Apple has released watchOS 8 for Apple Watch Series 3 and later. The new operating system features updates for apps like Wallet, Home, Workouts, Fitness+, Photos, Messages, and more. It also has new apps such as Contacts and Find Items, and a revamped ‘Mindfulness’ app that replaces the Breathe app.
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What’s new in watchOS 8?
Just like every watchOS release, it also has new watch faces, and features and updates targeted towards fitness, workouts, and health. Here are the updates that you can expect to see after upgrading to watchOS 8.
- Wallet app in Apple Watch Series 6 now supports Ultra Wideband to unlock Car Keys.
- Home app has a new design to provide access to all connected accessories. It also lets users view HomeKit-enabled cameras right form their Apple Watch. Users can also broadcast messages to their HomePod or HomePod mini using Intercom from their watch.
- New workout types include Tai Chi and Pilates.
- Mindfulness app, previously called Breathe, features new situations to focus and reflect on while breathing.
- A new respiratory rate tracker while sleeping using the built-in accelerometer in Apple Watch. Health app will also track and show sleep trends over time.
- Fitness+ offers 7 new workout sessions, including pilates and skiing workouts, with a new trainer.
- watchOS 8 features a new portrait watch face that allows using Portrait photos from an iPhone to create interesting multilayered and immersive watch faces. Users can change the focus of the new portrait watch faces by turning the crown.
- Photos app has a new mosaic layout for memories. Users can also share photos via messages right from their watch.
- Messages app now supports Scribble, dictation, and emojis in one interface.
- New Contacts apps
- Find Items app to let users search for their AirTags or other Find My network accessories.
- Redesigned Music app makes it easy to share songs and playlists via the Messages app.
- Updated Weather app with severe weather conditions alerts, and new complications.
- Always-on support for more apps
Check out our comprehensive coverage of watchOS 8 features for more information.
watchOS 8 release notes
Here are the full release notes from Apple for watchOS 8:
watchOS 8 brings you new ways to stay healthy, active, and connected. A redesigned Photos app helps you stay connected to your most precious memories, and the new Mindfulness app and new Tai Chi and Pilates workout types will help you lead a healthy and fit life. And updates to Wallet and Home make it simple and convenient to access your house, car, and even the places you love to visit.
• Portraits face uses segmentation data from portrait photos taken on iPhone to create an immersive, multi-layered face (Apple Watch Series 4 and later)
• World Time face lets you track the time in 24 different time zones at once (Apple Watch Series 4 and later)
• Status and controls for accessories in your home now appear at the top of the Home app
• Quick views to see if accessories are on, have a low battery, require a software update, and more
• Accessories and scenes dynamically appear based on the time of day and frequency of use
• Dedicated camera room for viewing all available HomeKit camera feeds in one place, with support for multiple aspect ratios
• Favorites area gives you access to the scenes and accessories that you use most
• Home keys let you tap to unlock a supported home or apartment door lock
• Hotel keys allow you to tap to unlock your room at participating hotels
• Office keys allows you to tap to unlock your office doors for participating corporate offices
• Car keys with Ultra Wideband on Apple Watch Series 6 let you unlock, lock, and start your supported vehicle as you approach
• Remote keyless entry functions on your car keys allow you to lock, unlock, honk your horn, preheat your car, or open your trunk
• New custom algorithms in the Workout app for Tai Chi and Pilates provide accurate tracking of calorie metrics
• Automatic Outdoor Cycling workout detection sends a reminder to start the Workout app, giving you retroactive credit for exercise already started
• Automatic pause and resume for Outdoor Cycling workouts
• Improved accuracy of calorie metrics for Outdoor Cycling workouts while riding an e-bike
• Users 13 and under can now track hiking workouts with more accurate metrics
• Voice feedback announces workout milestones using the built-in speaker or connected Bluetooth device
• Guided Meditations can help you practice meditation, featuring audio sessions on Apple Watch and video sessions on iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV that guide you through specific themes
• Pilates workouts are now available, with new workouts every week that are designed to improve strength and flexibility
• Support for Picture-in-Picture viewing on iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV, so you can watch your workout while you also view other content in compatible apps
