Of the three big Apple events of the year, WWDC is the most reliable: in each of the past 15 Junes, like clockwork, Apple has held a big get-together for its developer partners and announced a raft of important software updates. The September iPhone launch and the March/April spring event seem almost unpredictable by comparison.

In this article we list the major announcements (and some of the smaller titbits) you can expect to hear at WWDC 2022 this June. Some of these - updates to the five big Apple operating systems, most obviously - are as predicable as the timing of the event. But we reckon Apple will spring a few surprises too.

What is WWDC?

It stands for Worldwide Developers Conference, and is theoretically all about the third-party software developers that create apps for Apple's platforms: iPhone, iPad, Mac and so on. The company invites a bunch of devs round to its campus (or, more recently, gives them access to an online-only event) and talks to them about the system-wide changes coming to those platforms in the coming year so they're prepared. There are speeches, networking events and workshops.

In reality, while devs are at the heart of the event, it's also a press event that Apple uses to announce its software plans to the world.

WWDC 2022: Memoji slide from WWDC 2021

When will WWDC 2022 take place?

We expect WWDC 2022 to begin on 6 June 2022, with 13 June the next most likely possibility.

WWDC is a week-long gathering, beginning with a keynote speech on the Monday morning (although it's evening for those of us watching in the UK) and carrying on for five days. It generally happens in the first fortnight of June, although world events led to a slight delay in 2020.

Here's when the last ten WWDC events have happened:

  • WWDC 2021: 7-11 June
  • WWDC 2020: 22-26 June
  • WWDC 2019: 3-7 June
  • WWDC 2018: 4-8 June
  • WWDC 2017: 5-9 June
  • WWDC 2016: 13-17 June
  • WWDC 2015: 8-12 June
  • WWDC 2014: 2-6 June
  • WWDC 2013: 10-14 June
  • WWDC 2012: 11-15 June

How to watch WWDC 2022 live

The last two WWDC events have been online-only (and we suspect the same will be true in 2022), but regardless of whether 'attendees' are there in person or connecting virtually, Apple will livestream the opening keynote speech for all on its website (check the events page) and elsewhere, such as on YouTube and possibly on Twitter, an experiment it tried a couple of years ago but didn't repeat in 2021.

You'll be able to watch the presentation on iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple TV and even PC. For more detail, read How to watch WWDC live.

iOS 16

The headliner of the event, simply because of the sheer number of iPhone owners across the planet. If you've got an iPhone that's sufficiently recent (iOS 15 runs on the iPhone 6s, so anyone with an iPhone 7 or later should be fine to get iOS 16) you'll be able to install the new version of iOS when it's released in the autumn of 2022.

But before then, there's a whole beta-testing cycle to get through. iOS 16 will be announced at WWDC 2022, then released as a developer beta (for registered app developers only) almost immediately after the keynote. Don't install this unless you're a developer, and also prepared for it to be unfinished; there could be serious flaws with the beta software and it might even brick your device.

Over the course of the next three months, this beta - and the public beta that will be released slightly later, and lag behind the developer one throughout the testing process - will be repeatedly tweaked, fixed and updated until we reach the finished iOS 16.0 public release in (probably) September.

You can read about our expectations in Apple trends 2022: iOS 16 will be a big surprise.

iPadOS 16

The accompanying update for iPad owners, iPadOS 16 is likely to incorporate most of the new features of iOS 16 but adapted to a larger-screen interface. When Apple's two mobile operating systems split in 2019 they were similar in most respects, but the iPad version is heading steadily into its own realm.

Get the low-down in Apple Trends 2022: iPadOS meeting macOS in the middle.

macOS 13

What's Apple got in store for its follow-up to Monterey? We'll find out at WWDC 2022.

This should be macOS version 13.0, but don't take that for granted: Apple noodled around on a single version number for a barely conceivable 18 years, from macOS 10.0 (Cheetah) in 2001 to macOS 10.15 (Catalina) in 2019. But that nonsense does seem to be out of the system now, with the last two releases - macOS 11 Big Sur and macOS 12 Monterey - both getting their own number.

As for the California landmark that will lend its name to macOS 13.0, our money is on Mammoth. Read more in Apple Trends 2022: macOS could be a Mammoth update.

watchOS 9

The new operating system for the Apple Watch will be revealed at WWDC 2022. This is more of a niche than the iPhone, iPad and Mac updates discussed above, but could bring important health and fitness features to Apple Watch owners around the world.

Last year's watchOS 8 update was available for those running a Series 3. If you've got a Series 4 or later you should be fine to get the 2022 update - and the Series 3 might even get one more year in the sun.

tvOS 16

The lowest-profile of the five big Apple operating systems, tvOS is the platform that runs on the Apple TV.

Last year's tvOS 15 update added new Siri capabilities, multi-user recommendations and the ability to screen-share programmes with friends using SharePlay. What will we get this year? You'll find out at WWDC.

WWDC 2022: HomePod mini and HomePod

homeOS

The big five may yet become the big six, because Apple is rumoured to be working on a new branded OS named homeOS. This would be a new name for the software that runs on the HomePod and HomePod mini, currently referred to as HomePod OS. Going to the trouble of rebranding the software would suggest that Apple wants to make more of a fuss of adding post-launch features to the HomePods in future.

Mind you, since Apple discontinued the full-size HomePod last March, this would only run on a single device - which raises the question of where the company sees its smart-home strategy going in 2022. Has it got other homeOS-based products up its sleeve?

Hardware launches

WWDC is a software-focused event, but Apple has often found time during its WWDC keynotes to launch hardware products too.

If that happens again, it's more likely to be Mac-related than anything for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch or AirPods fans. The iPhone 3GS did debut at WWDC back in 2009, but it's been pretty much Macs only ever since.

Apple launched the iMac Pro, alongside updates to the iMac, MacBook and MacBook Pro, at WWDC 2017; it announced a new Mac Pro and the Pro Display XDR in June 2019. And most recently, while no actual hardware products were released that year, Apple's transition from Intel to its own processors in the Mac range was revealed at WWDC 2020. That was the company's single biggest hardware announcement of the entire year.

What's in the hardware pipeline for Apple right now? Plenty, but we expect much of it to be announced at the spring event the company will probably hold in March or April. The new AirPods Pro will probably appear in spring; the iPhone SE 3, likewise; the new iPad Air, ditto.

But the new pro-focused big-screen iMac? That's a great shout for a WWDC 22 launch. As is the (now rather overdue) new Mac mini which was supposed to be slated for launch last autumn.

Further reading

We'll update this article regularly in the run up to WWDC, so check back from time to time to see the latest news.

For a broader view of the year's plans, check out our guide to the new Apple products coming in 2022.