Versions of watchOS that Exist for the Apple Watch

The Apple Watch is Apple’s smart watch and beyond its aesthetics, internal components or sensors that it incorporates, it has its own operating system called watchOS. This is the culprit in the end that the device can be interacted with and from the launch of the first watch in 2015 to these times there have been numerous versions. In this article we will tell you about the most notable changes that watchOS has been introducing throughout its history.

What is watchOS?

As we already said, this is the operating system that the Apple Watch has. It is exclusive to these watches , so you will not be able to see them on any other device. It offers a highly recognized interface adapted to it, having some highlights like the ones we discuss below.

Versions of watchOS that Exist for the Apple Watch

Its combination with hardware is key

In any electronic device worth its salt, a good combination of software and hardware is vital in order to offer a satisfactory user experience. In the case of watchOS we find what is perfectly combined with what the watch offers as such. Not all Apple Watch are the same, having some differences in terms of screen size, health sensors …

medición oxígeno apple watch series 6

However, watchOS seamlessly integrates all the hardware offering very useful interactions. From being able to receive alerts when high or low heart rates are detected, to being able to perform functions such as sending emails and that today seems very common and that not so long ago seemed like science fiction. In addition, Apple Watch are considered very long-lived because the Californian company allows them to update their software for many years, this being one more proof of the good symbiosis between software and hardware.

Highlights of this system

There is something key when defining an Apple Watch with watchOS and that is that the device depends on the iPhone to function. Even in those LTE versions you will have to have an associated iPhone yes or yes. In fact, it is on Apple phones where the Watch application is found, through which you can find a multitude of watchOS settings that are not always present from the watch itself.

Speaking at the level of functions, watchOS stands out for having different views in the well-known spheres or watchfaces. There are many types, with different styles and with the time as the only common factor – although not visually the same, being the analog or digital clock. It is easy to change the sphere, since you only have to slide left or right to navigate between them. From them you can access the notification panel by sliding from top to bottom and the control center if you slide from bottom to top.

The digital crown is used to open the apps menu with one touch and to zoom in or out on this menu, as well as scroll from top to bottom (or vice versa) when entering an app. The side button will be used to open a dock of recent or favorite apps (as configured).

It should be noted that there are many apps and even games adapted to watchOS, although the most striking thing is that we find a multitude of tools already present in iOS and that can also be opened on the watch. See Calendar, Messages or Reminders. In addition to other exclusive apps such as the heart rate meter, the one to perform ECG or the blood oxygen level meter.

Although undoubtedly what is best known for Apple Watch and its operating system is for the incorporation of the famous activity rings ; red for calories burned, green for minutes of exercise, and blue for hours spent on your feet. This is accompanied by an application now called Fitness in which to record all sports activity, as well as get special badges for various challenges in this area. Many users claim that these rings serve as essential motivation to exercise.

How often is it updated?

As is also the case with other devices such as the iPhone and its iOS system, Apple tends to release new updates for its watches with relative frequency. On average, an update is launched every month-month and a half in order not only to add new functions, but to correct errors detected in other versions and add security patches that make the use of clocks much more secure.

We differentiate three types of updates. On the one hand, there are those considered as large updates , such as watchOS 6, watchOS 7 or watchOS 8. These are the ones that usually introduce the most news and are released around the month of September each year. Then we find the ones known as intermediate updates and which are divided into two types: the most frequent ones that are with two numbers (for example watchOS 7.1 or watchOS 7.2) and others still more intermediate such as (watchOS 7.1.1 or watchOS 7.1.2). While the first of these are released every 1-2 months in order to continue improving the experience and add small news, the others are not as planned and are usually launched to correct important bugs that require a certain urgency.

Buscando Actualización watchOS iPhone

There is no set number of versions each year due to how unpredictable its development can be. It is also not clear that they will end up in a certain number for that reason. Sometimes development versions are even mixed with others released urgently and certain curiosities are caused such as ‘skipping’ intermediate versions as happened when moving from watchOS 6.2.1 to 6.2.5.

It should be noted that the intermediate versions are compatible with the same Watch as the big ones, although there are exceptions when it comes to versions released for a certain watch that was affected by a specific error. And, as a general rule, it has been seen that Apple Watch support at least 4 years of updates since its launch.

watchOS from 2015 to 2017

The first four versions of watchOS were in a way the most revolutionary because they were also the first and therefore the ones with the longest improvement path. The first versions stood out for having good functions, although the performance was perhaps not the most adequate according to the hardware of the device that perhaps was not as advanced as many wanted.

watchOS 1

watchos 1

The first Apple Watch and watchOS 1 went hand in hand, as both were presented at the same time on September 9, 2014. Their official launch occurred alongside the watch on April 24, 2015 . This version of the watch was compatible only with that original Apple Watch, since all those that arrived later brought a later version of the software.

