watchOS 6: Everything you need to know!

Apple Watch app store
Apple Watch app store (Image credit: iMore)

The Apple Watch has its next software upgrade with watchOS 6! With completely new features added to the Apple Watch for the first time and some changes to some old familiar feature; here's a breakdown of everything new in watchOS 6.

What's new in watchOS

March 24, 2020: Apple releases watchOS 6.2

Apple has released watchOS 6.2 for the Apple Watch, which brings support for making in-app purchases directly on your Apple Watch through the App Store. The ECG app is also now available in Chile, New Zealand, and Turkey (as are irregular heart rhythm notifications). There's also a fix for a problem with music playback.

October 29, 2019: Apple releases watchOS 6.1

Apple has released watchOS 6.1, which adds support for the newly-announced AirPods Pro, as well as a number of bug fixes. This update is also available for Apple Watch Series 1 and Series 2, in addition to Series 3, Series 4, and Series 5.

Video Preview

Rene Ritchie has been using the Apple Watch since it first launched and wants to share with you the most important new features in watchOS 6.

New watch faces!

Apple has new faces that look great! Some of the newly minted watch faces are:

  • Gradient face
  • Digital Face
  • California Dial
  • Solar Face
  • 2020 Pride Face (new in watchOS 6.2.5)

These watch faces can even have tons of complications that you can add, to make them more useful than what's shown above.

App Store

The App Store is now available on Apple Watch. That's right, in watchOS 6, you can search the App Store for apps that support the Apple Watch, and you can even download them right on the Apple Watch, no iPhone required!

New Utility Apps

Apple has added some fantastic utility apps to the Apple Watch that weren't available before! Audiobooks, Calculator, and Voice Memos are all available in watchOS 6!

Noise app

The Noise app is a new Apple app for your Apple Watch that looks to take care of your ears! When your Apple Watch hears that you're in a loud environment, it will send you a notification letting you know that you could suffer hearing damage if you stay in that environment to long without ear protection!

Health and Fitness

Health and fitness is a huge part of Apple Watch, and watchOS 6 has a few big improvements to its health and fitness capabilities!

Activity Trends

Activity now has the ability to track your stats and put them into a trending tab for you to better see the trends of your activity from day-to-day. You can look back 90 days and see your average ring score for all three rings all in one place!

"At a glance, the tab shows whether the trends are up or down for key metrics such as active calories, exercise minutes, walking pace and others. If the last 90 days of activity shows a downward trend relative to the last 365 days, the Activity app offers coaching to help the user get back on track."

The app can even use the trending tracking to give you more advanced stats like your walking pace!

Cycle Tracking

Women wearing Apple Watches now have the ability to track their menstrual cycles. You'll be able to track the days, how light or heavy your period is and your Apple Watch will even give you notification of upcoming periods. It can even give you an estimate on when you'll be most fertile during your cycle, which is perfect for people trying to have kids. Plus, all this information syncs up with your health and activity on your iPhone so you can keep all your health data in place!

Independent Apps

Apple Watch now gives developers the ability to make their apps run independently on the Apple Watch with watchOS 6, meaning you wouldn't need to have an iPhone paired with your Apple Watch to use the app.


watchOS 6 follows in its predecessor's footsteps by being compatible with Apple Watch Series 1, Apple Watch Series 2, Apple Watch Series 3, Apple Watch Series 4, and Apple Watch Series 5. The original Apple Watch — sometimes referred to as an Apple Watch Series 0 — does not get the watchOS 6 updates.

Updated May 2020: Updated for watchOS 6.2.5.

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.