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watchOS 9 — new Apple Watch features we expect to see

We expect watchOS 9 to be the Apple Watch’s next major software update coming to existing Apple Watch models and shipping on the rumored Apple Watch 8. While it’s true there’s not much watchOS 9 intel yet, that’s going to change after WWDC 2022 on June 6. 

We’ve already formulated a wish-list of what features we want to see arrive on all the best Apple Watch models eligible for watchOS 9. While watchOS 8 improved on Apple’s mental health efforts with a new Mindfulness app and finally delivered support for multiple timers, there’s more we hope the smartwatch will offer this year. 

Like clockwork, Apple shows off the progress of its latest watchOS version during the annual Worldwide Developer Conference. At WWDC 2022, which is officially taking place on June 6, we expect watchOS 9 will be previewed alongside iOS 16, new software for the best MacBooks and more.

Here’s what we know about watchOS 9 and what it means for current Apple Watch users, plus the features we really want to see materialize. Make sure you check out our guide on how to watch WWDC 2022 live stream so you can see all the announcements as they happen — the countdown is on.

watchOS 9 possible release date and beta

This is no confirmed watchOS 9 release date yet, though it should be announced on June 6 (unless Apple throws us a curveball.) The exact release date of new watchOS versions comes out at the same time Apple announces its new smartwatch; that’s usually in the fall.

Before the final version of watchOS 9 rolls out, beta versions will likely be available for both developers and public testers. The developer version usually launches soon after WWDC, while the public version rolls out in mid-summer. For reference, the first public beta version of watchOS 8 came out on July 1, 2021.

watchOS 9 compatibility

As for watchOS 9 compatibility, we don’t know whether Apple will extend support for the all the Apple Watch models currently on sale. At the very least, the Apple Watch 7 and Apple Watch SE are all but guaranteed to get watchOS 9. We’re less sure about compatibility for the Apple Watch 3, though the four-year-old smartwatch is still sold by Apple. There’s a rumor going around that the Apple Watch 3 is finally being discontinued in 2022.

Apple Watch 4, Apple Watch 5 and Apple Watch 6 users should be eligible for watchOS 9, too. And, as always, the newest watchOS will be free to install. Apple doesn’t charge for software updates.

watchOS 9 watch faces

We can’t remember the last time Apple didn’t announce new watch faces at WWDC. From new photo faces to ones packed with complications, plus watch faces that help show off your personality, we expect to see at least a few new options soon.

At the very least, Apple could announce new ways to share or personalize watch faces. You could already send your watch face to friends, but perhaps we’ll see third-party apps able to make more sharable watch faces.

Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has also said that the Apple Watch would get new or revamped watch faces in watchOS 9.

watchOS 9 health tracking features

We expect watchOS 9 to deliver a few new health tracking features, whether they be for sleep-tracking, mental wellness, physical activity or women’s health. Apple has especially focusing on the last of those this year — it released the results of the Women’s Health Study on PCOS and also launched a post-pregnancy workout collection on Apple Fitness Plus.

Beyond that, Mark Gurman has said a new sleep-tracking feature is in the works, as are new workout types and a new way to track medication. It would be neat if your Apple Watch could alert you to take your medication, or help you “check off” if you’ve taken it.

watchOS 9 features: What we hope to see

If you know how to use the Apple Watch, the watchOS 9 experience shouldn’t be all that different — just improved and probably offering some new tools. So what are these new watchOS 9 features we expect to see? If past updates are any indication, we can assume Apple is going to introduce some health and fitness upgrades.

We’ll likely get deeper Apple Watch integrations with HomeKit, Apple Wallet and Apple Fitness Plus. The watchOS 9 software could introduce a new native app for Apple Watch, too. 

Health app: If there’s one app currently missing from the Apple Watch experience, it’s the Health app. The Health app on your iPhone acts as a dashboard for all your wellness data, from your sleep metics and daily workout progress to noise notifications and symptom tracking. Since a sizable chunk of this information is gathered from your Apple Watch, it would make sense for a similar dashboard to be available on your wrist. Right now, you can see your sleep tracking, heart rate trends, and activity all in separate apps. Why not provide a destination that combines them?

Notes app: Besides the Health app, the app we’d really like to see on the Apple Watch is a native Notes program. Ideally, the Apple Watch Notes app would sync via iCloud with the Notes app on your iPhone. Whether you need to remember your shopping items, create a to-do list or jot down a creative idea, having a Notes app would let you do so without needing your iPhone. Similarly, you could reference your notes you wrote on your iPhone from your wrist. You can use one of the best Apple Watch apps for note-taking, but a native version would be better, especially now that the Apple Watch 7 has a QWERTY keyboard.

Keyboard for more Apple Watch models: On that note, one of the biggest upgrades between the Apple Watch 7 vs. Apple Watch 6 is the addition of a full QWERTY keyboard. We love the keyboard for sending texts (it’s much better than using Scribble) but it’s limited to the new Apple Watch 7 sizes. We’d like for the keyboard to come to older Apple Watch models so more Apple Watch users can benefit from on-wrist typing.

Recovery tools: The Apple Watch rings are great for tracking daily activity goals, but sometimes your body just needs a break. We want the Apple Watch to offer the occasional day off without sacrificing your streaks, perhaps informed by your sleep data or other health metrics. Rest is an important element of any workout regimen. 

Be sure to bookmark this page for the latest watchOS 9 rumors leading up to the software’s official reveal. We also expect iPadOS 16, macOS 13 and possibly even tvOS 16.


