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watchOS 10: Release date, features, and what's new

The latest major Apple Watch update has arrived.
September 18, 2023
Apple Watch Series 8 logo
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

An updated software experience has arrived for Apple’s smartwatches, just as the company’s Apple Watch Series 9 makes its way to shelves. Here’s everything that comes with watchOS 10.

watchOS 10: At a glance 

  • When is it coming out? WatchOS 10 is available to download now. It comes preinstalled on the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2.
  • What's new? WatchOS 10 brings numerous updates to the user experience, including glanceable widgets, redesigned apps, new watch faces, and more. Many popular wellness features also get upgrades, including mental health tools, improved medication management, fitness tracking for cycling, and a beefed-up hiking toolkit for the Apple Watch Ultra.

watchOS 10 release date and name

  • watchOS 1: April 2015
  • watchOS 2: September 2015
  • watchOS 3: September 2016
  • watchOS 4: September 2017
  • watchOS 5: September 2018
  • watchOS 6: September 2019
  • watchOS 7: September 2020
  • watchOS 8: September 2021
  • watchOS 9: September 2022
  • watchOS 10: September 2023

As is Apple’s custom, watchOS 10 arrived alongside a new generation of the Apple Watch. This year, that device is the Apple Watch Series 9, which officially landed at Apple’s summer event. The new watch and the software are available now.

watchOS 10 features

WatchOS 10 on Apple Watch 3

Thanks to a preview at WWDC 2023 in early June, and more coverage at Apple’s Wanderlust event, we already had a good idea of what to expect in terms of watchOS 10 features. Most notably, the software replaces Apple’s Glances with stackable widgets. This change means subsequent navigation and input adjustments, including access to the device’s control center with a push of the digital crown. Most apps have also received a facelift.

Health tools

WatchOS 10 adds mood tracking to help users keep tabs on their mental health and emotional well-being. Ambient light sensors on compatible watches can also be leveraged to keep track of users’ time spent outdoors. For children, time spent outdoors can impact the risk of developing nearsightedness.

Fitness tracking

On the fitness front, Apple brought major upgrades for cyclists via watchOS 10. Apple Watches now offer access to new metrics with compatible accessories, including speed, cadence, and power. Additionally, Apple Watches can now also display Power Zones during workouts. Meanwhile, Apple Fitness+ adds the ability for users to create custom training plans for a variety of sports.

Apple Watch Series 9

The Apple Watch Series 9 adds a new Double Tap feature for one-handed device interaction. Thanks to a powerful new Neural Engine, the device uses data from its accelerometer, gyroscope, and optical heart sensor, to identify when a user taps thumb and index fingers. This performs simple actions including everything from answering a phone call to starting music to opening Smart Stack and scrolling through widgets.

Additionally, thanks to its upgraded internals, Siri commands can also now be processed on the Series 9. Finally, with its new second-generation ultra-wideband (UWB) chip, the Series 9 now offers a more robust Find My Phone feature.

Apple Watch Ultra and Ultra 2

For Apple Watch Ultra users, watchOS 10 introduces a new 3D compass view with elevation details and markers for cellular reception, plus locations marked for making an emergency call. The device also provides US trail information, and users will have access to topographic maps for viewing contour lines, elevation, and points of interest. Finally, watchOS 10 brings elevation alerts to let serious hikers know when they’ve reached certain heights.

Other new features

There are a handful of additional features available via watchOS 10. Review the list below to find out what else you can do with your Apple Watch once you update.

  • New watch faces: Add two new watch faces, including one featuring popular Peanuts characters.
  • Workout APIs: Leverage the powerful sensors found in newer Apple Watches to experience new tools for sports like golf and tennis on popular training apps. These apps can also now import scheduled workouts into the Workout app.
  • Message playback: View recovered FaceTime video and audio messages on your wrists.
  • Follow-up medication reminders: Receive a second reminder when you haven’t logged a scheduled medication or supplement.
  • Offline maps: Download maps to your iPhones, then use those maps to navigate on your Apple Watch.
  • Enterprise: Access new employee wellness and productivity features, including the ability to configure VPNs.
  • NameDrop: Easily share contact information by tapping My Card and bringing two Apple Watches face to face.

watchOS 10 compatibility

An Apple Watch Series 7 checks for available software updates while resting on its charger.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority
  • Apple Watch SE
  • Apple Watch SE (2022)
  • Apple Watch Series 4
  • Apple Watch Series 5
  • Apple Watch Series 6
  • Apple Watch Series 7
  • Apple Watch Series 8
  • Apple Watch Series 9
  • Apple Watch Ultra
  • Apple Watch Ultra 2

All devices listed above are compatible with watchOS 10. An Apple Watch X is believed to be in the works, however, we don’t expect to see the device until next year when a new OS will also likely land.