Along with the release of iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, watchOS 8 is now available for compatible devices. This is an extremely iterative update, with not too many features that will knock your socks off. But there might be just enough changes to warrant going through the process of updating your Apple Watch.
- What’s new in watchOS 8?
- iPhone 12 Pro Max Review: Looking Back At The Past Year
- How To Download and Install iOS 15
- How To Download and Install iPadOS 15
- iPad mini vs iPad Air: Which iPad Should You Get?
What’s New In watchOS 8?
Now that we’ve seen everything that the upcoming Apple Watch Series 7 has to offer, it’s easy to understand why Apple didn’t “swing for the fences” here. Across pretty much Apple’s entire product lineup, with the exception of the Apple TV 4K (2021), this feels like an “S” year. But if you’re wondering what watchOS 8 has to offer, here are some of the highlights.
Apple is also bringing an almost fully fledge Photos app to your Watch. You’ll be able to view highlights via Memories, the same way that you can on an iPhone or iPad. But when you dive into those Memories, there’s a new grid that offers a mosaic layout with certain images taking the forefront. There’s also a new option use Portrait Mode with the Photos watch face, which adds a new dynamic multi-layered effect to put the clock behind the picture of your loved one.
A Better ‘Home’ App
One of the bigger changes available in watchOS 8 is the is the redesigned Home app for Apple Watch. Now, it’s more intuitive to do things like turn on a scene or a specific set of lights. Your watch learns how you use the lights in your home and puts them on your wrist intuitively based on the time of the day. You will also see options for the lock to either unlock the door or turn on the lights in the entryway if someone rings your HomeKit-connected doorbell. watchOS 8 even adds the ability to view, control, and talk with video cameras that support these features.
With watchOS 8, you can use the Digital Crown to scroll to the specific letter or word that needs to be edited if you have typos. Apple is also bringing the ability to use a combination of dictation, scribble, and even emojis while sending messages. There is now built-in support for #images in Messages. This allows you to reply to messages with GIFs if you want, without being forced to switch to your iPhone just to do it.
Reflect and Breathe
With Mindfulness in watchOS 8, you’ll get the same great features from the Breathe app introduced last year, but there’s a new Reflect feature that takes you into a meditation practice. As you use Reflect, an animation appears on your Watch allowing you to sit back and actually relax for one minute.
Compatible Apple Watch Models
Before just diving into the installation process, you’ll need to make sure you have a compatible Apple Watch. Thankfully, the Apple Watch Series 3 is still going to be supported for another year, along with any Watch released since then. The only caveat is that your older Apple Watch may not get all of the new features.
- Apple Watch Series 3
- Series 4
- Series 5
- Watch SE
- Watch Series 6
- Watch Series 7
Download and Install watchOS 8
Now that you’ve learned what watchOS 8 has to offer, and provided that you have a compatible Apple Watch model, you can proceed to install watchOS 8. The process is no different than in years past, as you simply need to dive into the Watch app on your iPhone to get started. Here’s how you can download and install watchOS 8 on your Apple Watch.
- Open the Watch app on your iPhone.
- Tap the My Watch tab at the bottom of the app.
- Tap General.
- Select Software Update at the top of the page.
- At the bottom, tap the Download and Install button.
- Follow the on-screen prompts to finish the download and installation process.
When you hit the Software Update page with the watchOS 8 at the ready, Apple does have a couple of requirements, before you can install watchOS 8. The first of which is the need to have your Apple Watch placed on its charger. Next, you’ll need to ensure that your Watch and iPhone are connected to Wi-Fi and within range of each other. Finally, Apple states that you won’t be able to actually install watchOS 8 until your Apple Watch is charged to “at least” 50%.
Andrew is a freelance writer based on the East Coast of the US.
He has written for a variety of sites over the years, including iMore, Android Central, Phandroid, and a few others. Now, he spends his days working for an HVAC company, while moonlighting as a freelance writer at night.