Is my Apple Watch compatible with watchOS 5?

Apple Watch walkie-talkie
Apple Watch walkie-talkie (Image credit: iMore)

You've got an Apple Watch, and you're wondering whether your Apple Watch will be able to download the update when it arrives on September 17. You want to be able to use all of the new features, including improvements to activity and health monitoring, the new Siri face, and more.

The short answer is probably. Your Apple Watch will most likely run watchOS 5.

The longer answer is this: watchOS 5 is the first release of watchOS to drop support for an Apple Watch model. Specifically, watchOS 5 does not support the original Apple Watch originally released in 2015. If you have an Apple Watch Series 1, Series 2 (both released in 2016), or Series 3 (2017), you'll be able to update your watch. And the new Apple Watch Series 4 will, of course, come with watchOS 5 pre-installed. Be aware that, in order to download watchOS 5, you'll need an iPhone running iOS 12.

iOS 12 requires an iPhone with an A7 system-on-a-chip or newer, so that's iPhone 5s and up. Here's the complete list of iPhones that will run iOS 12, and thus allow you to download watchOS 5:

  • iPhone 5s
  • iPhone SE
  • iPhone 6
  • iPhone 6 Plus
  • iPhone 6s
  • iPhone 6s Plus
  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XR

Apple will release watchOS 5 on September 17.

Joseph Keller

Joseph Keller is the former Editor in Chief of iMore. An Apple user for almost 20 years, he spends his time learning the ins and outs of iOS and macOS, always finding ways of getting the most out of his iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac.