watchOS 11

The newest version of watchOS, launching in September.

By MacRumors Staff
watchOS 11

watchOS 11

watchOS 11 is the upcoming version of watchOS, the operating system that runs on the Apple Watch. As with every new watchOS update, watchOS 11 introduces a range of new health, fitness, and communication features.

The Smart Stack gains new widgets in watchOS 11, including Shazam, Photos, and Distance. The Smart Stack can suggest widgets based on time, date, location, and daily routines, presenting the content that is needed most at any given time. Interactive widgets let users access app features directly from the Smart Stack, and the Smart Stack also now supports Live Activities.

Check In is available on the Apple Watch, including during workouts. Users who are going to the gym or heading out on a run can start the Check In process from the Workout app so a friend or family member can keep an eye out for their workout to end. Check In on Apple Watch works from the Messages app, too.

A Vitals app lets users view and get context about key health metrics that are measured during sleep, including heart rate, respiratory rate, wrist temperature, sleep duration, and blood oxygen. The Apple Watch analyzes these metrics for the Vitals app and provides a daily report on whether the metrics are out of a typical range for each wearer. When two or more metrics are out of their standard range, the Vitals app can provide a notification and insight into how the change might be linked to alcohol consumption, illness, and other factors like elevation changes.

Cycle tracking has been updated to provide additional support to pregnant users. When users log a pregnancy in the Health app, the Cycle Tracking app shows gestational age and supports the logging of symptoms.

watchOS 11 adds support for training load, a new way of measuring how the intensity and duration of workouts impact the body over time. Training load gives users insight into the strain of workouts on the body from the last seven days compared to the last 28 days, which Apple says can be used to make decisions about training when preparing for an event like a 5K or bike race.

After each workout, users get an effort rating to track how difficult it was, with cardio-based workout types using an algorithm to generate the rating. Data like age, height, weight, and workout data like GPS, heart rate, and elevation are taken into account. Effort rating can be manually adjusted to factor in stress, soreness, and other issues, and it can also be added manually for workout types like strength training that don't automatically include the effort estimate. Additional information is available in the Fitness app to let users see the possible impact if they continue to train at a certain level, such as changes in fitness or a risk of injury.

The Workout app supports more workout types that can track distance, including Soccer, American Football, Australian Football, Outdoor Hockey, Lacrosse, Downhill Skiing, Cross Country Skiing, Snowboarding, Golf, and Outdoor Rowing, and Custom Workouts can be used for pool swims.

The Fitness app supports more customizable Activity rings that support rest days. Taking a rest day or a day off due to illness or injury won't ruin an Activity streak because there is an option to pause for a day, week, month, or more. Activity ring goals can be customized by day of the week, changing the activity needed to fill the ring each day. Users can also choose to customize the Summary tab to show the information most relevant to them.

Apple overhauled Apple Fitness+ with watchOS 11, adding a personalized For You space, along with Explore and Library spaces, new search features, and improved rewards.

watchOS 11 Thumb 2 1

The Photos watch face has been updated to help users select their best photo options by analyzing aesthetics, composition, and even facial expression. The algorithm optimizes the subject's position in the frame and adds a sense of depth, and the watch face can be customized with time sizes, layouts, and fonts. There's also a Dynamic mode that shows users a new image each time they lift their wrist.

Apple expanded the Translate app to the Apple Watch, so users can access translations directly on their wrist. When traveling, the Smart Stack can offer up a suggested Translate app widget. Apple Maps now offers hikes for all U.S. national parks, and users can create their own walking and hiking routes.

Double Tap, available on the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2, can now be used for scrolling through any app, so it's easier to interact with the Apple Watch with one hand. Summarized notifications can be forwarded from the iPhone 15 Pro models to Apple Watch, and the Wallet app supports enhanced ticketing to provide users with information on the venue and show they're seeing.

Tap to Cash, a new Apple Pay feature, can be used to send and receive Apple Cash by holding the Apple Watch near another Apple Watch or iPhone, with no exchange of information like phone number required.

watchOS 11 is available to developers and public beta testers at this time. The software will see an official launch this fall.

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Smart Stack and Apps

Smart Stack, the feature that activates when pressing on the Apple Watch side button, is more intelligent in watchOS 11.

watchos 11 smart stack

Widgets change over time based on time, location, daily routine, and relevance. If it's going to rain, for example, you'll see the Weather widget at the top of the stack. There are several new widgets, including Training Load (a new feature), Photos, Distance, and Shazam for identifying songs, along with a special Events widget when you're going to a concert or sporting event.

The three most recently used app features show up in the Smart Stack, so you can get quick access to things like your three most recent Workout types or the last three songs you've played. Widgets for apps can be interacted with directly from the Smart Stack, alleviating the need to open an app up.

Live Activities are supported on the Apple Watch, so just like on iPhone, you can keep track of sports games, approaching ride shares, and more.


There is a dedicated Translate app for the Apple Watch in watchOS 11, so you can get translations by typing or dictating a phrase. Translations can be played out loud and slowed down if necessary, with up to 20 languages supported.

The Translate app can be added to the Smart Stack for quick access, but when you're traveling to a location where a different language is spoken, the Apple Watch can intelligently add it for you.

