watchOS 10: The best features for Apple Watch

An Apple Watch Ultra in a user's hand displays the Apple logo.

Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Punctually, a new and improved watchOS 10 experience is expected to hit Apple’s smartwatches this fall. Apple offered a preview of the new software at WWDC 2023 in early June, highlighting many of the best features users will find on board. From stacked widgets to fresh faces, see what Apple has in store through watchOS 10.

What’s new in watchOS 10?

WatchOS 10 will introduce a revamped user experience with a renewed focus on widgets and redesigned apps. It’s also set to make key improvements to some of the most popular areas of focus for device health and fitness tracking, including cycling, hiking, and mental health.

We were already fans of the software experience we tested during our Apple Watch Series 8 review, but updates are always welcome. If Apple can pair the updates below with better battery life, we’d be over the moon.

New look and navigation

WatchOS 10 on Apple Watch 3

In a classic comeback story, widgets will make their way to the Apple Watch, ousting the current Glances model. In what Apple has dubbed the Smart Stack, clock widgets will appear on the screen with the turn of your Digital Crown, displaying pertinent information ahead of time. Users can then rotate the crown to scroll through their widgets and tap for more information if needed. Like the crown, the side button will also have a new role. The button will take users to the Control Center with a single press.

Once you’re in the middle of a favorite app, you’ll notice an updated look as well. Apple says nearly all apps will get an updated look that makes better use of the entire display. That means more information on screen at a time to do the things you need from your wrist.

Vision and mental health tools

Apple watchOS 10 mental health

Mental health is too often overlooked and Apple aims to help. Through watchOS 10, users will be able to log their daily moods to keep up with their emotional well-being. In the Health app, you can then see how your recorded moods relate to lifestyle factors including sleep, exercise, and time spent outdoors.

In a related move, Apple has announced that the ambient light sensors on compatible watches will also be able to measure time spent in daylight. This, the company says, can help parents reduce their risk of nearsightedness by making sure kids get enough time outdoors.

Improvements to fitness tracking

Apple watchOS 10 cycling

Given that fitness tracking is one of the most popular uses of the devices, it’s no surprise that watchOS 10 will also introduce updates to the Apple Watch workout experience.

  • Cycling: Last year brought a useful multi-sport tracking mode to the Apple Watch. This year, the company is taking it a step further by offering riders new metrics with compatible accessories including speed, cadence and horsepower. The watch will also display power zones during workouts. If you’d like your information to appear on a larger screen, starting a bike workout will also launch the option to view real-time metrics on your paired iPhone.
  • Apple Fitness+: Apple Fitness+ should also see an update. Thanks to watchOS 10, the subscription service will soon be able to create customized training plans.

Apple Watch Ultra

Apple Watch Ultra watchOS 10

We’ve been hoping to see fun updates to navigation and mapping ever since our Apple Watch Ultra review. For adventurers, watchOS 10 brings a new information-rich 3D compass view with elevation details and cellular reception indicators. The compass will also highlight possible locations for making an emergency call. For hikers, Apple is adding access to US trail information, including trail names, length, elevation, difficulty, and more. . New elevation alerts will also let you know when you’ve reached specific heights.

Other new features

  • Training APIs:Popular workout apps will be able to leverage the powerful sensors in the new Apple Watches to create new tools for sports like golf and tennis. These apps will also be able to import scheduled workouts into the Workout app.
  • Message playback: Apple Watch users will be able to view recovered FaceTime video messages right on their wrist.
  • Follow-Up Medication Reminders: This feature will send affected users a second reminder when they have not registered a scheduled drug or supplement.
  • Offline Maps: Through iOS 17, users will be able to download maps to their iPhones, then view and use those maps to navigate on an Apple Watch when their iPhone is in range.
  • Business: WatchOS 10 will introduce new features for employee wellbeing and productivity, including the ability to configure VPNs.
  • DropName: Users can easily share contact information by tapping My Card and bringing two Apple Watches face-to-face.

What watches can access watchOS 10?

An Apple Watch Series 7 checks for software updates while resting on the charger.

Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Based on Apple’s history, we expect watchOS 10 to arrive alongside an Apple Watch Series 9 in early fall. Once the software is released, it will also reset on the following Apple Watch models:

  • Apple Watch Series 4
  • Apple Watch Series 5
  • Apple Watch SE
  • Apple Watch Series 6
  • Apple Watch Series 7
  • Apple Watch Series 8
  • Apple Watch Ultra

Will watchOS 10 introduce new watch faces?

Apple watchOS 10 watch faces

It wouldn’t be a new OS without a new watch face (or two). WatchOS 10 will bring the most loved characters to the wrist of users in an animated Peanuts watch face with Snoopy and Woodstock. Meanwhile, Palette will offer a calmer, hue-based experience that represents time in color shifts.

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