Absolutely everything that this system incorporated was new, since it was the first version for a reason. Among the highlights we find an interface adapted to the size of your screen and very different from iOS and other Apple systems . It stood out for its menu of apps in the shape of a sphere , for incorporating various watchfaces in which the well-known complications could be added, such as information on some apps or direct access to them, a notification system that was developed to not depend on the iPhone …

watchos 1

A compendium of functions that made it an excellent first contact for those who have never tried a smartwatch, incorporating elements of the iPhone such as a control center or notification panel. Although the truth is that, seeing how round other devices were in their first versions, watchOS and the hardware of the first Apple Watch offered slow performance that in some cases was even exasperating, such as when an app was opened and it had to be several seconds loading and sometimes it didn’t even open.

This version only had one update , so we only find two versions in total:

  • watchOS 1
  • watchOS 1.0.1

watchOS 2

watchos 2

The WWDC that began on June 8, 2015 served for Apple to present the new operating system of the Apple Watch that would end up arriving on September 21, 2015. This operating system was also compatible with the original model:

  • Apple Watch (original)
  • Apple Watch Series 1 (comes watchOS 2 as standard)

In this improved version of the system, many improvements were offered for developers that allowed many new third-party apps to be fully compatible with the two watches that Apple had to date. The performance was also corrected, making the experience of using all the apps in general more fluid.

watchos 2

New very prominent areas such as photos, improvements in Siri or the possibility of establishing better communication with our contacts through apps such as Mail and Messages were added. The answer was facilitated by the detection of letters and the voice recognition system considerably improved what has been seen so far.

Unlike the first version, in this watchOS 2 we do find more updates:

  • watchOS 2
  • watchOS 2.0.1
  • watchOS 2.1
  • watchOS 2.2
  • watchOS 2.2.1
  • watchOS 2.2.2

watchOS 3

watchos 3

This operating system was officially launched on September 13, 2016 , although its presentation was actually a few months earlier. In the WWDC that began on June 13 of that year, its novelties were revealed, having these compatible equipment:

  • Apple Watch (original)
  • Apple Watch Series 1
  • Apple Watch Series 2 (comes watchOS 3 as standard)

Although they were not visible news as such, the performance improvements that were implemented in this watchOS 3 were very noticeable. From being able to open applications with greater fluidity to having a much more efficient battery consumption. This was something that, despite being linked to the hardware of the clocks itself, required some other readjustment in the software that finally culminated in these versions. Although it also shone with small improvements such as new Minnie Mouse or Activity spheres.

watchos 3

In terms of health and physical activity, Activity competitions were added to challenge friends to weekly challenges. Who burns more calories, who completes the three rings first, who does more kilometers … A fantastic way for Apple to promote sport among those who were reluctant to see an ideal device for it on the Watch.

This third generation of the Apple Watch system brought with it 7 versions including:

  • watchOS 3
  • watchOS 3.1
  • watchOS 3.1.1
  • watchOS 3.1.3
  • watchOS 3.2
  • watchOS 3.2.2
  • watchOS 3.2.3

watchOS 4

watchos 4

This version was officially launched on September 19, 2017 , although its presentation took place several months before when at the WWDC inaugural conference, on June 5, 2017, the Cupertino company announced all its news. Its compatibility is as follows:

  • Apple Watch (1st gen.)
  • Apple Watch Series 1
  • Apple Watch Series 2
  • Apple Watch Series 3 (comes with watchOS 4 as standard)

This version of watchOS released new Toy Story spheres , the particular characters of Pixar (a production company that Steve Jobs founded in its day and has been closely linked to Apple). In addition, other spheres were added such as those of Siri suggestions that can be very useful to receive advice such as breathing or completing the rings.

watchos 4

The flashlight function from the control center has also been added, which makes the watch screen become at maximum brightness and can offer an intense white color capable of lighting in the dark and even have red flashing lights for situations of emergency. Something very applauded was also implemented, such as the possibility of connecting the AirPods to the clock in the purest iPod style.

Up to 9 versions of this operating system are those that Apple has launched since that September 19, 2017:

  • watchOS 4
  • watchOS 4.0.1
  • watchOS 4.1
  • watchOS 4.2
  • watchOS 4.2.2
  • watchOS 4.2.3
  • watchOS 4.3
  • watchOS 4.3.1
  • watchOS 4.3.2

2018 to present: all versions

Already entering a more recent stage, the Apple Watch offer components that allow you to have a much more demanding software. Although these are versions with fewer changes than what we found in the first 4 years, the truth is that they have been polishing details and adding characteristics that are highly applauded by users.

watchOS 5

watchos 5

The WWDC framework that began on June 4, 2018 served for Apple to officially present this watchOS 5, which would not reach the public until September 20, 2018 . It was the first software version to leave aside the compatibility with the original Apple watch, being compatible with these:

  • Apple Watch Series 1
  • Apple Watch Series 2
  • Apple Watch Series 3
  • Apple Watch Series 4 (comes with watchOS 5 as standard)

A function that perhaps many missed in the Apple Watch was the Walkie-Talkie and precisely in this watchOS 5 it was integrated so that, between users of the watch, they could communicate quickly as with the classic devices that in these times have been becoming each increasingly in disuse among ordinary citizens. A Podcast app was also added, which was also necessary for the watch.

watchos 5

Regarding health, new apps such as ECG were added , which is only functional with the Apple Watch Series 4 launched almost at the same time as the first version of watchOS 5. Also in Activity , competitions between users were improved.

