Hands-On With watchOS 4: Siri Watch Face, Apple Pay, Activity Improvements, New Workouts and More

This fall Apple plans to introduce an all new version of watchOS, the operating system that runs on the Apple Watch. watchOS 4 is faster, more efficient, includes new tools for developers, and offers up some thoughtful interface refinements.

To get a glimpse of the new features you can expect to see on your Apple Watch when watchOS 4 launches this fall, check out our hands-on video.

Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.

watchOS 4 brings a new Siri watch face that offers up dynamic, personalized information that changes based on the time of day. Siri can display weather info, calendar appointments, reminders, HomeKit controls, news alerts, and tons more, right on the watch face.

There's also a new Kaleidoscope watch face that turns any photo into a colorful animation, and Apple's adding a Toy Story face starring animated versions of Woody, Jessie, or Buzz Lightyear.

Apple's redesigned the Dock (accessed by pressing the side button) to be vertical instead of horizontal, and there's a new option to view all your apps in a list. There are also new complications and a new flashlight option in Control Center, which lights up the Apple Watch's display.

Apple wants to do more to motivate you to exercise in watchOS 4, so the Activity app will send alerts to let you know how close you are to completing a goal and what you need to do to reach it. There are also new animations to offer visual rewards and personalized monthly challenges based on your workout history.

The Workout app has a revamped interface that makes it easier to start a workout, and there's a new High Intensity Interval Training option, along with new options for the swim workout. Starting in the fall, watchOS 4 will let the Apple Watch interface with gym equipment for two-way real-time data exchange, and with a new Core Bluetooth API, the Apple Watch can connect directly to Bluetooth devices like glucose monitors.

Other features include a redesigned Music app, peer-to-peer Apple Pay payments in Messages, an option for composing emails right on your watch, and a new Apple News app.

Best of all, watchOS 4 apps load faster, are more responsive, and can do more because Apple is opening up more APIs to developers.

watchOS 4 will run on all Apple Watch models, including first-generation, Series 1, and Series 2. For a more detailed look at what to expect in the update, check out our watchOS 4 roundup.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 6
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Buy Now)

Top Rated Comments

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32 months ago

Toy Story and Kaleidoscope Watch Faces. So much innovation Timmy can swim in it.


Don't you ever get sick of picking up two things out of the ten discussed and pretending like the rest didn't exist? Or was the video just too long to understand?
Rating: 28 Votes
32 months ago
Toy Story and Kaleidoscope Watch Faces. So much innovation Timmy can swim in it.
Rating: 11 Votes
32 months ago
Did I miss some bit detailing the Apple Pay-related changes mentioned in the article title?

The new design language is pretty, the Kaleidoscope face seems useful only if you actively do not want to know the time, the Toy Story faces are novelty I suppose, the Siri face could be genuinely useful _if_ it does a really good job of presenting really relevant information (which remains to be seen). I'm pleased that it'll all still run on my series-0 watch.

The bit about being able to crop pictures for/to watch faces from the share sheet is nice. I don't generally use photo faces because there's just not enough information.

I'd still like to see some new faces that break from analog watch tradition and show the time in new ways (say, a 24 hour face with midnight at the bottom and sun/moon visibility shown as colored "pie slices" with appointments and alarms along the edge, or a face with concentric circles of dots for hour/minute/second). It like to see some thought put into novel ways of showing me the day other than aping the faces of timepieces of previous centuries, that were bound to those presentations by mechanical limitations. Many of the faces available now use the watch in a manner similar to the evolutionary "iPod telephone" mockups we saw before the revolutionary iPhone came out. If they'd let me code my own watch faces, I'd do so happily, but they're not giving us the tools, so it's on them to provide innovative faces.
Rating: 7 Votes
32 months ago
Just give us a watch face studio with more options and the ability to install 3rd party faces, offer faces for sale from big name watchmakers
Rating: 6 Votes
32 months ago

So they are still selling this stupid product? Until this thing can be used without being tethered to a phone, it is utterly redundant and useless.


I certainly love mine, and I find it very useful even when not near my phone. Maybe it's not your cup of tea, but useless it is not.
Rating: 6 Votes
32 months ago
Many, many of us want stylish watch faces with room for complications and innovative watch faces that tell the time in new ways -- as you might see now with some of the modern, high-end, analog watch makers. Not all of us are kids or are using our watches only for workouts!
Rating: 6 Votes
32 months ago
I'm counting down OSes until they finally provide the ability to use third party watchfaces. Or, counting up, rather. Then I could finally release my Hourly Generic Apple Complaints face:



Rating: 5 Votes
32 months ago

I have been marking time waiting on the Apple Watch to catch up with my Suunto Ambit3 watch, in regards to battery life and fitness accuracy (running related). Unless I am missing some major key points, the Apple Watch with new OS features etc. continues to be an expensive novelty watch.

From what I have read on the forum, the AW would do well to make it to the end of a marathon race. That is terrible.

Apple should have been ashamed for marketing a Toy Story watch face. As if that is going to help sell a $400.00+ watch.


You're certainly entitled to your opinion on the Apple Watch, but your choice of words with "Novelty" is highly subjective. I think the Apple Watch goes beyond being just a fitness tracker and only the user decides how the Watch benefits them in whichever way it can. Now, if that means it's for notifications to allow the iPhone to not be tethered to us all the time or if it's used to control various Home automation, it will serve everyone differently. However, I also feel the Apple Watch offers many capabilities where it also appeals to everyone differently, because not everyone will use it the same.

The Toy Story Watch faces are not my preference either and it's evident many Watch owners are seeking additional Watch faces. But a Toy story Watch face won't stop the Apple Watch from selling either. The customization with the Apple Watch is the strongest point with the bands and changing the Watch faces. Even though the Watch faces are limited in numbers, the complications, colors and individuality to each Watch face makes it unique on its own.

As far as fitness tracking with the Apple Watch, it's one of the best fitness Watches I have used. It's very accurate in data recording and the battery life is suited for most who use it everyday. I couldn't ask for more from the Apple Watch in this category. Apple did an excellent job with the various workout categories and the heart rate Monitor has been accurate enough to know where I currently stand.
Rating: 5 Votes
32 months ago
I think the Siri watch face will be great, much easier to see everything from one screen
Rating: 4 Votes
32 months ago
I have been marking time waiting on the Apple Watch to catch up with my Suunto Ambit3 watch, in regards to battery life and fitness accuracy (running related). Unless I am missing some major key points, the Apple Watch with new OS features etc. continues to be an expensive novelty watch.

From what I have read on the forum, the AW would do well to make it to the end of a marathon race. That is terrible.

Apple should have been ashamed for marketing a Toy Story watch face. As if that is going to help sell a $400.00+ watch.
Rating: 3 Votes

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