12 awesome new features coming to Apple Watch with watchOS 2

WatchOS 2 is coming to Apple Watch soon, but what changes will it bring? Here are 12 of the best new Apple Watch features.

By

  • Apple watch battery tips watchOS 2
  • best features watchos 2 native apps Native apps
  • Best features watchos 2 sensors New tech for apps
  • Best features watchos 2 time travel Time Travel
  • Best features watchos 2 face New Watch faces
  • Best features watchos 2 New complications
  • Best features watchos 2 nightstand Nightstand mode
  • best features watchos 2 email Respond to emails
  • best features watchos 2 friends Add more friends
  • best features watchos 2 transit Public transport information
  • best features watchos 2 activation lock Activation Lock
  • best features watchos 2 sketches Colourful sketches
  • best features watchos 2 siri Improved Siri
  • More stories
Next Prev

What's new in watchOS 2?

The Apple Watch is about to get its first update in the form of watchOS 2, a software update that is going to add a lot of new features to the Apple Watch.

Apple has revealed that watchOS 2's release date will be 16 September, and in addition we're getting some fancy new Apple Watch models and gorgeous new straps.

Find out more about what went on at Apple's special event on 9 September here.

If you've already got an Apple Watch, these features will work on your device, and you'll be able to update via the Apple Watch app on your iPhone when the update arrives. And for anyone thinking of buying an Apple Watch, these new features might convince you to invest in one ahead of or around the time of the update.

Continue reading for our pick of the 12 best features coming with watchOS 2. See also: How to get watchOS 2

Next »

Next Prev Apple watch battery tips

The Apple Watch is about to get its first update in the form of watchOS 2, a software update that is going to add a lot of new features to the Apple Watch.

Apple has revealed that watchOS 2's release date will be 16 September, and in addition we're getting some fancy new Apple Watch models and gorgeous new straps.

Find out more about what went on at Apple's special event on 9 September here.

If you've already got an Apple Watch, these features will work on your device, and you'll be able to update via the Apple Watch app on your iPhone when the update arrives. And for anyone thinking of buying an Apple Watch, these new features might convince you to invest in one ahead of or around the time of the update.

Continue reading for our pick of the 12 best features coming with watchOS 2. See also: How to get watchOS 2

 

Best watchOS 2 features: Native apps

One of the things we're most excited about is the ability to run apps natively on the Apple Watch. Third-party apps on the Apple Watch are one of the biggest downfalls, because they're slow and buggy. That's because they're relying on the iPhone the Apple Watch is connected to, rather than using the power of the Apple Watch itself. That will all change with the update, which means the apps will be able to run entirely on your Apple Watch.

 

Best watchOS 2 features: New tech for apps

Letting apps run natively on the Apple Watch also opens up access to sensors and other technology within the smartwatch, including the Taptic Engine, Digital Crown, accelerometer, heart rate sensor, speaker and microphone.

This means that the possibilities for apps on the Apple Watch will significantly grow. "For example, the Ping app uses the accelerometer to measure the speed of your golf swing," reads Apple's website. "Strava uses the heart rate sensor to gather and display data during workouts. And Insteon lets you use the Digital Crown to control your house lights."

You might like: Best Apple Watch games.

 

Best watchOS 2 features: Time Travel

WatchOS 2 introduces a new Time Travel feature, which allows you to turn the Digital Crown on the side of the watch to see what happened yesterday, what's happening today and what's scheduled to happen tomorrow.

Apple gives a few examples of Time Travel's usefulness, including checking what the weather will be like for your lunch date tomorrow, or checking back over the headlines you may have missed earlier.  

 

Best watchOS 2 features: New Watch faces

The watch face on your Apple Watch is probably the thing you'll see most, so Apple has decided to offer even more options.

That includes new Time-Lapse watch faces, which show videos shot over 24 hours in iconic locations around the world including Hong Kong, London, Mack Lake, New York and Shanghai.

There will also be Photo watch faces, which let you pick an image from the Photos app on your watch to set as your watch face, or if one photo isn't enough there's the Photo Album face that shows a different image every time you raise your wrist.

 

Best watchOS 2 features: New complications

Closely related to the new watch face feature is the new complications customisation. Complications are the extra bits of information you see on the watch face, and in watchOS 2 you'll be able to customise it to show data from apps such as flight times or even how much charge your electric car has left.

 

Best watchOS 2 features: Nightstand mode

Apple has realised that you might want to use the Apple Watch even when you're not wearing it, which typically is going to be at night when you're charging it. With WatchOS 2 there will be a new Nightstand mode, which lets you place the Watch on its side and connect the charger to show the time, date and alarm time. When an alarm sounds while in Nightstand mode, you can press the side button to turn it off or the Digital Crown to snooze.

See also: How to make your Apple Watch battery last longer

 

Best watchOS 2 features: Respond to emails

If you don’t yet own an Apple Watch, you might not realise that you can't currently respond to emails on the device. You can read them, but replying requires getting out your iPhone. With watchOS 2, you'll be able to respond like you can with text messages at the moment, by tapping reply and dictating a response, choosing an emoji or selecting a preset reply.

 

Best watchOS 2 features: Add more friends

You'll be able to add more friends to the Friends feature of your Apple Watch with watchOS 2. Right now, you can only have 12 friends across one screen, but soon you'll be able to add multiple Friends screens with up to 12 contacts each. You'll also be able to add friends directly on your watch, rather than having to add them to your favourites on your iPhone.

 

Best watchOS 2 features: Public transport information

This isn't going to apply to everyone because it's rolling out pretty slowly, but with iOS 9, which we assume is launching at the same time as watchOS 2 in autumn, Apple is adding public transport information to Apple Maps at last. The reason it won't apply to all is that it's only for select cities to begin with, and it's only London for the UK.

See also: 21 brilliant iOS 9 tips.

 

Best watchOS 2 features: Activation Lock

This feature should make you feel slightly less concerned about what would happen if you lost your Apple Watch, because it means you'd be able to remotely enable Activation Lock to prevent anyone from using the Watch but you.

 

Best watchOS 2 features: Colourful sketches

This one's a bit of a gimmick but if you use the Digital Touch app you'll now be able to draw better sketches using different colours on the same canvas.

 

Best watchOS 2 features: Improved Siri

Siri is getting better in watchOS 2. It will now be able to start a workout, check your glances, look up words and use the calculator.

You might also like: 45 funny things to ask Siri in iOS 8.

Plus, Apple Watch 2 rumours

Elsewhere on IDG sites
AMD Radeon Adrenalin release date, new features, compatible graphics cards

AMD Radeon Adrenalin release date, new features, compatible graphics cards

Watch director Fx Goby's highly successful animation of Jack London's 'To Build a Fire' short story

Watch director Fx Goby's highly successful animation of Jack London's 'To Build a Fire' short story

iMac Pro release date, UK price & specs rumours

iMac Pro release date, UK price & specs rumours

Les meilleures imprimantes mobiles (2017)

Les meilleures imprimantes mobiles (2017)