Apple announced watchOS 9, the successor to watchOS 8 for Apple Watch 8 and earlier, at WWDC 2022, and is now available on September 12, which was confirmed at the company’s September 7 “Far Out” event.
It’s a brand new look for the new Apple Watch Ultra, Apple Watch 8, Apple Watch SE 2, and earlier Apple wearables – although the Apple Watch 3 will no longer be supported even though it’s still on sale – and provides better running rates, better sleep tracking , more medical options and charging more watch faces.
Apple has talked a lot about the fertility improvements that will come to watchOS 9 in the 8 series, such as the body temperature sensor, which will better inform users when ovulation may occur. The latest watch also features “car crash detection”, with a G-force accelerometer and an improved gyroscope that can detect impacts.
There’s also an Ultra-only night mode, along with a new ‘battery optimization’ mode coming later this year.
Here’s everything that was announced during the June speech and the September 7 event, as well as details on how to get the new software.
watchOS 9: Move to Chase
- What is this? The latest major watchOS update
- When will it appear? Now available
- How much is it? It’s free
The new watchOS 9 is the latest update to Apple’s own wearable operating system. The update is free to download for all Apple Watch users with compatible devices (Apple Watch 4 and later) and is expected to be available in the fall.
Apple Watch Series 4 and later will also have a “Low Power Mode” that mirrors this feature on iPhone and iPad.
watchOS 9: New Features
A lot of new stuff is coming to watchOS 9. First, four new watch faces were announced: the remastered Astronomy face, the lunar dial that supports Chinese, Islamic and Hebrew calendars, the Playtime dial with interactive quirky numbers, and the Metropolitan, with a fog that dynamically stretches as you turn the crown.
Older faces go through a, well, facelift as well. Apple said that “improved and modernized complications on some of the most classic watch faces like Utility, Simple, and Activity Analog,” along with editing background colors are available for favorites like Modular and X-Large.
Chinese scripts have been added as options for two faces, California and Typograph, while Portraits show “depth effect” on more photos, including cats, dogs and landscapes.
watchOS 9 introduces new banner notifications and active apps that can be pinned to the top of the watch face. When you listen to podcasts on the go, Search and Listen will now be available on Apple Watch, which is controlled by the crown. Callkit allows you to make and mute calls. Six new languages for the QWERTY keyboard were also mentioned: French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese (Brazil) and Spanish (Mexico, Spain, Latin America).
Lots of new stuff here. watchOS 9 adds three new running form metrics to track how efficiently you run by extrapolating your torso movement independently of your arm swing through machine learning to ensure accuracy. Stride length, ground contact time and vertical oscillation data are completely new to watchOS 9 and can be added to the new easy-to-read training views.
Known metrics such as splits and ordinates have now been reorganized. You can also see what Heart Rate Zone you are in that Fitbit and Polar have been doing for a while. However, you can add custom wrist-mounted alerts to notify you when you enter and exit certain heart rate zones, allowing you to train towards specific goals and fitness levels.
Speaking of which, custom workouts allow you to improve certain metrics with interval training. The new power metric can be monitored live during your sessions, including running, hiking, cycling, functional strength training and more.
Apple fights for the Garmin crown thanks to the multi-sport mode. A new triathlon-focused mode will let you switch automatically between swimming, cycling, and running on the fly. Apple also states: “Swimmers can now track their performance using the SWOLF score – the number of strokes combined with the time in seconds it takes to swim one stretch of the pool. Users can view their SWOLF average for each set in the training summary. ”
Finally, there’s more support for Apple Fitness +. Fitness + workouts can now show directions on your watch screen during HIIT workouts, cycling, rowing, and treadmill workouts. These guidelines include strokes per minute (SPM) for rowing, revolutions per minute (RPM) for cycling, and incline for walkers and runners.
Fitness + subscribers no longer need an Apple TV to stream workouts. Users can now use AirPlay to stream workouts and meditation with all the usual on-screen gauges to compatible third-party TVs and other smart devices.
Health, sleep and well-being
In the Sleep app, your sleep stages can determine and indicate whether you are in light, deep or REM sleep mode. So far, nothing new: But the watch can help advance ‘sleep science’ by making data available to specialized sleep scientists in the Research app.
Heart health is gaining ground with the catchy-sounding afib story. This feature links lifestyle factors such as exercise, sleep, and weight with your heart health to see how it affects AF. Apple expects to receive FDA approval on the history of AFib shortly, allowing AH to be used in a medical context.
You can also track and manage medications on your watch or in the Health app on your phone. You can create drug lists or use iPhone camera to track drugs by scanning the label where it will automatically add the drug to the existing list.
In the United States alone, drug interactions (a reaction between two or more substances ingested) cause 250,000 deaths. hospitalization annually. Apple can now use your drug list to look at critical, severe, or moderate drug interactions you may encounter, which works under Health Sharing. You can easily invite family members to share their health data.
watchOS 9: Supported devices
We just heard that watchOS 9 will be supported on Apple Watch 8, Ultra, SE 2 and lower, but support will work all the way to Series 4 devices.
If you have an older watch, that’s great news as you’ll still be able to use many of the features displayed during your speech.