This version of the Apple Watch system had the following updates since its official launch:

  • watchOS 5
  • watchOS 5.0.1
  • watchOS 5.1
  • watchOS 5.1.1
  • watchOS 5.1.2
  • watchOS 5.1.3
  • watchOS 5.2
  • watchOS 5.2.1
  • watchOS 5.3
  • watchOS 5.3.1
  • watchOS 5.3.2
  • watchOS 5.3.3
  • watchOS 5.3.4
  • watchOS 5.3.5
  • watchOS 5.3.6
  • watchOS 5.3.7
  • watchOS 5.3.8
  • watchOS 5.3.9

watchOS 6

watchos 6

How could it be otherwise, the WWDC that began on June 3, 2019 served to know this new version, although it was not released until September 19, 2019. It was compatible with the following watches:

  • Apple Watch Series 1
  • Apple Watch Series 2
  • Apple Watch Series 3
  • Apple Watch Series 4
  • Apple Watch Series 5 (comes watchOS 6 as standard)

As was customary in previous versions, new spheres such as the Meridian, Solar Sphere or more minimalist spheres such as the two-color Numbers were added. Spheres that, yes, in some cases are only compatible with Series 4 and later due to the limitations in aspect ratio that the screens of previous models have.

Perhaps the most outstanding novelty was the integration of the App Store in watchOS , allowing you to easily download those apps adapted to the clock without having to resort to the iPhone and without it having to have the equivalent iOS app installed. New apps such as Voice Notes, Calculator, Audiobooks or Cycles were also added to control the menstrual period.

watchOS 6

At the health level, an environmental noise meter was incorporated with which to detect when we are in a situation that could be harmful to our ears. Some complications were even added to view this measurement in real time.

In total there have been 13 versions of this watchOS 6. Some of them were curious because in nomenclature some intermediate versions were skipped. These were the updates:

  • watchOS 6
  • watchOS 6.0.1
  • watchOS 6.1
  • watchOS 6.1.1
  • watchOS 6.1.2
  • watchOS 6.1.3
  • watchOS 6.2
  • watchOS 6.2.1
  • watchOS 6.2.5
  • watchOS 6.2.6
  • watchOS 6.2.8
  • watchOS 6.2.9
  • watchOS 6.3

watchOS 7

watchos 7

In the first WWDC held telematically, watchOS 7 was introduced, among others. It was on June 22, 2020 and its official arrival did not occur until several months later, specifically September 16, 2020. Its compatibility was as follows:

  • Apple Watch Series 3
  • Apple Watch Series 4
  • Apple Watch Series 5
  • Apple Watch Series 6 (comes watchOS 7 as standard)
  • Apple Watch SE (comes with watchOS 7 as standard)

In this version, long-awaited functions were added, such as being able to share spheres and even download others from the internet that others had created. Of course, although they are better shared, it is still not possible to design personalized spheres as perhaps many wish. Added to this are new complications as a stenographer.

sueño watchOS 7

The Activity app changes to be called Fintess, also accompanying the Apple Fitness + service launched at the end of 2020. New workouts such as dancing or the possibility of adding calorie targets in workouts or being able to add stretching options prior to exercise are also added.

Although probably the most striking thing comes from the integration of the native Night mode that offers a totally minimalist interface and with all notifications disabled, even allowing you to perform certain relaxation exercises minutes before sleeping. The next day a report is offered with the hours of sleep and other relevant aspects regarding the pulsations if any anomaly has been detected.

Waiting for watchOS 8 to be released, is this watchOS 7 the latest official software for Apple watches. So far there have been all these updates:

  • watchOS 7
  • watchOS 7.0.1
  • watchOS 7.0.2
  • watchOS 7.0.3
  • watchOS 7.1
  • watchOS 7.2
  • watchOS 7.3
  • watchOS 7.3.1
  • watchOS 7.3.2
  • watchOS 7.3.3
  • watchOS 7.4
  • watchOS 7.4.1
  • watchOS 7.5
  • watchOS 7.6 (version still in beta)

watchOS 8

watchos 8

This operating system will arrive from September after its presentation on June 7, 2021 on the opening day of WWDC. Its compatibility is the same as the previous version, being therefore compatible with these watches:

  • Apple Watch Series 3
  • Apple Watch Series 4
  • Apple Watch Series 5
  • Apple Watch Series 6
  • Apple Watch SE

This will be one of the least new versions of watchOS in its history, as we hardly find any major changes. It stands out in some aspects such as being able to add digital keys to Wallet or add new spheres that allow adding photos in portrait mode in perfect harmony with the time and date. Also some news such as setting several timers or the arrival of the Home app stand out among the news.

watchOS 8

However, perhaps the most relevant novelty comes, again, in relation to health. With this version of the system you can control your breathing at night , being able to measure the respiratory rate you have in bed and finding an interesting record in the Health app every morning. A function that, although it requires hardware, is operative for any of the compatible clocks.

Since it has not been released yet, we cannot know how many updates it will have. The only sure thing out there right now are several public and developer betas that are used to test the pre-release software that will take place in the fall.