporting watchOS 7 can also support watchOS 8. However, like watchOS 7, watchOS 8 has limited support on Apple Watch Series 3. It is also the last version of watchOS to be supported on Apple Watch models with 32-bit processors.

Table of versions: watchOS 8.x – Apple Watch[57]

Limited support on the Apple Watch Series 3.

watchOS version iOS version based on Build Release date Features
8.0 15.0 19R343 Preinstalled Apple Watch Series 7 (GPS + Cellular) only
19R346 September 20, 2021; 14 months ago (2021-09-20)
  • Watch Faces
    • New Portrait photo and World Time watch face (Series 4 and later)
  • Home
    • View the status and accessory controls at the top
    • Accessories and scenes displayed changes depending on the time of day and usage
    • View all HomeKit camera feeds together
    • New Favorites section
  • Wallet
    • Added support for home, hotel, and office keys
    • Added support for car keys (Series 6 and later)
    • Added support for Remote keyless car features
  • Workout
    • New tai chi and pilates workouts
    • Automatic workout detection for outdoor cycling
    • Outdoor cycling workout tracking improvements
    • Hiking workout tracking improvements (aged 13 and below)
    • Voice feedback during workout
  • Fitness+
    • New guided meditations sessions
    • New pilates workouts
    • New picture-in-picture support
    • New search filters
  • Mindfulness
    • Breathe session improvements
    • New reflect session
  • Sleep
    • Monitor respiratory rate when sleeping
    • View respiratory rate data recorded in Health app
  • Messages
    • Use the Scribble, dictation, and emoji methods simultaneously
    • Use Digital Crown to scroll when editing dictated text
    • Enter hashtag to search for GIF images
  • Photos
    • New Photos app
    • Share photos
  • Find My
    • New Find Items app
    • New Find Devices app
  • Weather
    • Support for precipitation and severe weather notifications alerts
    • New precipitation graph
  • Miscellaneous
    • Focus function added
    • Sync Focus state with iOS, iPadOS or macOS
    • New Contacts app
    • New Tips app
    • Redesigned Music app
    • Share songs, albums, and playlists
    • Run simultaneous timers at the same time
    • Cycle Tracking improvements
    • New Memoji stickers and outfits
    • Measure headphone audio level in Control Center
    • Transit card support in Wallet for Family Setup users in multiple countries
    • Google account support in Calendar and Mail for Family Setup users
    • New AssistiveTouch gestures supported
    • Add ECG support in Lithuania (Series 4 or later)
    • Add irregular heart rhythm notifications in Lithuania
8.0.1 15.0.2 19R354 October 11, 2021; 13 months ago (2021-10-11)
  • Software update progress bar fix (Series 3 only)
  • Fix a bug with Accessibility settings (Series 3 only)
8.1 15.1 19R570 October 25, 2021; 13 months ago (2021-10-25)
  • Fall detection improvements and new settings (Series 4 and later)
  • Support COVID-19 vaccination cards in Apple Wallet
  • Fitness+ SharePlay support
  • Improve Always-On time accuracy (Series 5 and later)
8.1.1 19R580 November 18, 2021; 12 months ago (2021-11-18) Apple Watch Series 7 (GPS + Cellular) only
  • Charging issue fix
8.3 15.2 19S55 December 13, 2021; 11 months ago (2021-12-13)
  • Enable ECG for China (Series 4 or later)
  • Compass no longer shows altitude (Series 3-5) latitude and longitude in mainland China[58]
  • New Apple Music Voice plan option
  • New App Privacy Report
  • Fix for notifications not being muted during Mindfulness sessions
8.4 15.3 19S546 January 26, 2022; 10 months ago (2022-01-26)
  • Important security updates
  • Charging fix for select chargers
8.4.1 19S550 February 1, 2022; 10 months ago (2022-02-01) Apple Watch Series 4 or later only
  • Bug fixes
8.4.2 15.3.1 19S553 February 10, 2022; 9 months ago (2022-02-10)
  • Important security updates
  • Bug fixes
8.5 15.4 19T242 March 14, 2022; 8 months ago (2022-03-14)
  • Authenticate Apple TV purchases and subscriptions
  • Support for EU COVID-19 vaccination cards in Apple Wallet
  • Afib tracking improvements for irregular rhythm notifications in multiple countries
  • New audio description in Fitness+
8.5.1 15.4.1 19T252 March 31, 2022; 8 months ago (2022-03-31)
  • Important security updates
  • Bug fixes
8.6 15.5 19T572 May 16, 2022; 6 months ago (2022-05-16)
  • Add ECG support in Mexico (Series 4 or later)
  • Add irregular heart rhythm notifications in Mexico
8.7 15.6 19U66 July 20, 2022; 4 months ago (2022-07-20) Final version for Apple Watch Series 4 or later to support iPhone 6S, 6S Plus, SE (1st gen), 7 and 7 Plus; watchOS 9 requires iPhone 8 or later and iOS 16 or later, and watchOS 8.7.1 is only for the Series 3
  • Important security updates
  • Bug fixes
8.7.1 15.6.1 19U67 August 17, 2022; 3 months ago (2022-08-17) Apple Watch Series 3 only

