watchOS 10 gives the Apple Watch a fresh new look


Apple has released watchOS 10, the latest version of the software that powers the Apple Watch series. This update comes with a fairly substantial visual refresh.

Ready for the new era? You can update by going to the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, heading to the General settings menu, and Software Update.

Your Apple Watch will need at least 50 per cent charge to start the update process, and watchOS 10 is only available on watches from the Series 4 generation and newer.

But what’s new? The Apple Watch immediately feels a little different after the watchOS 10 update.

watchOS 10 design changes

When you turn the digital crown to scroll below the watch face, you will now see the Smart Stack section.

This is a carousel of widgets, intended to be the place you head to for bits of info you look at regularly. That might be your step count, the weather, or calendar appointments, for example.


The app menu gets a new style, too, and this could be the change that feels the most impactful on day one. Before watchOS 10, the Apple Watch had a sort of honeycomb-style app screen by default, one you could zoom in and out of.

The Apple Watch screen crams in a ridiculous number of app icons on-screen when zoomed out, but is that actually useful? watchOS 10 gets sensible, with a much more manageable screen style.

It’s a scroll of app icons you navigate through using the digital crown or touchscreen swipes. On first look it seems so much more friendly than the old style, if less iconic or recognisable than the original.

Several of the Apple Watch’s core apps are also given a refresh in watchOS 10. Activity, Heart, Home, Maps, and Messages all get a new look, but these changes are best experienced first-hand.

We will say that the impression at times is Apple has tried to bring these Watch apps closer to the respective iPhone versions, with improved animations and use of colour.

watchOS 10 features

The most substantive feature changes in watchOS 10 are for — a surprise to some — cyclists.

The Apple Watch’s cycling workouts can now take in data from gadgets like power and cadence meters, as long as they communicate over Bluetooth. As part of this, the cycling workout view will now bring in power data, which is the number one stat riders tend to look at during or after a workout.


watchOS 10 makes the Apple Watch a much, much better cycling computer. It’s going to get much better for hiking, too, thanks to on-board topographic maps.

However, these only cover the US to start. They don’t live on your watch, so your iPhone will need to be nearby, but the phone doesn’t need internet access to use them, according to DC Rainmaker. Fingers crossed these maps come to the UK soon.

There are also improvements for fans of mindfulness, as watchOS 10 lets you create custom sessions. These are similar to the custom workouts, for running and so on, introduced last year.

And if that all sounds like too much effort, you can just bask in the glory of the new Snoopy watch face. It features Peanuts comic strip fave Woodstock as well as Snoopy, and there are 148 animations packed into this one charming watch face, according to the official Snoopy TikTok account, no less.

If you’re waiting for the new Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 to experience watchOS 10, those new models are available from September 22.