Hands-On With watchOS 3: Instant App Launching, Favorites Dock, New Watch Faces and More

watchOS 3, set to be released this fall, introduces some radical changes to the operating system that runs on the Apple Watch. There are new apps and watch faces, interface tweaks overhaul the way we interact with watchOS, and a new feature for keeping apps running in the background allows for instant launch times.

Since most of us won't be able to check out watchOS 3 until the fall of 2016 following an extended beta testing period, we've created a video to highlight the must see features.


Glances are gone in watchOS 3, replaced with a "dock" accessible by pressing the side button. 10 favorite first and third-party apps can be added to the dock, where they'll be kept continually up to date and able to launch in a second. Changing watch faces is done with a left and right swipe, while a downward swipe now brings up the Control Center.

Activity Sharing features allow Apple Watch owners to share workout and activity information with friends, and there are new options for Wheelchair users. A Breathe app guides users through daily deep breathing sessions, an Apple Watch can unlock a Mac, and Apple has added apps for Reminders, Find My Friends, and accessing one's heartbeat.

Watch faces support more complications, there are three new watch faces to choose from, including a new Activity watch face, and an SOS feature will make sure an option to get help in an emergency is always right at your fingertips. On the iPhone, there's a new Face Gallery for customizing Apple Watch faces, and watchOS 3 allows the Apple Watch to be located via Find My iPhone.

For full details on the new features coming in watchOS 3, make sure to check out our watchOS 3 roundup. Don't miss out on our previous videos, which have covered iOS 10 and macOS Sierra features:

- WWDC 2016 Overview in Seven Minutes
- iOS 10's Overhauled Lockscreen
- The New iOS 10 Photos App
- The New iOS 10 Messages App
- macOS Sierra - Siri
- iOS 10 Hidden Features

We've also got roundups for all of the upcoming operating systems, including iOS 10, macOS Sierra, and tvOS 10.

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Series 9
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)

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Top Rated Comments

Watabou Avatar
103 months ago
Thats what I thought. Thats dumb and defeats the whole purpose of Glances. So now we've ruined glances and forced the user to go back into the app to make sure they are always on the page they want to glance at.

FAIL
Trust me, you won't miss glances. Glances were slow and you couldn't scroll through them fast. The dock is a proper replacement for glances done right imo
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JoEw Avatar
103 months ago
All very welcome improvements, especially the addition of the dock.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Watabou Avatar
103 months ago
So wait.. There are no more glances?
Correct.

The dock is a vastly better concept because the app is both glance-able AND background refreshed, so it will be more accurate and faster, AND it's all kept in memory so the apps you keep in the Dock should instantly launch.

Good riddance to glances for these reasons.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mr. Donahue Avatar
103 months ago
I was really hoping for more interesting watch faces. Or maybe the ability to change color of the numbers and tick marks on the "Utility" watch face. Or the ability to change the color of the hands on the "Chronograph" watch face.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
stiligFox Avatar
103 months ago
I've been wondering this though - I'm glad glances are gone, good riddance. But is the friends wheel still here somewhere that I'm missing? It was kind of handy for giving a quick call to my parents if I needed to verify something on a shopping list...
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
skywalkerr69 Avatar
103 months ago
As an apple watch owner I really don't think we should have to wait for the fall for this. Especially given the garbage the current version is.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)