Apple watchOS 9 official version released

Apple today pushed the watchOS 9 updates (build number: 20R361) to Apple Watch users. This is the latest version of the watchOS operating system, designed to run on newer Apple Watch models. watchOS 9 is compatible with Apple Watch Series 4 and later.

watchOS 9 can be downloaded for free through the Apple Watch app on your iPhone by opening it and going to General > Software Update. To install new software, the Apple Watch needs to have at least 50% battery power, needs to be on a charger, and needs to be within range of an iPhone.

Apple has added four new watch faces in watchOS 9. "Phases of the Moon" showcases the relationship between the Gregorian and lunar calendars, while "Happy Hour" offers animated and anthropomorphic figures created in collaboration with artist Joi Fulton. The 'Metropolis' is a classic type-driven dial, while the 'Astronomy' is an improved version of the original astronomical dial with a reworked design and new star chart and cloud data.

Apple has also updated several existing watch faces with a more modern look and added new complications, plus Focus Mode can now be associated with a specific watch face. Sleep tracking in watchOS 9 now includes sleep stages, allowing users to detect when they user is in REM, core or deep sleep.

The new Medicines app on Apple Watch is designed to help users manage and track their medications, vitamins, and supplements. The app maintains a list of medications, sends reminders when it's time to take them, and notes any drug interactions (the US only).

For the Workout app, there are new options for customizing workouts, including work and rest intervals, heart rate zones can be created to monitor workout intensity, and there are new alert notifications for speed, power, heart rate, and heart rate. The user can be guided through the rhythm of the workout.

Swimmers, runners, and triathletes have new activity options that take into account new metrics, and Fitness+ users without Apple TV can use AirPlay to stream workouts and meditations to compatible third-party TVs use with Apple TV.

The ECG app atrial fibrillation (AFib) warning has been updated and Apple has added a new AFib history feature. Patients with AFib can turn on AFib History to track AFib frequency to gain a deeper understanding of their heart condition, which can also be shared with medical professionals.

Apple has redesigned notifications on the Apple Watch to use a slimmer banner that's less intrusive when the watch is in active use, and Family Settings now supports the Family app so kids can control smart home accessories from their wrist. Quick Actions on Apple Watch allow users to do more with double pinch gestures, including answer/end calls, play/pause media and start or pause a workout.

The following is the specific update content:

watchOS 9 and Apple Watch bring new ways to stay active, healthy, and connected. You have more ways to train and measure your fitness, a completely redesigned Compass app to track medication use with a new app, better sleep tracking to track all sleep stages, and in the event of a diagnosis of atrial fibrillation, Better understanding and protecting heart health.


  • The astronomical dial now shows the current cloud distribution and star map
  • The Moon Phase Dial contains a lunar, Hebrew, or Islamic calendar that surrounds the moon and renders the phases of the moon in real-time
  • Happy hour watch face with dynamic numbers designed by Chicago artist Joi Fulton and editable background color
  • Metropolis is a unique style dial, the numbers on the dial change in style with the rotation of the digital crown, and the font thickness also changes flexibly.
  • Nike Hands, Nike Rebound, Nike Compact Module, Nike Numbers, and Nike Hybrid Watch Faces Now Available on More Apple Watch Models
  • Breath, California, Module, Typography, and other dials provide rich complications, Chinese text options, and a background color editor
  • Portrait watch face now supports cat, dog, and landscape photos, with customizable background or color of the entire photo
  • Choose which watch face is displayed when focus mode is on

Physical Training

  • Customize and scroll through multiple workout views during workouts, including segments, splits, fitness rings, and more
  • The Heart Rate Zones view uses maximum heart rate and resting heart rate to create personalized zones and displays the duration of each zone
  • The Altitude view displays the current altitude and climbed altitude, and visually depicts the change in altitude during outdoor running, outdoor cycling, outdoor wheelchair-paced, hiking, outdoor walking, and outdoor wheelchair-paced walking
  • The Running Power view shows a real-time measurement of the work you do while running, measured in watts (Apple Watch SE, Apple Watch Series 6 and later)
  • Running Posture Metrics in the Workout view, including stride length, touchdown time, and vertical amplitude, monitor running efficiency and reflect trends (available on Apple Watch SE, Apple Watch Series 6, and later)
  • Custom workouts allow you to create sets of repetitive interval workouts based on time, distance, or open-ended goals, with automatic or manual progression to the next set
  • The Pacemaker training experience helps you maintain your desired pace with reminders and a dedicated workout view
  • Multi-sport training supports duathlon or triathlon training with automatic detection of open water/pool swimming, indoor/outdoor cycling, indoor/outdoor running and transition to the next stage
  • Customize workout reminders for metrics like pace, power, cadence, and heart rate zones
  • Pool swimming fitness training with automatic detection of floating boards
  • The SWOLF swimming efficiency index is calculated as the number of strokes plus the time per stroke

