watchOS 10: Try out new widgets, workout features and watch faces with the public beta release – TechRadar

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple‘s watchOS 10 is the next generation of its smartwatch operating system, and it brings with it a suite of changes. Many of these will likely benefit the rumored Apple Watch 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2, which are both tipped for a reveal at the Apple September event happening in less than an hour today (September 12).

The update was revealed at WWDC 2023 in June, and features updates to specific activities such as cycling and hiking, new physical and mental health features, new watch faces (including Snoopy!) and perhaps most importantly, widgets galore. It’s safe to say watchOS 10 has completely redesigned the Apple Watch experience. 

We expect to find out more about it at Apple’s Wonderlust event today, so follow our Apple event 2023 live blog for all the last-minute leaks and analysis before it begins. The show gets underway at 10am PT / 1pm ET / 6pm BST and you can also take a look at our guide on how to watch the Apple September event

Let’s dive into the new features coming to your best Apple Watch this year. 

watchOS 10: Cut to the chase

What is it? The latest Apple Watch operating systemWhen’s it out? September 2023, although the public beta is out nowWhat’s new? Interactive widgets, better cycling and hiking features, new watch faces, redesigned apps. 

watchOS 10: New features

(Image credit: Apple)

Interactive widgets are by far the biggest, most transformative new feature added to the Apple Watch.  Apple have gone big on widgets this year with iPad and Mac, but none more transformative than here. From your watch face, simply twist the digital crown to access a list of your favorite widgets, including weather, a stock ticker, workout metrics, calendar, and a Complications widget you can customise with your favorite Complications, for example a timer. Hit the timer or your workout, and it will play at the top of your watch face even while it’s locked. 

This is the feature that will completely revolutionise the way you use your Watch, transforming it from a Where’s Waldo-style spot-the-app into a usable list of widgets. 

Apps that have been redesigned include World Clock, now sporting a dynamic background that moves with a sunrise-sunset bell curve accessible via a finger drag. Activity now includes full screen views for each of your Movement rings: Move, Exercise, and Stand. Third-party apps like Streaks can also use these features to make use of your entire display. 

Two new watch faces are introduced: palate, which offers pastel colors changing with the time, and Snoopy, which features animated versions of Snoopy and Woodstock on your lock screen reacting to the weather, activity and time of day. Cute!

(Image credit: Apple)

Elsewhere, two activities getting big revamps are cycling and hiking. Cyclists can now pair their Apple Watch with cycling computers and other specialist output monitors via Bluetooth to get a new metric, functional threshold power or FTP – the highest level of cycling intensity you can maintain for one hour. 

Cyclists can split their performance into FTP zones, which basically work like  Heart Rate Zones. Cyclists can also turn their Apple Watches into basic cycling computers, if you don’t have one, by streaming metrics and offering a full-screen readout

(Image credit: Apple)

Hiking is also getting new features, with your compass automatically generating emergency waypoints based on the last place you got reception – a Cellular Waypoint. A three-dimensional view of the compass also shows you elevations, but what’s really exciting is that, if you’re in the US, you get topographical maps of your routes, with no downloaded GPX files needed to do so. Eat that, Garmin.

Health stuff is also getting new stuff, with an overhauled mindfulness app allowing you to log how you’re feeling with a sliding scale of Unpleasant to Pleasant at any time, discreetly, and you’re able to add notes about why you’re feeling this way from your iPhone. You’ll also be able to stake standardized assessments used in clinics which can add more information and will let you know if you should talk to someone, and based on your watch recordings, your Mindfulness app on your phone will link you to articles and relevant information online. 

Finally, the phone can use the watch’s ambient light sensor to determine if you, or your child, have spent enough time outdoors. Myopia, or near-sightedness, is increasing, and Apple have allowed parents to see how much daylight their children are getting to help mitigate myopia development in their family Health app, even if the children have APple Watches without iPhones of their own. 

watchOS 10: Release date

Based on previous years, we believe watchOS 10 will launch later this month alongside the new Apple Watch devices and iPhone 15. Apple typically releases its software updates 6-9 days after a September launch event, so expect it next week or the week after. 

Fortunately, public betas have already been released, where you can try out the new Apple Watch features early. In order to do so, you’ll first need to get the iOS 17 beta (here’s what happened when our US editor-in-chief tried it) and update the software on your Apple Watch, choosing the ‘Beta Updates’ and ‘Public Beta’ options. If the option doesn’t appear on your Apple Watch, you may need to log in at before trying again.

(Image credit: Apple)

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