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watchOS 5 Wishlist: Features MacRumors Readers Want to See Introduced in the Next Apple Watch Software Update

The Worldwide Developers Conference is just about a week and a half away, and while we've heard some rumors on what we might see in iOS 12 and macOS 10.14, watchOS 5, the next-generation software update for the Apple Watch, remains a total mystery.

With no idea what to expect, we asked MacRumors readers what new features and tweaks they would most like to see in the watchOS 5 update.


  • Live step count complication - MacRumors reader Breezygirl would like to see Apple add a live step complication that lets you see how many steps you've completed at a glance, rather than just a complication that lets you know how close you've come to hitting your activity ring goal.

  • Third-party watch faces - Third-party watch faces are highly desired by most Apple Watch owners on the forums, but so far, Apple has kept the Apple Watch locked down to control the design and interface of the device. As MacRumors reader Relentless Power suggests, a watch face store that includes a variety of watch faces from third-party developers and companies would be great.

  • Activity app improvements - Right now, the Activity app requires you to hit your goals each and every day to keep a streak going, which can be difficult at times and allows for no rest. MacRumors reader SoYoung would like to be able to set rest days.

  • Workout app improvements - In the same vein, MacRumors reader Rbart is hoping for a better workout app for running that's closer in design to Strava with additional statistics, a complete history, best performances, and more. Honglong1976, meanwhile, would like to see automatic activity detection to alleviate the need to start a workout.

  • Podcasts for Apple Watch - Multiple MacRumors readers would like to see a dedicated Podcasts app on the Apple Watch for listening to podcasts on the wrist-worn device.

  • Off-wrist Notifications indicator - MacRumors reader Lennyvalentin would like to see the Apple Watch better able to keep track of incoming notifications even when off the wrist, with those notifications still showing up but with an indication to note that they were received while the Apple Watch was idle.

  • Proximity notifications - There's no way to set the Apple Watch to ping when it goes out of range of the iPhone, a feature MacRumors reader Justiny would like to see as a way to keep track of the iPhone and get a reminder if it's left behind.

  • Sleep tracking - This one is probably a long shot given that Apple suggests people charge their Apple Watches at night, but MacRumors readers would like to see native sleep tracking capabilities.

  • Always-on display - Given battery constraints, Apple has never implemented an always-on display for the Apple Watch, which is another highly desired feature. The Apple Watch display comes on when the wrist is raised, but it would be nice to have always-on access to the time as is possible with a traditional watch.

  • Better health analysis and suggestions - MacRumors reader Bluecoast would like to see Apple better take advantage of the health information it collects with the watch to add recommendations and coaching for those who are aiming to meet health goals, as well as deeper analysis.
Is there something you're hoping to see in watchOS 5 that didn't make it on our list? Make sure to let us know in the comments.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 5
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Top Rated Comments

(View all)

21 weeks ago
Two-day battery life thanks to enhanced power management.
Rating: 20 Votes
21 weeks ago
I would like to see a new ring added to the activities app. A yellow ring for step goal, that would be 10000 steps.
Rating: 17 Votes
21 weeks ago
How about software updates that don't move at a glacial pace?
Rating: 17 Votes
21 weeks ago
Its Not just third-party watch faces and developer support I would like to see added, but I would really like to see an Apple Watch face store where the user can pick and choose what they want to add to the Apple Watch and download the faces directly. I think the most unique thing about Apple Watch is how easy it is to change the band straps and customize the Apple Watch faces, and what not a better way to offer some type of watch face store where the user can have a variety of different styles and faces, being I think that’s what makes Apple Watch so unique.
Rating: 13 Votes
21 weeks ago
Wow- this list is missing the biggest failure: no WiFi access. If you have WiFi at home you can get iMessages and take calls from your iPhone to your iPad but if your watch is not in the same room, forget it. I hate the fact the I watch can’t get notifications or calls or imessages on my watch if my phone was left in the other room and it can’t take advantage of WiFi.
Rating: 13 Votes
21 weeks ago
This time you covered most of what I want.
yet
0. An option to show date above the hands ALWAYS.

1. Custom faces (with ability to add more complications)
More complication for Apple faces and more types of system complication
More customization to faces, including shapes of hands.
Option to have a always on screen for the watch, maybe like a mode (do not disturb, theatrical, silent and always on)

2. One-or-Multiple phones with one-or-multiple watches configuration.

3. An option to use crown as volume control of the phone and AirPods, not just when some special apps are running.

4. Option to select what nearby device should be "the host" for AirPods
Rating: 10 Votes
21 weeks ago
what about spotify?
Rating: 9 Votes
21 weeks ago
+20 being able to set rest days. I'm a "normie" and old, not a 25 un-married-has-no-kids-or-responsbilities-ultra-x-treme marathoner who clocks 300 miles a week like some here on MR.
Rating: 9 Votes
21 weeks ago
If Apple doesn't include a Podcasts app in watchOS 5 I'm gonna scream...

Apple popularized podcasts a decade ago and now that they've finally exploded in popularity, they suddenly have nothing to contribute. Just another huge thing Apple has let wither and die while the rest of the world moves onto better things...
Rating: 8 Votes
21 weeks ago
lots of these aren't really great ideas.

Activity app improvements
Watch is about tracking stuff. If you already know your rest day, there's no point in setting it. Just don't work out that way.

Off-wrist Notifications indicator
That's what your phone is for.

Proximity notifications
I think a lot of people occasionally step away from their phone a lot which could be annoying if everyone turned it on.

Sleep tracking
Super obvious since Apple bought that smart sleeping company.

Always-on display
Current and past watches will never have this. Future hardware will probably have it.
Rating: 7 Votes

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