Apple previewed watchOS 10 at WWDC 2023. The wearable software update brings a design overhaul with widgets in one of the biggest watchOS updates. When watchOS was first designed, it came with a focus on the widgets which later on shifted towards watchOS apps. But now Apple is moving back to widgets for watchOS’ interface.
Remember the Siri watch face that brings a carousel of widgets as you rotate the Digital Crown? A similar experience will now be available in other watch faces, too. Coming in a new Smart Stack, rotating the Digital Crown will now display widgets that adapt to your context in any watch face. For instance, the Smart Stack will show forecast from Weather at the beginning of the day, or show boarding passes from Wallet when traveling. Control Center is now accessible using the side button over any app, and double clicking the Digital Crown reverts back to the app.
It’s not a new watchOS update without new watch faces. The watchOS 10 introduces two new artistic watch faces — Palette and Snoopy. The Palette watch face uses a wide range of colors that shift as the time changes, while the latter features Snoopy and Woodstock.
For cyclists, the watchOS 10 brings the ability to connect to Bluetooth-enabled cycling sensors and view metrics such as power and cadence during cycling sessions. When a cycling workout is started, it will automatically show up as a Live Activity on iPhone, and will make use of the entire iPhone display to show workout views when tapped. The watch can also estimate the cyclist’s functional threshold power.
Speaking of the apps, the Compass app can now generate two new waypoints in watchOS 10. One of the waypoints, Last Cellular Connection Waypoint, will estimate the last place with a cellular reception, which may be useful for making a call or syncing messages in times when you’re hiking. The other waypoint, Last Emergency Call Waypoint, will be helpful in case of emergencies, as it will estimate where you last had access to any carrier’s network. A new Elevation view will render a 3D view of the saved waypoints using altimeter data, in addition to a new topographic map for users in the United States.
Apple is putting ample focus on mental health as well. In watchOS 10, you can log your momentary emotions and daily moods with the Mindfulness app. Using the Digital Crown, you can “scroll through engaging, multidimensional shapes” to choose how you are feeling and then reflect on it. There are also depression and anxiety assessments available in the Health app, which are often used in clinics. Additionally, to reduce the risk of myopia or nearsightedness, watchOS 10 brings the ability to measure time spent in daylight using the ambient light sensor. The insights will be available in the Health app in iOS 17 and iPadOS 17.
As for Apple Fitness Plus, you can receive a custom workout or meditation schedule based on your preference, as well as select multiple workouts and meditations back to back through Stacks. There’s also a feature called Audio Focus which lets you prioritize the volume of the music or the trainers’ voices.
With watchOS 10, you can view a FaceTime video message, or join a Group FaceTime audio call directly on the Watch. You can also schedule your medication routine with the Medications app. The watchOS 10 software update will be available this fall for Apple Watch Series 4 or later paired with iPhone Xs or later on iOS 17. The developer beta is available now, and the public beta will be available next month.