Final version for the Series 3

  • Restart issue fix
  • Final version to support iPhone 6S, 6S Plus, SE (1st gen), 7 and 7 Plus

watchOS 9

Apple announced watchOS 9 at the 2022 Worldwide Developers Conference on June 6, 2022. With this release, Apple dropped support for Apple Watch Series 3, making it the first version of watchOS to run exclusively on Apple Watch models with 64-bit processors.

Table of versions: watchOS 9.x – Apple Watch[59]
watchOS version iOS version based on Build Release date Features
9.0 16.0 20R361 September 12, 2022; 2 months ago (2022-09-12) Drops support for the Apple Watch Series 3, iPhone 6S, 6S Plus, SE (1st gen), 7 and 7 Plus
  • Watch Faces
    • New Astronomy, Lunar, Playtime, Metropolitan, and Nike watch faces
    • Complication improvements
    • Portrait photo watch face improvements
    • Change watch face depending on Focus
  • Workout
    • Access workout view during a workout
    • New heart rate zone, elevation view, and running power graphs
    • Additional running metrics (SE, Series 6 and later)
    • New custom and Multisport workout option
    • New workout alerts
    • Pool Swim workout improvements
    • New swimming metrics
  • Fitness+
    • New trainer guidance and personal fitness metrics displayed
  • Compass
    • New Compass app (SE, Series 5 and later)
    • New compass waypoints, and backtrack GPS function (SE, Series 6 and later)
  • Sleep
    • Sleep tracking improvements
    • New comparisons chart
  • Medications
    • Add and schedule medications
    • View medication schedule
    • Medication reminders
    • New watch complication
  • AFib History
    • New weekly summary notifications
    • AFib tracking improvements
    • Export data as a PDF
  • Family Setup
    • New Podcasts app
    • New support for Yahoo and Outlook emails
  • Accessibility
    • New AssistiveTouch actions
    • Ability to pair a Bluetooth keyboard
    • Airplay Apple Watch to iPhone
  • Miscellaneous
    • New Low Power Mode
    • International roaming support (SE, Series 5 and later)
    • New keyboard languages (Series 7 and later)
    • New Communication safety setting in Screen Time
    • New cycle deviation notifications alerts
    • New cardio recovery metrics
    • Reminders, Calendar, and Podcast app improvements
    • Minor Dock enhancements
    • New notification banner design when in use
9.0.1 20R8380 September 22, 2022; 2 months ago (2022-09-22) Apple Watch Ultra only
  • Fixes an issue with audio on phone calls on the Apple Watch Ultra
9.0.2 20R8383 October 10, 2022; 53 days ago (2022-10-10)
  • Fixes an issue causing interruptions with Spotify
  • Fixes an issue with snooze alarm notifications continuing after deleting the alarm
  • Fixes syncing of Wallet and Fitness data for newly-paired watch
  • Fixes an issue with audio interruptions on Series 8 and Ultra
9.1 16.1 20S75 October 24, 2022; 39 days ago (2022-10-24)
  • Option to extend battery life during select workouts by reducing heart rate and GPS reading frequency (Series 8, SE 2nd generation, and Ultra)
  • Download music while on battery via Wi-Fi or cellular
  • Add support for Matter
  • Fixes incorrect voice feedback of average pace for the Outdoor Run workout
  • Fixes an issue where the chance of rain probability shown in Weather app may be different from iPhone
  • Fixes an issue with the hourly weather complication showing AM for PM hours
  • Fixes an issue with time duration getting stuck during Strength Training Workout
  • Fixes an issue where VoiceOver fails to announce the app name when multiple notifications are received
  • Important security updates
9.2 beta 4 16.2 beta 4 20S5357b December 1, 2022; 1 day ago (2022-12-01)

See also


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