Apple officially announced its newest version of WatchOS at its annual World Wide Developer’s Conference. The newest version of WatchOS brings some huge changes and additions to the Apple Watch including a walkie-talkie mode as well as improved health tracking features.
Although Apple released the WatchOS 5 beta to developers immediately after the WWDC keynote, it’s been temporarily pulled after users reported bricked devices. Since we don’t recommend installing the developers beta to your Apple Watch, and don’t anticipate a public beta of WatchOS 5, here’s a sneak peek at what to expect when it’s available later this year.
New watch band and faces for Pride month
Apple introduced a Pride edition watch band. Both the band and faces are currently available. You can purchase the band online and add the watch face is available in WatchOS 4.
Health and fitness tracking improvements
Apple is putting a huge emphasis on ensuring fitness tracking data is accurate in WatchOS 5. The company studied more than seven terabytes of fitness data from more than 12,000 participants to make sure its tracking measurements are on point.
You’ll also find a new competition mode on WatchOS 5. The mode allows you to enter a seven-day competition with a friend. You can track both you and your friends’ progress during the competition and the winner will win an Apple Watch award.
WatchOS 5 also features new fitness modes. The Yoga mode will track your activity via the heart rate monitor while the Hiking mode will use your pace and elevation to better determine the number of calories burned.
Runners will see improvements as well. The Running mode now offers a custom pace alert, tracks your cadence and will even provide time data on the previous mile run.
Finally, you’ll see new start and end workout alerts. WatchOS 5 will use your heart rate data to determine when you’ve begun a workout. When you reach a heart rate or time goal, it will offer an end alert on the home screen.
WatchOS 5 also brings several awesome communications improvements. First off is the new Walkie-Talkie mode. With Walkie-Talkie, you can add friends to your Apple Watch and communicate with them directly by tapping the Talk button within the Walkie-Talkie app.
Your Siri watch face will also get a huge update as well. The new Siri watch face will provide more information on your favorite sports teams, offer commute and traffic information, as well as heart rate.
Siri Shortcuts have also been added in WatchOS 5. With Siri Shortcuts, you can do things like check into your flight, extend a restaurant reservation, or even order coffee.
WatchOS 5 is finally adding a Podcast app. This app will automatically download your favorite podcasts directly to your Apple Watch, meaning you no longer need your phone to listen to your favorite podcast.
Another addition that has been long awaited is WebKit. With WebKit, you will be able to view webpages from Messages or emails.
Finally, there is no need to say “Hey Siri” anymore in WatchOS 5. Now you can simply raise your wrist to your mouth and Siri will automatically be listening.
As long as you’re not the proud owner of a first-generation Apple Watch, you’ll receive the WatchOS 5 beta later this year. While WatchOS 5 will be available as a developer’s beta for the next few months, we wouldn’t recommend downloading it to your Apple Watch unless you’re willing to brick your device.
Updated on June 6: Added news of bricked watches.