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Apple Watch Series 6 vs Watch Series 9: Should you upgrade?

What a (little) difference three years make.
By
January 31, 2024
An Apple Watch Series 9 displays the app screen.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

The Apple Watch Series 9 aims to be the Cupertino company’s new best smartwatch with onboard computational smarts, a brighter screen, and a new chipset. But is it a massive departure from older models like the Series 6? Apple’s 2020 smartwatch is still an excellent wearable, so how do the two compare? Find out in our Apple Watch Series 6 vs Watch Series 9 comparison.

Apple Watch Series 6 vs Watch Series 9: At a glance

The two Apple Watches are three generations removed, but what are the differences? Find a quick summary below.

  • The Apple Watch Series 9 has a much brighter display than the Series 6.
  • While the Series 6 has a titanium body option, the Series 9 is only available in steel and aluminum.
  • The Apple Watch Series 6 is smaller (40mm and 44mm) than the Series 9 (41mm and 45mm).
  • The Series 9 now features a neural processor that allows onboard Siri computations. The Series 6 does not.
  • Unlike the Series 6, the Series 9 comes in a pink colorway.
  • The Series 6's blood oxygen tracking system remains functional, while it's disabled on the Series 9 due to a patent dispute.

Apple Watch Series 6 vs Watch Series 9 specs

Apple Watch Series 9Apple Watch Series 6
Display
Apple Watch Series 9
LTPO OLED Retina
396 x 484 pixels (45mm)

352 x 430 pixels (41 mm)
Always-on display

Up to 2000 nits brightness
1 nit minimum brightness
Apple Watch Series 6
LTPO OLED Retina
368 x 448 pixels
Always-on display

Up to 1000 nits brightness
Dimensions and weight
Apple Watch Series 9
45mm:
45 x 38 x 10.7mm
Aluminum: 38.8g
Stainless steel: 51.5g

41mm:
41 x 35 x 10.7mm
Aluminum: 32g
Stainless steel: 42.3g
Apple Watch Series 6
44mm:
44 x 38 x 10.7mm
Aluminum: 36.5g
Stainless steel: 47.1g
Titanium: 41.3g

40mm:
40 x 34 x 10.7mm
Aluminum: 30.5g
Stainless steel: 39.7g
Titanium: 34.6g
Durability
Apple Watch Series 9
WR50
IP6X-certified
Apple Watch Series 6
WR50
SoC
Apple Watch Series 9
Apple S9 with 64-bit dual-core processor
Apple W3
Apple U2 chip (Ultra-wideband)
4-core Neural Engine
Apple Watch Series 6
Apple S6 with 64-bit dual-core processor
Apple W3
Apple U1 chip (Ultra-wideband)
RAM
Apple Watch Series 9
1GB
Apple Watch Series 6
1GB
Storage
Apple Watch Series 9
32GB
Apple Watch Series 6
32GB
Battery
Apple Watch Series 9
18 hours
45 min to 80% charge

USB-C magnetic fast charging cable
Apple Watch Series 6
18 hours
60 min to 80% charge

USB-C magnetic fast charging cable
Software
Apple Watch Series 9
WatchOS 10
Apple Watch Series 6
WatchOS 9
Case materials and colors
Apple Watch Series 9
GPS-only, GPS + Cellular
Aluminum: Midnight, Starlight, Silver, Product Red, and Pink

GPS + Cellular
Stainless steel: Graphite, Silver, Gold
Apple Watch Series 6
GPS-only, GPS + Cellular
Aluminum: Silver, Space Gray, Gold, Blue, Product Red
Apple Watch Nike: Aluminum available in Silver and Space Gray

GPS + Cellular
Stainless steel: Silver, Graphite, Gold
Titanium: Titanium, Space Black
Apple Watch Hermes: Available in Stainless Steel and Space Black Stainless Steel
Connectivity
Apple Watch Series 9
GPS/GNSS
GLONASS
Galileo
QZSS
BeiDou
Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz and 5GHz
Bluetooth 5.0

Model A2475 (41mm)
Model A2477 (45mm)
LTE bands: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 25, 26, 39, 40, 41, 66
Apple Watch Series 6
GPS/GNSS
GLONASS
Galileo
QZSS
Beidou
Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz and 5GHz
Bluetooth 5.0

Model A2293 (40mm)
Model A2294 (44mm)
LTE bands: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 25, 26, 39, 40, 41, 66
Sensors
Apple Watch Series 9
Always-on altimeter
Blood oxygen sensor
ECG
Third-generation optical heart sensor
Temperature sensor
Accelerometer
Gyroscope
Ambient light sensor
Apple Watch Series 6
Always-on altimeter
Blood oxygen sensor
ECG
Third-generation optical heart sensor
Accelerometer
Gyroscope
Ambient light sensor
Compatibility
Apple Watch Series 9
iOS 17 or later
Apple Watch Series 6
iOS 15 or later

Apple Watch Series 6 vs Watch Series 9: Features

A user reviews her Smart Stack on her Apple Watch Series 9.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

The Apple Watch Series 9 brings several new features to users’ wrists, at least compared to the Series 6.

Let’s start at the heart of the device. When we tested the Series 6 with the S6 chipset at the helm, we found it sprightly and up to running then-watchOS 7. Three generations later, the S9 pilots the Watch Series 9 with watchOS 10. The more advanced chip also packs a four-core neural engine, which Apple is using for the device’s biggest new features.

