Here are all the Apple Watches getting updated to WatchOS 5

Best smartwatches - Apple Watch Series 2
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Arriving alongside the new Apple Watch Series 4, WatchOS 5 is the next huge step up for Apple’s thriving wearable ecosystem. This new version of Apple’s wearable OS is coming with a bunch of improvements, including better health and fitness tracking, a handy walkie-talkie mode, and a new feature for Siri that means she doesn’t need a trigger word to activate. WatchOS 5 has been available to developers since Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference in June, and it will be released for everyone else on September 17.

But despite all those new features and improvements, some Apple Watch owners might not be celebrating when the update finally drops. It turns out not every Apple Watch is getting the update to WatchOS 5, and some will be left behind. Avoid an update-induced headache come WatchOS 5 release day, and find out now if your Apple Watch is getting updated.

How to identify your Apple Watch

But before we begin, what if you’re not sure which model your Apple Watch actually is? After all, each generation of the Apple Watch has looked more or less the same — if you bought the latest “Apple Watch” without thinking too much about the model then you’re certainly not alone.

Thankfully, this is a situation that Apple has foreseen, and there is a simple way to discover which Apple Watch is perched on your wrist.

  1. Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap the My Watch tab, then hit General > About.
  3. