Apple Announces watchOS 3 With Dock, Control Center, New Watch Faces and Apps, And More

Apple today announced watchOS 3, the next major version of its Apple Watch software platform. The update includes several performance and navigation improvements, new watch faces and apps, several fitness-related features, and more.

WatchOS3_trio

"Apple Watch is the ultimate companion for a healthy life and with watchOS 3, there's now even more to love," said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer. "Favorite apps launch instantly and are simple to access, and the breakthrough new fitness and health features like the Breathe app make it feel like a whole new watch."

• Apple Watch users can press the side button to access the new Dock, where they can tap to launch native and third-party apps instantly and have the latest information in the app already updated and ready for viewing.

• Swiping up from the bottom brings up an all-new Control Center with toggles for Airplane Mode, Do Not Disturb, notifications, and more. Meanwhile, you can now simply swipe left and right to easily switch between watch faces.

• New ways to create and respond to iMessages, including a Scribble feature that dynamically recognizes which letters are drawn on the Apple Watch's screen and translates the drawings into traditional text messages. You can also send animations, invisible ink, stickers, larger emoji, sketches, taps, and your heartbeat.

• New watch faces: Minnie Mouse, Activity, and Numerals.

• Activity Sharing: You can now share your Activity rings with others for competitive motivation, and receive notifications when people finish workouts or earn achievements.

• A new Breathe app guides you through a series of deep breaths with relaxing animations and gentle taps. A summary provides you with your heart rate and the length of your breathing session, which can be adjusted by spinning the Digital Crown. Time to Breathe reminders can be set on a daily basis.

• New features for wheelchair users: The Activity app now supports a trio of wheelchair pushing techniques for varying speeds and terrain. There are also two new wheelchair-specific workouts and a new "Time to Roll" notification.

• SOS: Press and hold the side button and Apple Watch will initiate a call with 911 or local emergency services. SOS can also send a message to quickly alert your emergency contacts. The feature, which works over Wi-Fi or cellular, includes a medical card with your personal information and any medical conditions, and can provide local emergency numbers based on the country you are in.

• Apple Watch now supports Apple Pay within apps

• Apple Watch can now automatically unlock your nearby Mac

• Apple Watch can be used with the new Home app for controlling HomeKit accessories

watchOS 3 is available as a developer beta today. A public beta will be released in July. The free software update will officially launch in the fall.

Related Roundup: Apple Watch 6
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Buy Now)

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
56 months ago
I could cry. This update is almost perfect.
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
56 months ago
It's funny how some people find this useless and boring, but for us apple users this is much bigger than the jump from iOS 6 to iOS 7 ;)
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
56 months ago

They always start with the stuff no one cares about.

The breathing function? Not so much. Faster app performance etc? Well, I care.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
56 months ago
Who would have thought of all that Apple announced today this is what I'm most excited about.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
56 months ago
Super excited about WatchOS... not only do I love the deeper integration of the various OS devices with being able to unlock your mac with your watch, and copy and paste across devices, but I *very much* applaud the focus on speed for the watch, without needing new hardware. It looks AWESOME. The one thing I felt the watch's fitness aspect always needed was some social networking, to allow smack talk and such. This is a great, great step, that really should have been there from the get go. I love my watch more now, and building that sense of community is ONLY going to draw in more users. This is a major plus for the future of the watch as a device. Last year the focus seemed to be a bit too much on the watch as a fashion device. This shows that they care about the interface, too.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
56 months ago
They always start with the stuff no one cares about.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iPhone 12 Lineup Rumored to Be Named 'iPhone 12 mini,' 'iPhone 12,' 'iPhone 12 Pro,' and 'iPhone 12 Pro Max'

Monday September 21, 2020 5:24 am PDT by
Leaker known as "L0vetodream" has today shared the alleged naming for the upcoming iPhone 12 lineup on Twitter. The tweet proposes that the upcoming iPhone 12 models will be titled "iPhone 12 mini," "iPhone 12," "iPhone 12 Pro," and "iPhone 12 Pro Max." The names likely correspond to the three expected sizes of iPhone 12, with the 5.4-inch model being the iPhone 12 mini, the 6.7-inch model ...

iOS 14 Widgets Offer iPhone Users Creative Home Screen Ideas

Sunday September 20, 2020 8:43 pm PDT by
Updated on September 22nd with hands on video. In iOS 14, Apple introduced ‌the concept of Home Screen‌ widgets, which provide information from apps at a glance. Widgets can be pinned to the Home Screen in various spots and sizes, allowing for many different layouts. Despite the relative lack of...