  • On-screen coaching instructions include intensity goals, paddles per minute for rowing sessions, RPM for cycling sessions, and incline for treadmill sessions
  • Instructor guidance and personal fitness metrics can be displayed on the screens of third-party compatible TVs and devices
  • Redesigned Compass app with more in-depth information and a zoomable view (available on Apple Watch SE, Apple Watch Series 5, and later)
  • The main dial supports both pointer scale and a digital view showing the current bearing and heading
  • Zoomed pointer view showing your bearing, altitude, inclination, and coordinates
  • Compass waypoints allow you to mark locations or points of interest (available on Apple Watch SE, Apple Watch Series 6, and later)
  • Backtracking uses GPS to track your tracks in case you get lost or disoriented (available on Apple Watch SE, Apple Watch Series 6, and later)
  • Sleep stage tracking uses accelerometer and heart rate sensor data to detect REM sleep, core sleep, deep sleep, and duration of wakefulness
  • Comparison charts provide a view of heart rate, breathing rate, and sleep time in the Health app on iPhone
  • On-demand and timed medication can be recorded, including how much and when
  • You can view the medication timing and the content recorded on the day
  • Reminder to record timed medication
  • The Medication complication lets you check your schedule or quickly open the app
History of atrial fibrillation
  • Weekly notifications contain an estimate of the percentage of atrial fibrillation duration from the previous calendar period
  • The feed shows the day and time of the week the worst atrial fibrillation
  • Track lifestyle factors that may affect the duration of atrial fibrillation, including exercise, sleep, weight, alcohol intake, and mindfulness minutes, in the Health app on the iPhone
  • PDFs can be shared for deeper discussions with healthcare providers
  • Supports users over 22 years of age diagnosed with atrial fibrillation
Family sharing settings
  • The Podcasts app can now be used to search, download and follow shows and explore featured content
  • Support for third-party email now extends to Yahoo and Outlook
  • Contact photos can now be edited and shared
  • Expands Quick Actions via Assistive Touch to play and pause in Now Play, pause and resume in Workout, take a photo with the camera remote, and toggle map view and turn-by-turn navigation in Maps
Pairs a Bluetooth keyboard with Apple Watch
  • Apple Watch Mirroring lets you control your Apple Watch remotely from a paired iPhone via AirPlay, and supports assistive technologies like Voice Control or Switch Control as an alternative to tapping the Apple Watch screen
    Other features and improvements:
    • Low Power Mode maintains the core functionality of the Apple Watch while temporarily disabling selected background features such as Always On Display and Heart Health notifications to extend battery life
    • Support for international roaming, allowing you to stay connected to cellular networks while traveling abroad (available on Apple Watch SE, Apple Watch Series 5, and later)
    • Expanded keyboard language support to include French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish (for Apple Watch Series 7 and later)
    • Communication security settings in Screen Time allow parents to enable alerts for their children when they receive or attempt to send nude photos in Messages
    • Period deviation notifications can alert you if your recorded menstrual cycle shows signs of oligomenorrhea, irregular periods, prolonged periods, or persistent spotting
    • New aerobic recovery metrics estimated by Apple Watch in the Health app
    • The updated Reminders app supports editing features so you can add important details like location, labels, and due dates
    • The newly designed Calendar app supports new calendar events and can switch to day view, list view, and week view
    • Enhanced Podcast experience with support for searching, following, and unfollowing shows, and exploring new content in Listen Now
    • The updated Dock shows apps running in the background at the top
    • Newly designed notifications display slim, slim banners when you're using your Apple Watch

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