Alongside the announcement of iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan at WWDC 2015, Apple also announced a new version of thje operating system software for the Apple Watch, watchOS 2. WatchOS 2 promises to improve the Apple Watch experience, boasting more watch faces and, more importantly, the ability to run third-party companion apps natively on the Apple Watch.
WatchOS 2 was set to be released alongside iOS 9, but it was revealed that a "critical" bug forced Apple to delay its release. However, we can now announce that watchOS 2 is here, and available for all Apple Watch owners. In this article we explain how to install watchOS 2 on your Apple Watch for free, and outline some of the tweaks and new features that make it worth the (very minor) effort of updating.
WatchOS 2 release date: When is the Apple Watch update coming out?
Update, 22 Sept: watchOS 2 is here at last! Evidently Apple has managed to fix that bug. You can download and install it now for free - we explain how to update your Apple Watch to the new watchOS 2 software in the next section.
On 16 September, it was revealed that WatchOS 2 wasn't coming out that day after all, which was a big disappointment for Apple Watch users. Apple announced during its 9 September event that 16 September would be WatchOS 2's release date alongside iOS 9 (which is still on track for its release today), but later issued a statement to TechCrunch that read:
"We have discovered a bug in developement of watchOS 2 that is taking a bit longer to fix than we expected. We will not release watchOS 2 today but will shortly."
How to install watchOS 2 on your Apple Watch
Now that the final public version of watchOS 2 is here, updating is easy. (Installing the pre-release beta version of watchOS 2 was a bit trickier, but there's no need to bother with that now.) Here's how to get watchOS 2.
Installing watchOS 2, like most significant Apple Watch tinkering, takes place on the watch's associated iPhone rather than on the watch itself. Grab your iPhone and open the Apple Watch app. Make sure you're in the My Watch tab along the bottom menu and then tap General.
There may well be a little orange '1' next to the Software Update option, indicating that an update is ready (there'll be a red '1' next to the My Watch tab too); however, you may have to get the app to check for updates before you see this. Either way, tap Software Update and the app will run a check, then show you the details of watchOS 2.
In order to install watchOS 2 there are some hoops to jump through: your iPhone and Apple Watch need to be in Bluetooth range; the watch must be connected to its charger and on at least 50 percent power; and as with all OS updates, you need to be on Wi-Fi. Other than this, simply follow the onscreen instructions and (after a bit of waiting) you'll have an updated Apple Watch.
Is it worth installing watchOS 2? What are the new features?
What's so great about watchOS 2 that makes it worth updating? Firstly, there are new watch faces to choose from, including a number of time-lapse videos from around the world. You can also set the watch to display a random photo from a specified album every time its display is activated, giving you that extra personal touch.
As well as a face lift, third-party developers are also able to get more creative with their Apple Watch companion apps. Why? Because Apple is finally allowing third-party apps to run natively on the smartwatch, and will also let them add complications (the tiny on-screen widgets) to the watch face. That’s not all though, as developers can also make use of the suite of on-board sensors and hardware to make actions like sending voice notes via WhatsApp from the Apple Watch a reality (if WhatsApp decides to support the function, anway).
For more information regarding the features of watchOS 2 and what you can expect when it's finally released, you should read ’12 awesome new features coming to the Apple Watch with watchOS 2’.
Macworld poll: Will you update your Apple Watch to watchOS 2?
Are ou convinced? Are the tweaks and new features in watchOS 2 enough to convince you to update your Apple Watch? Have your say in our latest poll.
Next page: Our tutorials and advice related to the pre-release beta versions of watchOS 2. Now that the full version has launched, these aren't going to be relevant for most people, but we've decided to keep the information online, on a separate page. A few people may still be interested to read about the beta, and much of the information is likely to be useful when betas of watchOS 3 come out next year.