Apple released watchOS 10, a milestone update bringing a new visual language to apps to see more information at a glance, a new Smart Stack to show relevant widgets right when they’re needed, and delightful new watch faces.
Bluetooth connectivity for power meters, speed sensors, and cadence sensors arrive for cyclists, unlocking new metrics and Workout Views, and cycling workouts will automatically show up as a Live Activity on iPhone and utilize the full screen.
Additionally, new Compass Waypoints and Maps capabilities can further help during outdoor adventures. The Mindfulness app offers new tools to support mental health with state of mind logging, and Apple Watch also introduces the ability to measure time spent in daylight using the ambient light sensor.
New Design Language and Navigation
Apple Watch apps, including Weather, Stocks, Home, Maps, Messages, World Clock, and others, now utilize more of the Apple Watch display for more glanceable information. The Activity app on Apple Watch and the Fitness app on iPhone make tracking daily movement even easier with more details, improvements to sharing, a redesigned trophy case, and Apple Fitness+ trainer tips.
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. For example, at the beginning of the day, Weather will show the forecast, or, when traveling, the Smart Stack will show boarding passes from Wallet. Calendar and Reminders will reshuffle to the top to display upcoming meetings or tasks, and apps that are running, such as Podcasts, will also move up so they are readily available. Smart Stack also enables users to enjoy a beautiful watch face, like Portraits, while still offering a way to quickly access information they care about.
Control Center is now accessible using the side button, making it easy to quickly open it at any time, over any app. A double-click of the Digital Crown reverts back to any apps used recently.
Pause playback of video: Apple Watch Smart Stack
New Watch Faces
watchOS 10 introduces five new watch faces: Snoopy, Palette, Solar Analog, Nike Globe, and Modular Ultra for Apple Watch Ultra.
- The beloved comic strip Peanuts comes to life on Apple Watch with the Snoopy watch face featuring Snoopy and Woodstock. The characters interact and play with the watch hands, react to the weather conditions in the area, or even get active when the user does a workout.
- The Palette face depicts time in a wide variety of colors using three distinct overlapping layers, and as the time changes, the colors on the display also shift.
- Solar Analog depicts time on a luminous dial while using light and shadow to reflect the position of the sun throughout the day.
- The Nike Globe face lights up the lines on the globe with each passing second.
- Modular Ultra takes advantage of the large display of Apple Watch Ultra, using the outermost edge to present real-time data, including seconds, altitude, or depth. It offers the most complications of any Apple Watch face to customize for sports, outdoor adventures, and ocean and water activities. The ambient light sensor on Apple Watch Ultra now automatically activates Night Mode on this watch face and the Wayfinder face in the dark.
Apple Watch is a great device for cyclists, with features including automatic Workout reminders, calorimetry for e-biking, and Fall Detection. watchOS 10 takes this popular activity even further with advanced new metrics, views, and experiences.
When a cycling workout is started from Apple Watch in watchOS 10, it will automatically show up as a Live Activity on iPhone and, when tapped, will utilize the full screen. Workout Views, such as Heart Rate Zones, Elevation, Race Route, Custom Workouts, and a new Cycling Speed view, have been optimized for the display size of iPhone, which can be mounted to a bike’s handlebars for convenient, easy viewing during a ride.
Apple Watch can now automatically connect to Bluetooth-enabled cycling accessories, such as power meters, speed sensors, and cadence sensors. This enables brand-new metrics, including cycling power (watts) and cadence (RPM), and additional Workout Views, including Power Zones. Bluetooth connection is supported for Indoor and Outdoor cycling workouts, as well as GymKit.
New algorithms combining sensor data from Apple Watch and connected power meters can estimate Functional Threshold Power (FTP), the highest level of cycling intensity that a rider could theoretically maintain for an hour. Using FTP, Apple Watch calculates personalized Power Zones, used to easily see the current zone and track how long is spent in each, which is an effective and popular way of improving performance.
Compass and Maps
The Compass app on Apple Watch is a helpful tool for exploring the great outdoors. With watchOS 10, Compass automatically generates two new waypoints when available: A Last Cellular Connection Waypoint will estimate the last place with cellular reception, which may be useful for checking messages or making a call. In case of emergencies, a Last Emergency Call Waypoint will estimate where on the route their device had the last connection to any available carrier’s network so that an emergency call may be made.
When preparing routes, a new Elevation view uses altimeter data, offering a three-dimensional view of saved waypoints. And starting in the U.S., Apple Maps displays a new topographic map featuring contour lines, hill shading, elevation details, and points of interest. Users can also search for nearby trails and trailheads, with place cards that include detailed information, like trail length, type, and difficulty.
With the Mindfulness app in watchOS 10, users can discreetly and conveniently log their momentary emotions and daily moods. Users can turn the Digital Crown to scroll through engaging, multidimensional shapes to choose how they are feeling, select what is having the biggest impact on them, and further describe their feelings.
In the Health app in iOS 17 and iPadOS 17, users can see valuable insights to identify what might be contributing to their state of mind — whether it’s associations or lifestyle factors, like sleep or exercise.
Myopia, or nearsightedness, is the leading cause of vision impairment globally. To reduce the risk of myopia, the International Myopia Institute recommends children spend at least 80-120 minutes a day outdoors. With watchOS 10, Apple Watch introduces the ability to measure time spent in daylight using the ambient light sensor. Users can view this information in the Health app on iPhone or iPad.
Time spent in daylight can provide additional benefits to physical and mental health for all ages. And children who do not have their own iPhone can use Family Setup to pair their Apple Watch to their parent’s iPhone, giving parents visibility into the amount of time their kids are spending in daylight with Health Sharing.
Additional watchOS 10 Updates
- Ultra Wideband brings deeper integration between Apple Watch and HomePod. When an Apple Watch user gets within 4 meters of a HomePod playing audio, Apple Watch will launch Now Playing to control the media.
- When a paired Apple Watch is in range of its companion iPhone, offline maps provide access to turn-by-turn navigation, estimated time of arrival, places in Maps, and more while away from Wi-Fi or cellular services.
- Users can now initiate playback of a FaceTime video message and view it directly on Apple Watch. Additionally, Group FaceTime audio is now supported on Apple Watch.
- The Medications app can send follow-up reminders if a medication hasn’t been logged 30 minutes after the scheduled time.
- Apple Fitness+ introduces Custom Plans, a new way to receive a custom workout or meditation schedule based on day, duration, workout type, and more; as well as Stacks, which allows users to select multiple workouts and meditations to do seamlessly back to back.
- In updates later this year, media suggestions will appear at the top of the Smart Stack if nothing is playing on a nearby HomePod, NameDrop allows users to easily exchange contact information by bringing Apple Watch close to someone else’s iPhone or Apple Watch, and Audio Focus gives users the ability to prioritize the volume of the music or the trainers’ voices in Apple Fitness+.
Apple Watch offers enterprise customers features to enhance productivity and safety in the office or in the field, such as hands-free communication and responding to notifications on the go, or Fall Detection on a job site. watchOS 10 introduces support for Mobile Device Management (MDM), enabling enterprise customers to remotely and centrally install apps and configure accounts on a fleet of devices, with features such as passcode enforcement, and configuring Wi-Fi and VPN settings. With this update, Apple Watch can further help improve employee wellness, productivity and health, and safety monitoring.
watchOS 10 is now available for Apple Watch Series 4 and later, and requires iPhone XS or later running iOS 17. Not all features are available on all devices and in all regions.