For one, all Siri commands now issued to the Series 9 are processed on the watch itself. This means there’s no need for an internet connection to request data from the device or when controlling it. The neural engine also enables a nifty new gesture, which Apple calls Double Tap. Users can tap their watch hand’s index finger and thumb twice to control their watch. This action is directly linked to the app’s primary button, so interacting with music, answering calls, or expanding notifications is possible using the gesture.

While the Series 6 does include ultra-wideband capabilities through its U1 chip, the Series 9’s U2 UWB silicon kicks up its functionality a notch. Users can now lean on this chipset to more precisely seek out their misplaced iPhone 15 models. The watch will guide users to the device if it’s within 20 feet — great for those who often forget where they stored their phone.

The Series 9 doesn’t gain any new fitness tracking sensors vs the Series 8, but there are some changes in relation to the Series 6. A temperature sensor, which helps to improve the female health and fertility tracking accuracy, is included on the newer watch. Interestingly, beyond this, you’ll find the same health sensor loadout on the Series 6 and the Series 9, all the way down to the third-generation heart rate sensor.

Finally, it’s worth touching on the battery life of both products. The Apple Watch Series 9 claims the same 18-hour battery life as the Series 6, but the newer watch will get to 80% charge from zero 15 minutes faster.

Apple Watch Series 6 vs Watch Series 9: Design

There isn’t much to differentiate the Series 9 from the Series 6, at least from a distance. But peek with a keener eye, and you’ll notice a few subtle changes over the generations.

The Series 6 comes in two body sizes, namely 40mm and 44mm options. These are slightly smaller than the Series 9’s 41mm and 45mm bodies. Notably, unlike the Series 9, only the Series 6 has a titanium chassis option. Both device lines can also be had in aluminum and stainless steel, but if you want a new Apple Watch made of titanium, the Watch Ultra line is your only option.

Beyond bodies, there’s a subtle difference between the two devices’ displays. The Series 9 benefits from the Series 8’s smaller bezels and larger overall display, which can accommodate more content than the Series 6. The Series 9 also enjoys a much brighter display than its older counterpart, peaking at 2,000 nits when required instead of the 1,000 nits peak of the Series 6. This should make peeking stats or notifications in bright sunlight much more manageable.

The Series 9 also includes an IP6X dust resistance rating, a certification that the Series 6 lacks. If you plan to use your smartwatch to train in dirty environments, like trails or gravel roads, the newer watch will give you more peace of mind.

Apple Watch Series 6 vs Watch Series 9: Price and colors

The Apple Watch Series 6 has been around since September 2020. Apple no longer sells it, but you can readily find it used or refurbished online. It launched at $399 but is no longer worth that price.

Colors on offer include blue, silver, Space Gray, gold, and Product Red for the aluminum case and silver, graphite, and gold for the stainless steel. The titanium option is available in its natural finish or Space Black.

Apple Watch Series 6Apple Watch Series 6
AA Editors Choice
Apple Watch Series 6
Bright OLED display • Accurate GPS • Excellent health monitoring
MSRP: $399.99
One of the best smartwatches on the market
The Apple Watch Series 6 is a powerful smartwatch with a pulse oximeter, a bright always-on display, and a fast and smooth software experience.

The Apple Watch Series 9 starts at $399 for the base aluminum model, jumps to $499 for the cheapest LTE variant, and $699 for the entry-level stainless steel option. Shipping kicked off on September 22, 2023.

Colors on offer include Midnight, Starlight, silver, Product Red, and a new pink option. Stainless steel bodies get gold, graphite, and silver options.

Apple Watch Series 9Apple Watch Series 9
AA Editors Choice
Apple Watch Series 9
Powerful new processor • Upgraded display with 2000 nit brightness • New gesture controls and Siri features
MSRP: $399.00
Apple's most convenient smartwatch
The new S9 chip makes the Apple Watch Series 9 the most capable, and battery friendly Apple watch to date. Enjoy improved security, improved functionality in low-connectivity situations, and improved health tracking. Introducing new Double-Tap gesture.

Apple Watch Series 6 vs Watch Series 9: Should you upgrade?

An Apple Watch Series 9 rests face down displaying the device's sensors.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

We were well impressed by the Series 6 three years ago as a health-focused smartwatch and a wrist-worn companion. Despite its age, it still offers a solid core feature set that mirrors its successors and stands up to the modern rigors that wearables face. Is it a good idea to buy it new in 2024? Probably not. There are better options. If you’re a first-time prospective Apple Watch buyer, we don’t think it’s worth buying.

If you already own an Apple Watch Series 6 and are considering upgrading to the Watch Series 9, consider if the new features add to the overall experience. Onboard Siri will be huge for some, while the double tap gesture seems a useful addition powered by the neural engine. But the Series 9 doesn’t offer a new killer fitness tracking addition. In fact, its blood oxygen tracking system is disabled due to a patent dispute, but remains fully functional on the Series 6. There is no upgraded heart monitor, blood pressure monitor, or blood glucose feature. For sporty users, the Apple Watch Ultra 2, or the original Ultra, seems the better upgrade.

But what do you think? Is the Apple Watch Series 9 a viable upgrade for Series 6 owners? Let us know in the poll below.

Is the Apple Watch Series 9 worth the upgrade over the Series 6?

3231 votes

FAQs

The Apple Watch Series 9 packs a WR50 water resistance rating, which means you can shower with it or enjoy a training session in the pool.

Apple rates the Series 9 battery life at 18 hours. This technically gives it the same battery life duration as the Series 6, but the more efficient hardware might result in more gains.

The Apple Watch Series 9 comes with its own

No, the Series 9 does not have an onboard blood pressure monitor.

Yes, the Apple Watch Series 9 tracks sleeps, including the usual and more advanced metrics.