Apple released watchOS 10 to the general public, adding new features such as new cycling tracking features, new watch faces, and UI updates.
WatchOS 10, announced at WWDC 2023, is now available to the general public. Users can update to watchOS 10 by opening the iOS Watch app and going to General and then Software Update.
The app may automatically install the update, but the Apple Watch must be at least 50% charged, placed on the charger, and within range of the iPhone.
One of the main benefits of watchOS 10 is Apple’s changes to widgets: a new way to bring them up on your watch face by simply rotating the Digital Crown.
Core Apple Watch apps, including Weather, Stocks, Home, Maps, Messages, and World Clock, have been updated to take up more display space and provide more convenient information.
The latest addition to watchOS is the Smart Stack feature. This feature allows users to view widgets displaying weather updates and upcoming appointments by simply rotating the Digital Crown. This allows users to stay on top of their schedules and weather conditions without having to use multiple apps.
New faces and widget WatchOS 10 Smart Stacks
Apple’s latest update offers developers a new design language to create a seamless experience between third-party and first-party apps. This means that users can expect a consistent and unified experience across all apps on their device, regardless of developer. This move aims to improve the user experience and make the watchOS platform more user-friendly.
Apple has added two new watch faces to watchOS 10.
The palette is an artistic clock face with three overlapping layers to display the time. Throughout the day, the colors on the display also change to match the ever-changing image.
Peanuts is a watch face featuring comic book characters Snoopy and Woodstock. The pair will interact and play with the clock hands, react to local weather conditions, and train alongside the user.
Apple Watch Ultra has a new face: Modula Ultra. Taking advantage of the large display, the watch face uses the outer edge to display real-time data such as seconds and altitude, and also displays most of the complexities of any Apple digital watch face.
A ride on the bicycle
While the Apple Watch is a comprehensive health tracker, most of the big fitness updates this year are focused on cycling.
Additional data including cadence, speed and power can be added to your workout view using selected Bluetooth accessories.
The Power Zone Training screen will become visible when a power meter is detected. This view provides valuable information about your estimated functional power threshold and power zones, allowing you to optimize your training and achieve better results.
While cycling, your iPhone can display Live Activity data full screen when you tap. This feature shows speed, heart rate zones, altitude and other details, allowing riders to view their stats while the iPhone is mounted on the handlebars rather than looking at their wrist.
Hike tracking has also received several new updates to help hikers get the most out of their hikes.
The Last Cellular feature automatically creates a waypoint in Compass by estimating the last location with cellular service to make calls and check messages.
When searching for nearby trails, users can view details such as name, length, time, elevation gain, difficulty, and other useful information. Additionally, topographic maps can provide useful information such as geographic elevations, contour lines, landmarks, and lakes.
Apple watchOS 10 includes vision health trackers. The light sensor measures time spent in daylight, and the data can be viewed in the Health app. The Health Sharing feature, part of Family Setup, allows parents to access this data.
The newly added Screen Distance feature uses the iPhone and iPad’s TrueDepth camera to encourage users to hold their devices further away from their faces.
Mental health features have also been expanded as part of this update.
Mindfulness allows users to log their emotions and daily mood. Rotating the digital crown will allow users to demonstrate how they feel through multi-dimensional shapes.
The Health app for iOS 17 provides valuable information about factors that can affect a user’s mental well-being, including lifestyle habits such as sleep and exercise. Additionally, the app includes depression and anxiety assessments that can be easily shared in PDF format with the user’s doctor.
Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 updates
During the release of Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2, Apple introduced other changes that affect watchOS 10 for these models.
Thanks to the new S9 SiP with the new quad-core Neural Engine, Apple Watch can now perform on-device processing using Siri. For requests that don’t require Internet access, such as starting a timer or working out, Siri can perform the action without going online.
It also allows Siri to access data from the Health app for health and fitness-related queries, such as asking how many hours a user has slept.
Neural Engine also improves dictation accuracy by 25 percent.
The second-generation Ultra Wideband chip also enables new precision search patterns for the iPhone 15 family of devices. This allows you to locate your lost iPhone by providing direction and distance.
A new double-tap gesture now allows users to control Apple Watch with one hand without touching the display. Double tapping will perform frequently used actions in the current app, such as stopping or starting a timer.
The Ultra Wideband change also deepens HomePod integration, as users can see the Now Playing interface when they’re within a few feet of the HomePod.
Apple included several other elements in watchOS 10 that don’t fit neatly into neat categories.
Using the Workout API, developers can use the advanced motion sensors in Apple Watch Ultra and Apple Watch Series 8 to detect rapid changes in direction and acceleration, which can be used to create new sports experiences. The APIs will also allow training platforms to import scheduled workouts into the Workouts app.
You can now view recorded messages on Apple Watch using FaceTime video playback. Additionally, Apple Watch now supports FaceTime group audio calls.
The NameDrop contact sharing feature in iOS 17 will also be available on Apple Watch.
Another new addition is the Medicine Reminder feature in the Health app, which allows you to set critical alerts as follow-up reminders.