Apple today released watchOS 6, the latest version of their Apple Watch operating system. The watchOS 6 software update comes after several months of beta testing.
The watchOS 6 update can be installed on your Apple Watch via the Apple Watch app on the device’s attached iPhone. Go to “General” -> “Software Update” to install the new software. The Apple Watch should have at least 50% battery life, be connected to a charger, and be in range of the iPhone.
watchOS 6 is available for installation on your Apple Watch Series 3 and Apple Watch Series 4 devices, starting today. The Apple Watch Series 5 has watchOS 6 already installed. The OS update will come to Apple Watch Series 1 and Apple Watch Series 2 devices later this year.
watchOS 6 features include:
- A new Cycle Tracking app offers women the ability to log information about their menstrual cycles and see the predicted time of their next period and fertile window using their Apple Watch. Information will be available about current period, flow, symptoms, results from ovulation prediction kits and other elements of fertility tracking.
- The new Noise app is designed to help users understand the sound levels around them, in such environments as concerts and sporting events that could negatively impact their hearing. The app’s decibel meter moves in real time, reacting to the changes in sound level. The Watch can notify users if the decibel level reaches 90 decibels, which the World Health Organization says can begin to impact hearing after four hours per week of exposure at that level.
- The Activity app on the iPhone will now give users a long-term view of their activity behavior, helping them to understand their progress. The tab shows whether their activity levels are trending up or down for key metrics such as active calories, exercise minutes, walking pace and others. The app can also provide coaching to help a user get back on track.
- For the first time, watchOS allows users to view the Apple Watch App Store directly on their Watch, allowing them to install third-party apps directly from the Watch. Users can search for apps using Siri, dictation or Scribble and view app product pages designed for the watch screen right from the wrist. Developers will be allowed to build Apple Watch-only apps, which will work without a corresponding iPhone app.
- watchOS 6 introduces dynamic new watch faces and customization options offering more personalization and access to favorite apps, contacts and information. These include: Modular Compact, Solar Dial, California, Gradient and Numerals faces.
- New developer tools include an audio API to stream music, radio and podcasts, an API to give extended runtime to session-based tasks, such as physical therapy and meditation, and Core ML now uses the Apple Neural Engine on Apple Watch Series 4, enabling faster processing of on-device inputs.
- The popular Voice Memos app is now available on Apple Watch.
- Audiobooks purchased on Apple Books are now available to listen to directly from the new Audiobooks app on the watch.
- The new Calculator app helps with tip calculations and splitting checks right from the wrist.
- Siri search queries can display webpage results in full on Apple Watch.
- Apple GymKit compatibility extends to manufacturers Octane Fitness, TRUE Fitness and Woodway, connecting Apple Watch to more cardio equipment in clubs around the world.