Hands-On With iOS 14 Widgets, Custom Icons, and Home Screen Setup

Tuesday September 22, 2020 3:25 pm PDT by
Apple with iOS 14 introduced widgets on the Home Screen, leading to unprecedented levels of customization for the iPhone. Combined with Shortcuts that let you change an app's icon, iOS 14 lets you create a whole new look for your Home Screen. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. We've been following along with some of the creative alternative Home Screen designs that M...

PSA: New Apple Watch Owners Have to Return Entire Device for Ill-Fitting Solo Loop or Braided Solo Loop

Monday September 21, 2020 3:26 pm PDT by
With the Apple Watch Series 6, Apple introduced two new band options, the Solo Loop and the Braided Solo Loop. These new bands are unique because they have no clasps, buckles, or other fasteners, and instead use a stretch design to allow them to pull onto the wrist over the hand. Because these bands are not adjustable, Apple sells each one in nine different sizes to make sure each person...

Apple's iPhone 12 Event Could Happen on October 13 Based on Rumors From Mobile Operators

Wednesday September 23, 2020 11:51 am PDT by
Apple's upcoming iPhone-centric event could perhaps be held on Tuesday, October 13, according to information shared with MacRumors by an employee at a UK cellular carrier. There's no way for us to confirm the dates at this point in time nor are we sure on the credibility of the source, but even without a rumor, Tuesday, October 13 is a good guess based on Apple's historic launch timelines, ...

New Images Leak of iPhone 12 Braided USB-C to Lightning Cable

Thursday September 24, 2020 2:37 am PDT by
Rumors suggest Apple's upcoming iPhone 12 models will ship with a new Lightning to USB-C cable that includes a braided fabric design. Images of the purported cables were leaked in July, and today leaker Mr White has shared new images that give us a closer look at what we might get included in the iPhone 12 box. The photos show a USB-C to Lightning cable with a clearly braided design rather...

Interest in iOS 14 Home Screen Ideas Helps Pinterest Break Daily Download Record

Wednesday September 23, 2020 4:37 am PDT by
Apple's introduction of widgets on the Home Screen in iOS 14 has driven a surge in interest among users looking to customize their iPhone, and that has reportedly had a knock-on effect for Pinterest, whose iOS app has seen record downloads as users flock to its content seeking design inspiration. As reported by TechCrunch, App Store intelligence firm Apptopia was first to note the impact of ...

Apple Releases First Public Betas of iOS 14.2 and iPadOS 14.2 With New Shazam Control Center Options

Monday September 21, 2020 10:34 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the first public betas of upcoming iOS 14.2 and iPadOS 14.2 updates to its public beta testing group, a few days after seeding the first betas to developers and a little less than a week after releasing the iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 updates. Public beta testers who have signed up for Apple's beta testing program can download the iOS and iPadOS‌ 14.2 updates over the air after ...

Apple Emphasizes That Solo Loop May Increase in Length Over Time, Updates Sizing Guide With More Specific Instructions

Wednesday September 23, 2020 8:26 am PDT by
Apple on Tuesday updated one of its support documents to emphasize that the new silicone rubber Solo Loop for the Apple Watch may increase in length over time, as mentioned in fine print at the bottom of the Solo Loop product page. Apple has also updated its printable Solo Loop sizing guide with more specific instructions, as noted by 9to5Mac's Michael Steeber. The guide now advises users to ...

Microsoft Announces Outlook for Mac Redesign, Improvements to iOS and watchOS Apps

Tuesday September 22, 2020 8:56 am PDT by
Microsoft has today announced plans to bring a new design to its Outlook for Mac app along with several other improvements and features for Outlook on iOS and watchOS. In preparation for the public release of macOS Big Sur, Microsoft has been testing a new design for Outlook on Mac. The design includes Microsoft's Fluent icons and several design cues from Big Sur such as rounded corners....