Is my Apple Watch compatible with watchOS 8?

WatchOS 8 features
WatchOS 8 features (Image credit: Apple)

WWDC 2021 has kicked off, and with the keynote out of the way, you may be wondering if you'll be able to run watchOS 8 on your Apple Watch. Here's everything you need to know about which Apple Watches are compatible with watchOS 8.

watchOS 8 compatibility

Every year when the new software gets announced, there's always a slight sense of dread that falls over people with older devices, wondering if their current hardware will support the new software or be left in the dust. You don't need to be concerned for Apple Watch fans this year, as watchOS 8 will run on all the same devices that watchOS 7 ran on.

The official list of Apple Watch models that support watchOS 8 are as follows:

  • Apple Watch Series 3
  • Apple Watch Series 4
  • Apple Watch Series 5
  • Apple Watch SE
  • Apple Watch Series 6

Basically, if you are running watchOS 7 right now, you will be able to run watchOS 8 on your best Apple Watch.

Not all features will work on all models

This shouldn't come as too much of a surprise, but just so you're aware, some features in watchOS 8 may not be available to certain Apple Watch models. This usually comes from the limitations in the hardware.

Like how the Apple Watch Series 3 or Apple Watch SE don't have access to the ECG app because they lack the sensors, only the Apple Watch Series 5 and Apple Watch Series 6 can use an Always-on display.

The good news is watchOS 8 is filled with a bunch of cool and exciting new features, so even if you have a slightly older Apple Watch and can't use them all, there are likely still many new features you'll be able to use.

Luke Filipowicz
Staff Writer

Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way. 

Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.