The next major Apple Watch software update will likely be called watchOS 9 and will be delivered on the rumored Apple Watch 8. While we don’t know much about watchOS 9 yet, we can make some guesses about the release date. and compatibility based on the previous ones.
We can start to formulate a wishlist of the features we want to see happen on all the best Apple Watch models eligible for watchOS 9. While watchOS 8 has improved Apple’s mental health efforts with a new Mindfulness app and has finally supported multiple timers, there is more that we hope the smartwatch will deliver this year.
Like clockwork, Apple is showing off the progress of its latest version of watchOS at the annual Global Developer Conference. At WWDC 2022, we expect watchOS 9 to premiere alongside iOS 16, new software for top MacBooks and more.
Here’s what we know about watchOS 9 and what it means for current Apple Watch users, along with the features we really want to see materialize.
watchOS 9 release date and beta possible
There is no confirmed release date for watchOS 9 yet. The exact release date for new versions of watchOS comes out at the same time as Apple announces its new smartwatch; it is usually in the fall.
Prior to the rollout of the final watchOS 9 version, beta versions will likely be available for developers and public testers. The developer version typically launches shortly after WWDC, while the public version rolls out in mid-summer. For reference, the first public beta of watchOS 8 was released on July 1, 2021.
watchOS 9 compatibility
When it comes to watchOS 9 compatibility, we don’t know if Apple will expand support for all Apple Watch models currently on sale. At the very least, the Apple Watch 7 and Apple Watch SE are almost guaranteed to get watchOS 9. We’re less sure about the compatibility of the Apple Watch 3, although the four-year-old smartwatch is still sold by Apple.
Apple Watch 4, Apple Watch 5, and Apple Watch 6 users should also be eligible for watchOS 9. And, as always, the latest watchOS will be free to install. Apple does not charge for software updates.
WatchOS 9 features: what we hope to see
If you know how to use the Apple Watch, the watchOS 9 experience shouldn’t be all that different – just improved and probably offering new tools. So what are these new watchOS 9 features we’re waiting for? If past updates are any indication, we can assume that Apple is going to introduce health and fitness upgrades.
We’ll likely get deeper Apple Watch integrations with HomeKit, Apple Wallet, and Apple Fitness Plus. The watchOS 9 software could also introduce a new native app for Apple Watch.
Health application: If one app is currently missing from the Apple Watch experience, it is the Health app. The Health app on your iPhone acts as a dashboard for all of your wellness data, from your sleep metrics and daily workout progress to noise notifications and symptom tracking. Since a significant portion of this information is collected from your Apple Watch, it would make sense for a similar dashboard to be available on your wrist. Right now, you can see your sleep tracking, heart rate trends, and activity in separate apps. Why not offer a destination that combines them?
Application Notes: Besides the Health app, the app that we would really like to see on the Apple Watch is a native Notes program. Ideally, the Apple Watch Notes app would sync through iCloud with the Notes app on your iPhone. Whether you need to remember your shopping, create a to-do list, or jot down a creative idea, a Notes app would let you do it without needing your iPhone. Likewise, you can reference your notes that you wrote on your iPhone from your wrist. You can use any of the best Apple Watch apps for note taking, but a native version would be better, especially now that the Apple Watch 7 has a QWERTY keyboard.
Keyboard for more Apple Watch models: On that note, one of the biggest improvements between the Apple Watch 7 and the Apple Watch 6 is the addition of a full QWERTY keyboard. We like the keyboard for texting (much better than using Scribble) but it’s limited to the newer Apple Watch 7 sizes. We would like the keyboard to be integrated into older Apple Watch models so that more Apple Watch users can benefit from wrist typing.
Recovery tools: Apple Watch rings are great for tracking daily activity goals, but sometimes your body just needs a break. We want the Apple Watch to provide the occasional day off without sacrificing your footage, perhaps based on your sleep data or other health metrics. Rest is an important part of any training program.
Be sure to bookmark this page for the latest watchOS 9 rumors leading up to the official software reveal.