5 features you need to know about watchOS 10

watchOS 10
(Image credit: Apple)

WWDC 2023's keynote is done, and Apple has announced watchOS 10, the latest operating system for its popular wearable. Get your best Apple Watch ready, because some excellent new features are coming this fall (or right now if you're on the developer beta.)

It looks to be a big update over watchOS 9, with almost every part of the operating system having been given a big redesign to make each app full-screen -- such as Fitness, Phone, and Maps.

With this in mind, here are five great features that you may have missed that you'll be able to use in watchOS 10, when it eventually releases for your Apple Watch.

Redesigned interface 

One of the main reasons I love my Apple Watch is the ability to get useful information at a glance, without a lot of tapping or swiping around. With watchOS 10, Apple is improving on this.

Navigation is simpler than ever, and a new visual language takes full advantage of the Apple Watch display. More of the Apple Watch screen will be used and more details will be included. Control Center will be accessible at any time with a tap of the side button.

watchOS 10 on Apple Watch

(Image credit: Apple)

Smart Stack

The most notable improvement to the Apple Watch display in watchOS 10 is Smart Stack, which gives you quick access to the information you're most likely to find important in the moment.

When you first wake up in the morning, for example, the weather forecast will pop up. If you have an item on your calendar coming up soon, it will shuffle up to the top spot. Plane's about to board? Your boarding pass will appear.

watchOS 10 on Apple Watch

(Image credit: Apple)

New watch faces

The colorful new Palette and playful new Snoopy faces have been announced. Palette consists of overlapping colors that shift as time ticks by.

Snoopy is an animated watch face that reflects the actual weather at your location and even your activity as you work out.

watchOS features on Apple Watch

(Image credit: Apple)

Cycling and hiking features

Hikers, bikers, and Apple Watch Ultra users will appreciate the new features baked into watchOS 10. The Apple Watch will be able to connect to biking accessories via Bluetooth that allow new metrics such as cycling power and cadence. Connect to a power meter to calculate Functional Threshold Power (FTP), the highest level of cycling intensity that a rider could theoretically maintain for an hour.

The Apple Watch will expand on this information to create personalized Power Zones, a good way to increase performance. Hikers and other adventurers will notice improvements in the Compass app, including Last Cellular Connection Waypoint which estimates the last place you'll have cell service. Last Emergency Call Waypoint lets you know the last place you might have service from any carrier in case you need to make an emergency call.

watchOS features on Apple Watch

(Image credit: Apple)

Mental health and mindfulness

In watchOS 10, iOS 17, and iPadOS 17, users will be able to keep better tabs on their mental health. You'll get valuable insights into the associations between mood and sleep, exercise, and other lifestyle factors.

The Health app will use depression and anxiety assessments often used by medical professionals. Additionally, the app will connect you to resources in your area and create a PDF that you can share with your doctor.

watchOS features on Apple Watch

(Image credit: Apple)

What else?

In addition to the five highlights featured here, watch OS 10 will include important insights into vision health. The Apple Watch will measure time spent outdoors, which may help prevent myopia. It will also let you know if you're viewing your device from too close.

watchOS 10 is a major milestone and an energizing new approach for Apple Watch, introducing a fresh new design for quickly viewing information, delightful new watch faces, new features for cyclists and hikers, and important tools for health.

Kevin Lynch, Apple VP of Technology

The new NameDrop lets you quickly share your contact just by bringing your Apple Watch near another user's iPhone. Offline Maps on the iPhone will allow you to access turn-by-turn navigation and more with a paired Apple Watch, even when cellular service and Wi-Fi are unavailable.

Play back a video FaceTime message right on your Apple Watch. Group FaceTime audio will be supported in watchOS 10. The Medications app will send follow-up messages if you don't log your meds on time. Several improvements to Apple Fitness Plus include Custom Plans and Audio Focus.

watchOS 10 will support the same Watches as watchOS 9 did - so that's from Series 4 onwards, as long as they're paired with an iPhone XS or later.

Karen S Freeman

Karen is a contributor to iMore.com as a writer and co-host of the iMore Show. She’s been writing about Apple since 2010 with a year-long break to work at an Apple Store as a product specialist. She's also a contributor at TechRadar and Tom's Guide. Before joining iMore in 2018, Karen wrote for Macworld, CNET, AppAdvice, and WatchAware. She’s an early adopter who used to wait in long lines on release days before pre-ordering made things much easier. Karen is also a part-time teacher and occasional movie extra. She loves to spend time with her family, travel the world, and is always looking for portable tech and accessories so she can work from anywhere.