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watchOS 10 brings focus back to widgets for Apple Watches

The Digital Crown will also now let you scroll through the widgets pane.

Published onJune 5, 2023

WatchOS 10 on Apple Watch 1
  • watchOS 10 brings widgets back, letting users see more and do more quicker on the small watch screen.
  • The Digital Crown will now open the widgets pane instead of the app launcher by default.
  • Apple has also redesigned several core watchOS apps to take advantage of the bigger display on the Apple Watch Ultra.

The Apple Watch is the most recognizable smartwatch on the planet, as it remains the best watch to recommend to people using an iPhone. A lot of what makes the Apple Watch great is the software, and Apple is ensuring that the software gets better with several new announcements at WWDC 2023. With the new watchOS 10, Apple is refocusing on widgets to ensure you get access to more information and interact quicker on the tiny watch screen.

watchOS 10 significantly changes the smartwatch OS as widgets script their comeback. Previous versions of watchOS had a feature called Glances, giving users access to information without needing to open an app. The widget pane would lay out quick information, and if you need more or need to react, you could tap on the widget and be taken to the main app. This is similar to how widgets work on iOS right now, and now Apple is bringing the same back with watchOS 10.

WatchOS 10 on Apple Watch 3

On watchOS 10, you can get iOS-like widgets that you can scroll through for information on the weather, stocks, upcoming calendar appointments, and more. This ties in very well with Photo watch faces.

WatchOS 10 on Apple Watch 2

In addition to widgets through Glances, Apple is changing how the Digital Crown behaves. Scrolling the Digital Crown now cycles through the smart stack of widgets. This clearly indicates how confident Apple is about widgets being the central method of interaction with your watch this time around.

While widgets will make it easier to get more done on the smaller watch screen, Apple is also focusing on getting more done on the bigger watch screen of the Apple Watch Ultra.

There are also two new watch faces with watchOS 10.

WatchOS 10 on Apple Watch 4

We’ll have to wait and see if any of these changes inspire similar features on Wear OS. While Android OEMs have a lot of freedom to modify AOSP with their skins, they cannot do so with Wear OS. All changes to Wear OS have to come through Google for the most part. We’d love to see actionable widgets on Wear OS and more mechanisms to take advantage of larger displays on some watches.