Apple Watches have just changed beyond recognition. As part of watchOS 10, the way of navigating the system has changed and widgets have been added under the dials, and this is not the end of surprises. We have collected all the news in one place.
Apple Watch has a 10th anniversary version of the operating system. Unlike previous releases of watchOS, this time there are a lot of new features that fundamentally change the way you interact with applications. New home screen, widgets, moving the Control Center to another place – what exactly has changed and how to figure it out? We explain!
Read our other articles about Apple Watches:
Apple Watch: watchOS 10 and new all apps screen
A decade ago, when the first Apple Watch debuted, we saw the honeycomb screen of all applications for the first time. The small round icons arranged in a hexagonal grid, in the center of which was a shortcut to return to the watch face, looked very nice, but navigating the screen could be difficult. Over time, there was an option to switch to an alphabetical list (similar to how it works now in App Drawer on the iPhone), which many people liked much more.
watchOS 10 changes the home screen – thoroughly and for the better. The alphabetical list is still available, but this basic view has been redesigned in a great way. It still has a hexagonal layout, but you can no longer expand the set in all directions from the central watch face icon (which has disappeared) and you can’t zoom in or out. A screen with fixed-size icons now only scrolls vertically because it has a fixed width. The applications are arranged in rows, alternating 3 or 4 icons next to each other.
Now how do we get to this new view? To do this, press the crown, and pressing the crown again allows you to return to the dial (double opens the list of recently opened apps, without the option of pinning selected ones). You can scroll up and down the list using both your finger and the crown, and then just tap the icon to launch the app. Additionally, after scrolling up, being at the top of the list, you can get to both the button activating the alphabetical list and the widgets (“from the bottom”).
How do widgets work in watchOS 10?
The second and even more important new feature in Apple Watches is the support for widgets, which can be expanded by swiping your finger from the bottom of the screen or by turning the crown up when displaying any watch face (except Siri Watchface). After scrolling down, at the very top we always have information about the date and time, but below we can add application clippings taking up about half of the screen. They look similar to those on iPhones, iPads and Macs, but are of course much more compact due to the size of the Apple Watch.
Widgets in watchOS 10 can show, for example, the next meeting in the Calendar, uncompleted tasks from Reminders, Activity summary, the nearest Alarm Clock, action chart, Weather, Heart Rate, etc. (and developers of Apple Watch applications can create their own). Additionally, they are automatically sorted so that only the relevant information is displayed at a given moment. Finally, you can also add shortcuts to three selected apps, right above the button that opens the list of all installed programs. It’s a pity that you can’t select widgets in the Watch app on iPhone. Setting them on the watch is quite… annoying.
It works somewhat similarly to the long-known (and my favorite so far!) watch face: Siri Watchface. Horizontal bars with information also appear there, but the dial only supports a few complications. In the Siri shield, the first widget is always visible, and when using others, you now have to “get to them” first. In addition, all content is displayed in Siri Watchface by default, and if any of it does not suit us, it must be manually deleted, and this can only be done from the iPhone. We only get a few widgets to start with.
Where is the Control Center in watchOS 10?
One of the changes that irritates me is the relocation of the Control Center to a different place. So far, when I needed to manually turn on Focus Mode or turn on Audience Mode, I swiped from the bottom edge, but this gesture was reserved for the list. Now, to launch the list of handy shortcuts, you need to press the side button… which pisses me off with the aforementioned Siri Watchface, because the gesture of pulling the screen from the bottom does nothing.
Of course, from the perspective of users of other shields, this makes sense, but it is a pity that Apple did not leave a choice in this matter, at least for the Siri shield. I would prefer, due to years of habit, to continue to expand the Control Center by swiping my finger from the bottom edge, and then I could launch the widgets with a button. In addition, now double-pressing the button to activate Apple Pay first shows Control Center for a second. It’s not very elegant.-
On the other hand, I understand Apple’s intention and the fact that it did not give a choice in this matter, because the Control Center can now be launched at any time. Previously, this was only possible by going back to the watch face, but now you can also get to it while using any application or viewing the list of installed programs and the new widgets screen. Still, muscle memory does its job and I wonder how long it will take me to get used to this change.
Apple Watches with watchOS 10 have received several new dials.
As every year, watchOS 10 introduces completely new watch faces. The list of new items includes Solar Analog, Palette, Nike Globe and Snoopy. Additionally, Apple Watch Ultra and Apple Watch Ultra 2 users can use a new watch face called Modular Ultra, which can activate night mode and turn red. It’s a pity that the Siri dial has not yet been refreshed (which, due to its nature, does not support new widgets).
Unfortunately, in the process, Apple changed the way the user can switch between dials. Previously, it was enough to slide your finger left or right across the screen, which was convenient – unfortunately, from time to time I accidentally changed the dial to a different one. In watchOS 10, it works similarly to the lock screen on the iPhone: first, you need to press the screen longer and only then swipe left or right.
However, it is worth remembering that in previous releases of watchOS it was possible to link the watch face of your choice with the currently activated Focus Mode. Instead of switching dials for work, training and bedtime manually, you can automate it. This is definitely more convenient than the previous method of changing dials by moving the screen, not to mention the new one with the additional step of pressing the screen.
What else has changed in watchOS 10?
The most important changes in the Apple Watch software concern the interface and the way you navigate it. System applications such as Weather, Home, Maps and News have been redesigned. The idea was to show more data at once without having to touch the display. There are also new features for cyclists, including the detection of falls on a bicycle. In addition, after starting a cycling workout, information about it will appear on the phone screen in the form of a Live Activity notification that expands to full screen, which is useful if we attach the phone to the handlebar.
In addition, functions for people wandering have been improved – especially in places with poor reception. Apple Watches will mark where you last had cellular coverage in the Compass app so you can easily get back to it. There will also be a 3D view when planning routes, although for now it will only work in the United States. Application developers will, in turn, be able to use the Workout API to obtain accurate information from the sensors in the watch and then process it.
In the Mindfulness application, we can now record our well-being and then view this data in the Health application on iPhones and (from this year) on iPads, and the watch will count the time we spend outside using the light sensor. Additionally, we can bring the watch closer to another Apple device to quickly exchange contact information using the NameDrop function. In addition, companies will be happy with the support of Mobile Device Management (MDM) technology for remote management of devices with watchOS 10.
What about watchOS 10 on Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2?
As is usually the case, new devices have access to functions not available on previous generations of Apple devices, and this time is no different. Locally processing Siri queries and the ability to interact with apps by pinching two fingers is only available on Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 devices, which feature the new Apple S9 processor. We will look at this in a separate material!