• Expanded workout filters for Yoga, Strength, Core, and HIIT workouts, including whether equipment is required
• Mindfulness app includes an enhanced Breathe experience along with a new Reflect session
• Breathe sessions have tips that help add a physical connection to deep-breathing practices and a new animation to guide your session
• Reflect sessions give you a simple idea to focus your thoughts, along with a visualization that shows the passing of a minute
• Respiratory rate is measured by Apple Watch during sleep
• Ability to review respiratory rate during sleep in the Health app, and be notified if a trend has been detected
• Ability to compose or reply to messages by using Scribble, dictation, and emoji all from the same screen
• Ability to adjust dictated text by using the Digital Crown to scroll to where you want to edit
• Support for #images in Messages allows you to search for a GIF or select one you’ve used recently
• Redesigned Photos app allows you to view and manage your photo library from your wrist
• Highlights from Memories and featured photos, in addition to your favorites, sync to Apple Watch with new content generated daily
• Photos from synced Memories will be displayed in a mosaic-style grid, highlighting some of your best shots with a larger photo
• Ability to share photos through Messages and Mail
• Find Items app allows you to locate items with an attached AirTag and compatible third-party products with the Find My network
• Find Devices app helps you locate your misplaced Apple devices, as well as devices owned by someone in your Family Sharing group
• Find My separation alerts notify you if you leave your Apple device, AirTag, or compatible third-party item behind
• Next-hour precipitation notifications alert you when rain or snow is about to start or stop
• Severe weather notifications alert you about certain events including tornados, winter storms, flash floods, and more
• Precipitation chart that visually depicts the intensity of the rain
Other features and improvements:
• Focus lets you automatically filter notifications based on your current activity, such as fitness, sleep, gaming, reading, driving, work, or personal time
• Apple Watch automatically aligns with any Focus that you set in iOS, iPadOS or macOS, so you can manage notifications and stay focused
• Contacts app gives you the ability to access, share, and edit your contacts
• Tips app provides collections of helpful hints and suggestions for how to best use your Apple Watch and its built-in apps
• Redesigned Music app allows you to find and listen to music and radio all in one place
• Ability to share songs, albums, and playlists in the Music app through Messages and Mail
• Support for multiple timers, including Siri support for adding labels to timers
• Cycle Tracking can now use heart rate data from Apple Watch to improve predictions
• New Memoji stickers to send a shaka, a handwave, a lightbulb moment, and more
• Over 40 outfit choices and up to three different colors to customize your Memoji stickers’s clothing and headwear
• Real-time measurement of your headphone audio level in Control Center when listening to media
• Ability to add transit cards in Wallet for Family Setup users in Hong Kong, Japan, and select cities in China mainland and US
• Google account support for Calendar and Mail for Family Setup users
• AssistiveTouch allows users with upper limb differences to answer calls, control an onscreen pointer, launch a menu of actions, and more, using hand gestures like a pinch or a clench
• Additional larger text size option available in Settings
• Support for the ECG app on Apple Watch Series 4 or later in Lithuania
• Support for irregular heart rhythm notifications in Lithuania
Some features may not be available for all countries or all areas, for more information visit:
For information on the security content of Apple software updates, please visit this website:
Is your Apple Watch compatible with watchOS 8?
watchOS 8 is compatible with the following Apple Watch models:
- Apple Watch Series 6
- Apple Watch SE
- Apple Watch Series 5
- Apple Watch Series 4
- Apple Watch Series 3
How to upgrade Apple Watch to watchOS 8?
Before you begin, place your Apple Watch on its charging puck, and ensure that it has at least 50% battery charge. Your paired iPhone should also have sufficient battery charge to go through the upgrade process. Note that you cannot downgrade from watchOS 8 to watchOS 7 if you do not like the new update or run into any issues.
Now that’s out of the way, go to Settings > General > Software Update in the Watch app on your iPhone, and wait for watchOS 8 RC to show up. Place your Apple Watch on its charger, and start the upgrade process.
Check our detailed guide on how you can download and install watchOS 8 on your Apple Watch.