Hands-On With All the New Features in watchOS 5

watchOS 5, the operating system that runs on the Apple Watch, was introduced last week alongside iOS 12 and macOS Mojave. The update doesn't include design changes or new watch faces, but it does introduce some fun new features that make the Apple Watch more useful than ever, like Walkie-Talkie.

We went hands-on with the new watchOS 5 update in our latest YouTube video to give MacRumors readers an idea of what to expect from the software when it launches this fall.

Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.

Walkie-Talkie, the coolest new feature in watchOS 5, will let you use the Apple Watch like, well, a Walkie-Talkie, with opt-in push-to-talk communication. In the first beta of watchOS 5, which is available to developers, the Walkie-Talkie app is unfortunately not functional, listing a "Coming Soon" message when you open it up. We'll have a separate video when it launches, so make sure to stay tuned for that.

There are other great new features in watchOS 5, though, like a new Podcasts app that lets you listen to podcasts right on your wrist without needing to open up your iPhone.

For those of you who like competition, Apple's added a new Workout option that lets you challenge your friends to a 7-day fitness competition to see who can earn the most activity points, which is great for motivation.

Yoga and Hiking, two new Workout types, have been added, while runners will be pleased to see rolling mile pace, custom pace alerts, and cadence for better than ever tracking. Automatic Workout detection means your watch will never fail to start or stop recording your workouts, even if you forgot to manually use the Workout app.

The Siri Watch face now supports sports, maps, heart rate, and third-party apps, so you'll see more useful suggestions, plus notifications are now actionable so you can do more right from your wrist. watchOS 5 also introduces limited support for WebKit, so you can view website menus, see full Mail messages, and click links in the Messages app without needing to pick up your iPhone.

It's worth noting that watchOS 5 is going to be limited to Series 1, Series 2, and Series 3 Apple Watch models. That means that it won't run on the original Apple Watch.

What are you most excited for in watchOS 5? Let us know in the comments and make sure to check out our watchOS 5 roundup for more details on the new operating system.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 6, watchOS 7
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
28 months ago

Watching these videos makes me nervous. Fiddling with this tiny scree, I can’t see the appeal. Still on the fence if I’ll ever buy one.

Oh, you don't need to spend time looking at the screen really.

I like it for taking calls

Finding where I put my iPhone

HeartRate measurement - while I am swimming

Lap counting and stroke count - again for swimming

Following my AAPL stock

Sunrise and Sunset time

Weather.

Ummmm Time :)

Messages.

And unsuspectingly cool was for navigation while driving! If you have CarPlay running with your iPhone on a late model car, your wrist will vibrate when you need to make a turn along with the Siri navigation voice and GPS map on the car screen. VERY cool and nice.

OH - don't forget Apple Pay!

There are probably many more things!

Oh! - it can bluetooth music to my AirPods, and it can even live stream if you have a cellular account hooked up on the Apple Watch - I don't because I am in Canada and it's stupid here.

It's not like I have ever "played a game" on the Apple Watch. Most of the stuff it does is automatic.

The only time I look at the screen might be to look at my latest swim workout data while I am in the Jacuzzi after swimming.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
28 months ago
Are they going to optimize this for older models like iOS did?

My AW2 is struggling...
[doublepost=1529008951][/doublepost]

Watching these videos makes me nervous. Fiddling with this tiny scree, I can’t see the appeal. Still on the fence if I’ll ever buy one.

Its an awesome device. Didn't realize how awesome until I bought one!
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
28 months ago

Needs to run iOS and all my apps. Needs a browser. Needs to be an iPhone on my wrist. I had high hopes for my series 3. I was sorely disappointed.

I don't wear it any more.
[doublepost=1529034136][/doublepost]


Edit: also LTE is essentially useless. Almost no developers added standalone capability to their watch apps. Without iPhone nearby it's garbage.

No that is false

All the main sport apps work fine on LTE and in watchOS5 it will allow for podcasts to be downloaded for LTE.

LTE was never meant to be a full on replacement for your phone. It was designed for general tasks when you head out or go for a run/bike rides etc so no it’s not garbage at all. It works Damn well while getting all your notifications.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
28 months ago


Does the ‘2-way’ text appear in mid air whenever you use the walkie-talkie feature?
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
28 months ago
It's totally unacceptable to have a watch outdated so quickly! I'm one of the "stupid" people who originally spent $1000 for the Stainless model less than 3 years ago and now they are telling me it's out of date and unsupported for future software releases??? Forget about the people that forked out $15k. If that is how Apple treats people who invested for future models - count me out. 3 years later and the prices/support are even worse than how cell phones depreciates

Although a REAL watch like a Rolex or Patek doesn't do all of the tricks of the Apple Watches, at least they are well protected as the older they get, the more prestige, support and investment quality they become.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
28 months ago

Are they going to optimize this for older models like iOS did?

My AW2 is struggling...