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watchOS 9 — new Apple Watch features we expect to see

We expect watchOS 9 to be the Apple Watch’s next major software update coming to existing Apple Watch models and shipping on the rumored Apple Watch 8. While it’s true there’s not much watchOS 9 intel yet, that’s going to change after WWDC 2022 on June 6. 
We’ve already formulated a wish-list of what features we want to see arrive on all the best Apple Watch models eligible for watchOS 9. While watchOS 8 improved on Apple’s mental health efforts with a new Mindfulness app and finally delivered support for multiple timers, there’s more we hope the smartwatch will offer this year. 
Like clockwork, Apple shows off the progress of its latest watchOS version during the annual Worldwide Developer Conference. At WWDC 2022, which is officially taking place on June 6, we expect watchOS 9 will be previewed alongside iOS 16, new software for the best MacBooks and more.
Here’s what we know about watchOS 9 and what it means for current Apple Watch users, plus the features we really want to see materialize. Make sure you check out our guide on how to watch WWDC 2022 live stream so you can see all the announcements as they happen — the countdown is on.
watchOS 9 possible release date and beta
This is no confirmed watchOS 9 release date yet, though it should be announced on June 6 (unless Apple throws us a curveball.) The exact release date of new watchOS versions comes out at the same time Apple announces its new smartwatch; that’s usually in the fall.
Before the final version of watchOS 9 rolls out, beta versions will likely be available for both developers and public testers. The developer version usually launches soon after WWDC, while the public version rolls out in mid-summer. For reference, the first public beta version of watchOS 8 came out on July 1, 2021.
watchOS 9 compatibility
As for watchOS 9 compatibility, we don’t know whether Apple will extend support for the all the Apple Watch models currently on sale. At the very least, the Apple Watch 7 and Apple Watch SE are all but guaranteed to get watchOS 9. We’re less sure about compatibility for the Apple Watch 3, though the four-year-old smartwatch is still sold by Apple. There’s a rumor going around that the Apple Watch 3 is finally being discontinued in 2022.
Apple Watch 4, Apple Watch 5 and Apple Watch 6 users should be eligible for watchOS 9, too. And, as always, the newest watchOS will be free to install. Apple doesn’t charge for software updates.
watchOS 9 watch faces
We can’t remember the last time Apple didn’t announce new watch faces at WWDC. From new photo faces to ones packed with complications, plus watch faces that help show off your personality, we expect to see at least a few new options soon.
At the very least, Apple could announce new ways to share or personalize watch faces. You could already send your watch face to friends, but perhaps we’ll see third-party apps able to make more sharable watch faces.
Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has also said that the Apple Watch would get new or revamped watch faces in watchOS 9.
watchOS 9 health tracking features
We expect watchOS 9 to deliver a few new health tracking features, whether they be for sleep-tracking, mental wellness, physical activity or women’s health. Apple has especially focusing on the last of those this year — it released the results of the Women’s Health Study on PCOS and also launched a post-pregnancy workout collection on Apple Fitness Plus.
Beyond that, Mark Gurman has said a new sleep-tracking feature is in the works, as are new workout types and a new way to track medication. It would be neat if your Apple Watch could alert you to take your medication, or help you “check off” if you’ve taken it.
watchOS 9 features: What we hope to see
If you know how to use the Apple Watch, the watchOS 9 experience shouldn’t be all that different — just improved and probably offering some new tools. So what are these new watchOS 9 features we expect to see? If past updates are any indication, we can assume Apple is going to introduce some health and fitness upgrades.
We’ll likely get deeper Apple Watch integrations with HomeKit, Apple Wallet and Apple Fitness Plus. The watchOS 9 software could introduce a new native app for Apple Watch, too. 
Health app: If there’s one app currently missing from the Apple Watch experience, it’s the Health app. The Health app on your iPhone acts as a dashboard for all your wellness data, from your sleep metics and daily workout progress to noise notifications and symptom tracking. Since a sizable chunk of this information is gathered from your Apple Watch, it would make sense for a similar dashboard to be available on your wrist. Right now, you can see your sleep tracking, heart rate trends, and activity all in separate apps. Why not provide a destination that combines them?
Notes app: Besides the Health app, the app we’d really like to see on the Apple Watch is a native Notes program. Ideally, the Apple Watch Notes app would sync via iCloud with the Notes app on your iPhone. Whether you need to remember your shopping items, create a to-do list or jot down a creative idea, having a Notes app would let you do so without needing your iPhone. Similarly, you could reference your notes you wrote on your iPhone from your wrist. You can use one of the best Apple Watch apps for note-taking, but a native version would be better, especially now that the Apple Watch 7 has a QWERTY keyboard.
Keyboard for more Apple Watch models: On that note, one of the biggest upgrades between the Apple Watch 7 vs. Apple Watch 6 is the addition of a full QWERTY keyboard. We love the keyboard for sending texts (it’s much better than using Scribble) but it’s limited to the new Apple Watch 7 sizes. We’d like for the keyboard to come to older Apple Watch models so more Apple Watch users can benefit from on-wrist typing.
Recovery tools: The Apple Watch rings are great for tracking daily activity goals, but sometimes your body just needs a break. We want the Apple Watch to offer the occasional day off without sacrificing your streaks, perhaps informed by your sleep data or other health metrics. Rest is an important element of any workout regimen. 
Be sure to bookmark this page for the latest watchOS 9 rumors leading up to the software’s official reveal. We also expect iPadOS 16, macOS 13 and possibly even tvOS 16.

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