Apple watchOS 10: New features, design, and more
Apple has upped the ante with watchOS 10, unleashing a barrage of features that fundamentally reshape the Apple Watch experience.
Touted as the biggest update since the introduction of the Apple Watch, this new iteration is jam-packed with app redesigns, innovative experiences for cyclists, hikers, and explorers, as well as groundbreaking health insights.
Fasten your seat belt because this one is quite the ride.
Overall the update seems to be something we’ll enjoy, it does leave some people complaining about some new additions.
Let’s dive into the details to uncover everything that watchOS 10 brings to the table.
What We Love and Hate About watchOS 10
Apple watchOS 10 New Features
Here are the key additions in watchOS 10:
- Massive App Redesigns
- Smart Stack
- Redesigned App Dock
- Enhanced Control Center
- New Watch Faces
- Cycling Improvements
- Compass & Topographic Updates
- Mental Health Insights
- Apple Fitness+ Custom Plans
- Offline Maps
Stunning New Display and App Designs
Virtually every app on watchOS 10 has been re-imagined to use the entire display, bringing a completely new feel to your watch.
Now, the entire screen is used, allowing your apps to stretch further than before. This helps to make the screen seem larger than it is.
It also allows you to interact more and scroll less, which is, of course, always welcomed on a small screen.
Redesigned App Dock
This is by far everyone’s least favorite feature of the new update. But who knows, maybe it will grow on us.
Instead of being able to scroll around all your apps in the dock, they are now displayed in almost a list-like fashion.
It doesn’t look like much of a difference in the picture, but test it out on your watch to see what we mean.
You can no longer scroll left to right, it is only up and down. It is comparable to the already existing list view, but with widgets.
This is an interesting move away from a feature that we all grew to love.
One of the most anticipated features of watchOS 10 is NameDrop, set to revolutionize how we share contact information with a mere wrist gesture.
However, patience is key, as this convenient feature isn’t available just yet.
Stay tuned for its release later this year.
Smart Stack: A Crown Jewel
Smart Stack offers dynamic widget integration directly into your watch face.
All you have to do is spin the Digital Crown up to have a seamless, organized stream of widgets at your fingertips.
Coming standard to the smart stack are widgets such as Calendar, Tips, Now Playing, Weather, Activity, and all apps.
However, Apple makes it incredible easy to edit your smart stack
This innovation allows you to get the information you need without jumping in and out of apps.
Revamped Control Center
While the layout of the Control Center hasn’t changed too much, the accessibility of it has greatly.
Now, a simple press of the side button from within any app brings up the Control Center.
This update streamlines navigation and ensures that essential controls are always just a tap away.
New Watch Faces
While new watch faces aren’t ground-breaking additions to your watch, they can be a nice change of pace if you’re getting bored of what they currently have to offer. Each offers its own level of customization from complications, to colors and style.
Here is a list of the new watch faces available to watchOS 10:
Snoopy (Yes another one) comes in various colors, with 4 different styles. Unfortunately, there are no available complications for this watch face.
Palette uses a trifecta of overlapping colors that adjust throughout the day, taking the concept of dynamic watch faces to a whole new level.
This face allows for 4 different complications, as well as customizable colors.
Modular Ultra is exclusive to the Ultra 1 and 2 and offers a featured packed face that extends all the way to the edge of the watch.
The Modular Ultra comes in essentially every color, with customization options 7 complications, night mode, bezels, and styles.
Solar Analog is simple watch face where the light and shadow shift throughout the day in accordance to the position of the sun. It comes in various colors, styles, light settings, and allows for 2 complications.
Nike Global is a relatively basic face that also comes in a variety of colors. There are no customizable styles, but it does have room for 4 complications.
One thing to note is that in order to switch between your watch faces on watchOS 10, you can no longer swipe right and left. You have to press and hold down on the watch face, then swipe right or left.
It’s not a massive change, but something to be aware of.
A New Cycling Experience
Cycling aficionados can connect to Bluetooth-enabled accessories for real-time metrics on cadence, speed, and power.
The new Power Zones Workout View even estimates your Functional Threshold Power, so you can train smarter, not harder.
Plus, your Apple Watch metrics seamlessly sync with your iPhone for a more optimized experience during your rides.
Compass & Topography
For those who love hitting the trails, new views in the Compass app, topographic maps, and trail information are significant additions.
WatchOS 10 even introduces elevation alerts, making your hiking trips safer and more informed.
Mental Health Monitoring
The mental health features in watchOS 10 are a groundbreaking step for the tech industry.
Emotional awareness tools allow you to log your current feelings, while in-depth analysis in the Health app correlates this data with factors like sleep and exercise.
And worry not—privacy is paramount; the data stays encrypted on your device.
Unfortunately, it seems Apple is beginning to phase out older models on both the Apple Watch and the iPhone, preventing them from being able to use the latest software.
WatchOS 10 is compatible with select Apple Watch Series and requires an iPhone XS or newer. For full details, see our watchOS 10 compatibility article.
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by Ken Lynch
Ken is a Technologist, Healthcare Data Analyst, and the owner and sole contributor to The Wearable Guy.