Erm, it’s the first beta.....
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Supposed iPhone 12 Display Unit Leaks

Thursday August 6, 2020 8:13 am PDT by
An image supposedly of an iPhone 12 display unit has been shared online by leaker "Twitter user Mr. White". Compared to images of an iPhone 11 Pro display piece, this new unit has a reoriented display connector, reaching up from the bottom of the display, rather than from the left-hand side on iPhone 11 Pro. This may be due to the logic board moving to the other side of the device. A...

8 Third-Party Home Screen Widgets That You Can Try Out Now on iOS 14

Wednesday August 5, 2020 12:56 pm PDT by
One of the biggest new features of iOS 14 is Home Screen widgets, which provide information from apps at a glance. The widgets can be pinned to the Home Screen in various spots and sizes, allowing for many different layouts. When the iOS 14 beta was first released in June, widgets were limited to Apple's own apps like Calendar and Weather, but several third-party developers have begun to test ...

Apple Seeds iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 Public Beta 4 to Testers

Thursday August 6, 2020 10:05 am PDT by
Apple today seeded new public betas of upcoming iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 updates to its public beta testing group. Today's software releases, which Apple labels as fourth betas to keep them in line with developer betas, are actually the third betas that Apple has provided and they come two weeks after the prior beta releases. Public beta testers who have signed up for Apple's beta testing...

Apple Takes Legal Action Against Small Company With Pear Logo

Saturday August 8, 2020 11:09 am PDT by
Apple is taking legal action against the developers of the app "Prepear" due to its logo, according to iPhone in Canada. Prepear is an app that helps users discover recipes, plan meals, make lists, and arrange grocery deliveries. The app is a spinoff of "Super Healthy Kids," and the founders claim that they are facing litigation from Apple. Apple reportedly takes issue with Prepear's logo, ...

Google's $349 Pixel 4a vs. Apple's $399 iPhone SE

Wednesday August 5, 2020 1:45 pm PDT by
Google this week launched its newest smartphone, the $349 Pixel 4a, a low-cost device that's designed to compete with other affordable devices like Apple's iPhone SE. We picked up one of the new Pixel 4a smartphones and thought we'd check it out to see how it measures up to the iPhone SE, given that the two devices have such similar price points. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel ...

2020 iMac Benchmarks Surface Online [Updated]

Thursday August 6, 2020 7:16 am PDT by
Benchmarks from the new 2020 iMac have today been shared online by Mac Otakara. The Geekbench benchmarks are from the newly-released 27-inch iMac with 3.0GHz Intel Core i5 processor and Radeon Pro 5300 graphics, compared to multiple specs of the previous 2019 iMac. The lowest spec 27-inch i5 iMac from 2020 performs about 20 percent better in multicore than the lowest spec 27-inch i5...

New 27-Inch iMac's Storage Affixed to Logic Board, 4TB and 8TB Configurations Have Expansion Connector

Friday August 7, 2020 7:46 am PDT by
Following a report from German blog iFun.de that claimed the new 27-inch iMac's flash storage is soldered to the logic board, MacRumors has obtained additional information in an internal document for Apple technicians. In the document, Apple says that the flash storage is indeed affixed to the logic board and cannot be removed. However, for the 4TB and 8TB configurations, Apple says that a...

Microsoft's xCloud and Xbox Game Pass Not Coming to iOS Due to Apple's Restrictions [Updated]

Thursday August 6, 2020 1:06 pm PDT by
Microsoft's "Project xCloud" streaming game service that pairs with its Xbox Game Pass won't be available on iPhone and iPad when it launches this September, and Apple's App Store restrictions are to blame. Xbox Game Pass and its accompanying xCloud streaming feature offer access to hundreds of games that can be streamed to mobile devices, and Apple says that because it can't review each...

Apple Announces New 27-Inch iMac With 10th-Gen Processors, Up to 128GB RAM, 1080p Webcam, True Tone, and More

Tuesday August 4, 2020 8:07 am PDT by
Apple today announced a new 27-inch iMac with faster 10th-generation Intel Core processor options, next-generation AMD graphics, up to 128GB of RAM, a higher-resolution 1080p front-facing FaceTime camera, a True Tone display with a nano-texture glass option, a T2 chip, higher fidelity speakers, studio-quality microphones, and more. A breakdown of the new 27-inch iMac's features and specs:10th...

Samsung Launches Galaxy Note 20, Galaxy Z Fold 2, and Galaxy Buds to Compete With Apple's iPhones and AirPods Pro

Wednesday August 5, 2020 10:07 am PDT by
Samsung today held a virtual Galaxy Unpacked event where it unveiled its next-generation smartphones that will compete with Apple's 2020 iPhone lineup, set to come out in the fall. Samsung announced the launch of the Galaxy Note 20 and the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, the two newest devices in the Note lineup, and, more notably, the Galaxy Z Fold 2, Samsung's latest foldable smartphone. The...