watchOS 9 for Apple Watch Announced: Features, Release Date [Everything You Need To Know]

Apple’s WWDC 22 event is underway and the opening keynote has given us plenty to talk about. One of those things is the new watchOS 9 and while it likely won’t come into its own when new Apple Watch hardware is announced later this year, the update itself is still one well worth getting excited about.

The Apple Watch software hasn’t changed a whole lot over the last few years, but Apple continues to tweak features and add new ones that make the world’s most popular smart watch even better than it was before. You can’t ask for much more than that, really!


New Watch Faces

watchOS 9 packs four new watch faces: Astronomy, Metropolitan, Lunar, and Playtime. All four pack a distinct style, such as Metropolitan which is “a classic, type-driven watch face where the style changes as the Digital Crown is rotated.”

Enhanced Complications 

Apple has upped the game with its complications this year. “watchOS 9 introduces enhanced and modernized complications on some of the most classic watch faces, such as Utility, Simple, and Activity Analog, along with background color editing for Modular, Modular Compact, and X-Large for additional personalization.”

Workout App Updates

Features such as Heart Rate Zones, the ability to use the Digital Crown to rotate between workout-views, Custom Workouts and much more power through here making your Apple Watch a true activity tracker.

These even rich metrics add to “a new Multisport workout type that automatically switches between any sequence of swimming, biking, and running workouts, using motion sensors to recognize movement patterns. When each workout is complete, a redesigned summary page in the Fitness app offers additional details with interactive charts for more precise analysis.”

New Running Tracker

With watchOS 9, the Apple Watch can now effectively track “Stride Length, Ground Contact Time, and Vertical Oscillation”.

Even more, users can try and beat their own run with alerts during the workout informing the user of their comparative performance from an earlier run. “Additionally, a new pacer experience lets users choose a distance and goal for the time in which they want to complete a run, and calculates the pace required to achieve the goal. During the workout, they can follow the pace alerts and metrics provided.”

Kickboard Detection for Swimming

Pool Swim workout can now detect when users are swimming with a kickboard. “Swimmers can now track their efficiency with a SWOLF score — a stroke count combined with the time, in seconds, it takes to swim one length of the pool. Users can view their SWOLF average for each set in the workout summary.”

On-Screen Guidance In Fitness+

“With watchOS 9, Fitness+ workouts now display on-screen guidance in addition to trainer coaching to help users get the most out of workouts, including: Intensity for HIIT, Cycling, Rowing, and Treadmill; Strokes per Minute (SPM) for Rowing; Revolutions per Minute (RPM) for Cycling; and Incline for walkers and runners in Treadmill.”

Improved Sleep Tracking

Apple says that the new sleep insights for watchOS 9 were “created using machine learning models were trained and validated against the clinical gold standard, polysomnography, with one of the largest and most diverse populations ever studied for a wearable.”

The Apple watch can now detect when a user is in different sleep stages: REM, Core, and Deep Sleep. This data can be viewed along side heart rate, respiratory rate as well on the Health app on the iPhone.

AFib History

Previously the Apple Watch has been able to alert a user to an detection of AFib. Building on that watchOS 9 now collects this information overtime.

This can be done by turning on “the FDA-cleared AFib History feature2 and access important information, including an estimate of how frequently a user’s heart rhythm shows signs of AFib, providing deeper insights into their condition. Users will also receive weekly notifications to understand frequency and view a detailed history in the Health app, including lifestyle factors that may influence AFib, like sleep, alcohol consumption, and exercise.”

Medication Tracker

Users can now add medicines they take to this tracker complete with custom schedules and reminders.

“In the US, users can receive an alert if there are potential critical interactions with medications they have added to the Health app.”

Improved Podcast App

Users can now search and listen to podcasts directly on their watch, and even better this is available through family sharing as well.

Redesigned Dock

It is now pretty easy for users to be able to return to apps that are active and in use.

Quick Actions

The double-pinch gesture can now be used to make a call or decline it, take a photo, pause or resume a workout and much more.


The new Apple Watch update, watchOS 9, will be available to developers today while everyone else will need to wait until a public launch later this year. If Apple follows its own precedent we can expect that to happen around September time.

The update is compatible with the Apple Watch Series 4 or higher paired with an iPhone 8 and above or the second gen. iPhone SE running iOS 16.

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