watchOS 8 beta 2 includes the Portraits watch face and it's awesome

Watchos 8 Photos
Watchos 8 Photos (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Apple released watchOS 8 beta 2 to developers yesterday.
  • The update includes the new Portraits watch face for the first time.

Apple released watchOS 8 beta 2 to developers yesterday and it includes one particular feature that was missing from the first beta – the Portraits watch face.

Designed to take a photo and animate it using a multilayered effect, the watch face was one of the more interesting watchOS 8 announcements. Apple describes it thus:

The Photos face is the most popular Apple Watch face, and watchOS 8 introduces new ways to view and engage with users' favorite photos right from their wrist. The new Portraits watch face brings to life stunning portrait photos shot on iPhone with an immersive, multilayered effect, intelligently recognizing faces in photos and cropping in to highlight the subject.

That definitely sounds good, but wait until you see it in action – because this could be your next watch face.

My only wish? The same one I had with the Photos watch face – support for complications. Yes, I know they'd obscure the image but let me make that decision, Apple.

Apple's developer beta still has a few months to run but everyone will be able to install it on their own watch later this fall. The update will be compatible with Apple Watch Series 3 and newer, although some features will require an Apple Watch Series 6 to work.

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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.