Activity and Fitness

With watchOS 11, Apple allows Move, Exercise, and Stand ring goals to be customized on a per-day basis, so you can set higher goals on workout days and lower goals on rest days. You can set different targets for every day of the week.

watchos 11 pause activity

If you are ill or need a break, there is now an option to pause your rings without losing an ongoing streak. Apple has not provided a way to pause workout streaks since the Apple Watch first launched in 2015, so missing a day could end a years-long streak. That's no longer an issue with watchOS 11 and the new option to pause for a day, a week, a month, or even longer.

watchos 11 customize goals

The Fitness app on iPhone that displays Apple Watch metrics now has a customizable summary so you can put what matters most front and center. There are cards for things like step count and distance, sessions, trainer tips, individual trends, awards, and friends. Apple has also added new at-a-glance metric cards for cycling, swimming, running, hiking, walking, and mindfulness.

You can rearrange activity cards as desired, add additional cards, and use the "See All Categories" interface to see metrics you don't have on your main Fitness interface.

Training Load

For serious athletes who are training for marathons, triathlons, and other activities, Apple has designed a training load feature for the Workout app that is meant to help them meet their goals.

watchos 11 training load 1

Training load provides insight into how the intensity of workouts impacts the body over time, which is meant to help you decide when and how to adjust workouts, take rest days, and push further.

Most cardio-based workouts in the Workout app now provide an "effort" metric that is a signal of how hard you pushed yourself. The effort metric takes into account pace, elevation, heart rate, and personal data like age, weight, and height. You'll see an effort score after each workout, which is part of the training load calculation.

Training load compares the intensity and duration of workouts over the last seven days to what's been done the previous 28 days, giving insight into whether you're undertraining or training too hard. You can see at a glance whether your workouts are sustainable or are putting too much strain on the body.

watchos 11 training comparison

For non-cardio workouts that do not automatically generate an effort rating such as strength training and yoga, you can manually enter a rating.

Route Maps and Distance

Distance and route maps are available for a wider number of workout types, including soccer, football, hockey, lacrosse, downhill skiing, cross country skiing, rowing, golf, and snowboarding.

Custom Pool Swims

Custom workouts can be set up for pool swims, with the Apple Watch providing guidance on timed intervals of work and recovery with haptic feedback.

watchos 11 swim workout

Up Next for Custom Workouts

When you set up a custom workout, you can now see an Up Next view so you can see what's remaining in the current interval and what's coming next at a glance.


Vitals is a new Apple Watch app that helps you better keep track of your health on a day-to-day basis. The app aggregates your overnight health data each day, including heart rate, wrist temperature, respiratory rate, sleep duration, and blood oxygen.

watchos 11 vitals

The data collected is used to establish a typical range for you over time, and then you can see if your metrics are off one day and determine whether something is wrong. Each day, you'll see a readout and the app lets you know if everything is in its typical range or if there are metrics that are out of the standard range.

You'll get a notification when metrics are out of the typical range, plus context for factors that might be involved such as medication, alcohol, elevation, exercise, or illness. Apple says that short-term changes to Vitals can be a signal that something is going on with your body.

Vitals can be viewed on the Apple Watch in the Vitals app, or in the Vitals section of the Health app on iPhone.

Watch Faces

Apple redesigned the Photos watch face in watchOS 11, taking advantage of machine learning to search through all of the images in your library to select the best compositions, framing, and image quality that translate well to a watch face.

watchos 11 photo watch face

You can select specific people, pets, cities, or nature scenes to prioritize on the Apple Watch, and the Photos face locates the best images in the category that you've selected and suggest them.

The size of the time and the layout can be customized around the image, and you can select your favorite fonts and colors. With a Dynamic mode, you can get a different image each time you raise your wrist.

Check In

Check In is available on the Apple Watch, so you can let friends and family know where you're going and when you're expected to be there so they can keep an eye on you. You can start a Check In from the Messages app on Apple Watch by entering a destination or an arrival time.

watchos 11 check in

Check In also works with workouts, so if you're going for a run at night, you can start the workout and the Check In process at the same time, ensuring that you have someone looking out for you even if you're out by yourself. When combined with a workout, Check In ends after the workout is completed.

Double Tap

Double Tap can be used to scroll through any app hands-free with the double tap gesture, and developers can also use a new double tap API to integrate double tap controls into their apps.

Apple Watch Ultra 2 double tap gesture 230912 Faeture Blue

Double Tap is a feature available on the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2.

Other watchOS 11 Features

There are a number of other smaller new features in watchOS 11.

  • Home Keys - For door locks that support Ultra Wideband technology, you can turn on a feature that lets you unlock the door with your Apple Watch as you approach automatically.
  • Wallet - In the Wallet app, tickets for events have a wider range of available information like show times, directions to the parking lot, seat data, and more.
  • Tap to Cash - With a new Tap to Cash feature, you can tap your Apple Watch to another Apple Watch or iPhone to exchange cash with someone in person.
  • Maps - The Maps app includes hiking routes from 63 U.S. national parks.
  • Cycle Tracking - Cycle Tracking now incorporates more information during pregnancy, offering up gestational age and new health integrations for tweaking health reporting and monitoring.


watchOS 11 requires an iPhone XS or later with iOS 18 installed and one of the following Apple Watch models:

  • Apple Watch SE (2nd generation)
  • Apple Watch Series 6
  • Apple Watch Series 7
  • Apple Watch Series 8
  • Apple Watch Series 9
  • Apple Watch Ultra
  • Apple Watch Ultra 2

Release Date

Developers and public beta testers can currently download the watchOS 11 beta. Following the beta testing period, watchOS 11 will see a launch in September 2024 alongside new Apple Watch models.

watchOS 11 Timeline