Everything new in watchOS 9: Watch faces, workout views, medication tracking, and more

Everything new in watchOS 9: Watch faces, workout views, medication tracking, and more

Apple revealed watchOS 9 during the main keynote of WWDC 2022. This operating system comes packed with changes and additions that further make this all-day buddy a handy wearable. From a rich set of accessibility features, to new watch faces, workout views, and fitness-focused improvements — watchOS 9 further supercharges the tiny display that lives on our wrists. There’s a lot to unpack here, and we aspire to make your lives easier. Here’s everything you need to know about this version, including its release date, supported Apple Watch models, brand new introductions, and more.

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Will my Apple Watch get this watchOS 9?

watchOS 9

Despite the Cupertino tech giant still selling the Apple Watch Series 3, this device won’t be receiving watchOS 9. Here are the models that are compatible with this release:

It’s worth noting that your paired device needs to be an iPhone 8 or a newer model running at least iOS 16.

When can I download watchOS 9?

Registered developers can download watchOS 9 beta right now. Those interested in trying out the beta builds but don’t want to pay for the developer program can join the public beta in July for free. After Apple patches the major bugs and smoothens out the performance, users can will get this update in the fall of 2022 – potentially around mid September.

How can I install watchOS 9?

watchOS 9

To help you figure this one out, we’ve prepared a tutorial on how to install the watchOS beta. Should you do it, though? Keep in mind that you won’t be able to downgrade to watchOS 8 once you run watchOS 9 beta without visiting an Apple Store. You can switch to the stable build by waiting for the final watchOS 9 version later this year.


watchOS 9: All of the new features

Workout additions

watchOS 9

Fitness tracking is one of the biggest selling points of the Apple Watch. It indeed does an excellent job providing various metrics — calories, distances, steps, elevation, intensity, and much, much more. watchOS 9 adds new workout views, allowing you to view different metrics during a workout. This makes it easier to focus on the goals you’re aiming at, by viewing the relevant statistics. Additionally, you now get to customize your workouts and even race against your past self.

Medication tracking

watchOS 9

Many people, especially adults, take medications on a daily basis. Sometimes keeping track can be challenging, especially when there’s a variety of them. watchOS 9 simplifies this aspect of our lives by introducing medications reminders. This allows you to log the pills you take and notifies you when it’s time to consume them. That’s mot to mention that it also warns you about mixing certain meds with alcohol, etc.

Richer sleep tracking

watchOS 9

Sleep tracking has always been a weakness on the Apple Watch. The smartwatch isn’t smart enough to tell when you’re sleeping if it’s not within the stable schedule you assign. So for those of us with messed up sleep cycles, the feature is pretty much useless and inaccurate. watchOS 9 can track the time spend in REM, Core, Deep sleep, or when you might’ve woken up. Of course, this doesn’t fix sleep tracking, but it’s a welcome addition nonetheless.

New watch faces

watchOS 9

With every major release, we get new watch faces, and watchOS 9 is no different. This version introduces Metropolitan, Playtime, Lunar, and Astronomy faces. It additionally tweaks some of the existing ones — allowing users to further customize them with a refreshed and expanded color palette. This makes the Apple Watch an even more customizable device that users can tweak based on their clothing, appearances, or moods.

Family setup

watchOS 9

Apple is a business — so it wants to sell as many watches as it possibly can. To further tempt parents to buy one for their child, watchOS 9 improves Family setup. iPhone-less kids can now listen to podcasts, access smart home devices, and unlock compatible doors using their wrists. These changes further push the company’s watch to becoming an independent device.

Accessibility

watchOS 9

Apple announced a while back that it is bringing new accessibility features to the Apple Watch. watchOS 9 makes this promise a reality. Users can now mirror their watches to their iPhones using AirPlay. This allows them to view the tiny screen on the bigger one and interact with it. Additionally, users can now double pinch to start a workout or take a photo.

Productivity

watchOS 9

Our watches’ small displays shouldn’t limit us from being productive. watchOS 9 brings new calendar views — allowing users to easily create events and check what their days or weeks look like. Additionally, to avoid distracting you, notifications will now appear as a small banner on top rather than a full screen alert when you’re using your watch. This doesn’t interrupt whatever task you’re working on. If you’re not using your watch, then the notifications will show up as they would normally do as full screen alerts that display the full details.


WWDC 2022 introduced some major changes on iOS 16, especially when it comes to the Lock Screen. watchOS 9 on the other hand was relatively lacking — in my opinion. We had higher expectations for the smol OS, and we only hope to see them come to life in next year’s version bump. Nonetheless, to many of us, WWDC22 was more enjoyable than last year’s conference. We have our fingers crossed for a more packed one in 2023.

    The Apple Watch Series 7 is the company's latest and greatest wearable. watchOS 9 further boosts its capabilities, making it an even greater device.

Which watchOS 9 feature do you like the most? Let us know in the comments section below.

About author

Mahmoud Itani
Mahmoud Itani

Mahmoud is an Istanbul-based Beiruti who has always sought freedom through writing. His hobbies include keeping up with tech news, writing articles about Apple devices & services, crocheting, meditating, and composing poetry. You’ll likely find him jogging at a park, swimming in open water, brainstorming at a coffeehouse, or merely lost in nature. He can be reached on Twitter @Mahmoudzitani or via [email protected]

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