watchOS 9 is here: news, installation, compatibility

It’s time to update your Apple Watch! With watchOS 9, the queen of connected watches therefore receives some new features dedicated mainly to health and sport, with some welcome improvements.

Since September 12, Apple has been offering alongside updating your iPhone to iOS 16, the update of part of its Apple Watch to the new version of the system, watchOS 9. The firm had largely unveiled the new features of this mobile OS during its WWDC conference last June. And while waiting for the next arrival of the new range of watches – the Series 8 and the impressive Ultra – scheduled for Friday, September 16 and already powered by watchOS 9, everyone can already update their old model (see list of compatible watches below).

Always inseparable fromiPhone, the Apple Watch relies on the latter to repatriate and install the new version of watchOS. The operation remains simple and goes through the Watch application on the iPhone. Then just tap on My watch at the bottom of the screen, choose General and then Software update. Provided that the device is connected to a network (Wifi or data), the update will be offered for download. Once the system has been repatriated, all that remains is to place the Apple Watch on its charger – it must remain there throughout the operation and display at least 50% battery charge – and press the Install link . For more details, you can also refer to our fact sheet. The update starts and only takes a few minutes.

The most impatient can already lend themselves to the exercise of the update to take advantage of the new features brought by watchOS 9. The most cautious can wait a few weeks to avoid the bugs encountered quite frequently at the end of the release of a completely new version of the system.

What’s new in watchOS 9?

Apple has made it a point of honor not to modify in depth the watchOS operating system which has greatly contributed to the success of the Apple Watch which remains, according to the manufacturer, the best-selling watch in the world for 7 years. Navigation in the system therefore remains the same. You have to look for new things elsewhere.

Honoring health

Since the Apple Watch Series 5 and its ECG (electrocardiogram) function, Apple’s watches are still leaning towards health monitoring. With watchOS 9 the firm adds a new function: Processing. From the Health app on the iPhone, it is thus possible to indicate the follow-up of a drug treatment in the form of tablets, drops, injections, etc. The name of the drug, the dosage and the time of intake are indicated. It is even possible to customize the icon for each treatment.

Associated with the Apple Watch, the application will thus be happy to remind you that it is time to take your treatment (taking into account the time zone if it must be taken at a fixed time and if you are traveling abroad).

Sleep tracking has also been improved. It is now much more detailed and allows in particular to detect the different phases (deep, REM, light, etc.). In this area, Apple catches up with certain functions offered by third-party applications. Tracking heart rhythm disturbances is also more accurate.

© Apple

Athletes better followed

The Exercises application, which focuses on monitoring sports activities, also welcomes some new features. For running, for example, it is possible to know at a glance the level of intensity of effort performed. It comes in the form of a gauge divided into color zones. The display is obviously based on the heart rate. It is also possible to set up training sessions to be carried out and goals to be achieved. Notifications (audio, visual and haptic feedback) also inform of changes in rhythm during exercise. New algorithms take into account all sensors. The Apple Watch is able to determine the vertical oscillation of the steps in addition to their length, to try to determine if you jump a little too high when jogging. And also also allows you to indicate the time of contact with the ground at each step.

New dials

Apple respects the custom for this new version of watchOS. The system therefore accommodates new dials. Four new dials are thus appearing. The Astronomy dial features a terrestrial globe that changes with the time of day to show it in sunlight or in the shadows of night. You can even play with the Digital Crown (the crown placed on the edge of the watch) to change the perspective. The lunar calendar presents an ultra-detailed view of the phases of the moon indicating religious holidays and cultural events around the world related to the lunar phases. The Récréation dial features figures animated like a cartoon. And finally, the Megalopolis dial plays on typography to offer a classic yet elegant view. It is possible to change the size of the digits by rotating the crown of the watch.

autonomy management

If you want to keep your Apple Watch on overnight to monitor your sleep, better take care of its battery. Autonomy has never been the strong point of Apple Watch. And to improve this point, Apple offers in watchOS 9, an energy saving mode to be activated as needed. This involves pausing certain functions of the watch that eat up the battery such as heart rate measurement in the background, WiFi and cellular activity and of course, the Always-on mode (screen always on) which allows to keep the time display on the dial even in standby. To activate the power saving mode, simply press the icon showing the percentage of battery remaining in the control center of the watch.

The compass on the page

More anecdotally, the design of the compass application also benefits from a makeover. The display is similar to that offered on the Apple Watch Ultra, the watch for backpackers and adventurers.

An improved calendar

The Calendar application also benefits from a small refresh. It offers a more detailed view of the program for the day or even the week. It is also possible to create new events from the Apple Watch. We can do this using the keyboard now available in French as well as in German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Japanese.

Which Apple Watches are compatible with watchOS 9?

We have to believe that watchOS 9 is sufficiently well optimized not to weigh too heavily on the performance of Apple Watch. The new system is thus revealed with models released in 2018. It will still be necessary to have an iPhone 8 at least animated by iOS 16 to enjoy. Here is the list of compatible Apple Watch:

  • Apple Watch Series 4
  • Apple Watch Series 5
  • Apple Watch SE
  • Apple Watch Series 6
  • Apple Watch Series 7
  • Apple Watch Series 8
  • Apple Watch Ultra

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