Upgrade time — watchOS 11 will ditch support for the Apple Watch Series 4, report claims

Apple Watch Series 4 sizes
(Image credit: Future)

Apple has confirmed that it intends to hold the opening keynote for the WWDC 2024 event on June 10, and that's likely when we will see a ton of new software updates previewed. Expectations are high that iOS 18 and macOS 15 will be the biggest updates of all, while visionOS 2 could also bring some interesting new features to the Apple Vision Pro. One update that isn't expected to be big in terms of additions is watchOS 11, but a new report suggests that it might drop support for an older Apple Watch regardless.

According to that report, the watchOS 11 update will be the first to drop support for the Apple Watch Series 4, leaving those who are still using those devices to either upgrade to a newer model or make do with the watchOS 10 software that they have been using since September.

It's already been suggested that the iOS 18 update will maintain support for the same iPhones as iOS 17, while iPadOS 18 is expected to drop support for some of Apple's tablets. Now, it seems that one Apple Watch will also be cut adrift this year, too.

Upgrade time

This latest report comes via the French website iPhonesoft and suggests, via machine translation, that owners of the Apple Watch Series 4 will be left out in the cold when watchOS 11 debuts.

"If watchOS 10 had renewed the same list of compatible Apple Watch as watchOS 9, this will not be the case according to our information, the report explains. "Indeed, Tim Cook's company would have planned to do without the Series 4, the first watch with an electrocardiogram and a larger screen than the original Apple Watch, which was released in 2015."

With that in mind, the following Apple Watches are now expected to be supported when watchOS 11 is announced in June.

  • Apple Watch Series 5
  • Apple Watch Series 6
  • Apple Watch Series 7
  • Apple Watch Series 8
  • Apple Watch Series 9
  • Apple Watch SE
  • Apple Watch SE 2
  • Apple Watch Ultra
  • Apple Watch Ultra 2

We can also obviously add any new models launched this year to the list — Apple is expected to announce the so-called Apple Watch X and a new Apple Watch Ultra this fall.

If Apple follows its usual cadence we can expect it to preview the new software updates on June 10 and then immediately make them available to developers as part of an initial beta drop. The beta program will then likely run for months before the updates are released to the public in September, shortly before those new Apple Watches go on sale. In the case of iOS 18, that'll drop before the rumored iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Pro models are announced.

If Apple does indeed choose to remove the Apple Watch Series 4 from the watchOS 11 list of supported devices, it'll be interesting to see why that might be. Apple normally drops devices whose specs can't keep up with new features that are being added. But with watchOS 11 not expected to bring any big new features, that seems unlikely — unless the focus on new Apple AI features has a part to play in the decision.

With WWDC edging ever closer we can expect to see more leaks as we get closer to the big day so we might get some answers sooner rather than later.

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Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.

  • Annie_M
    As with any Apple Device, this is expected. This happens every year when a new version of OS is released.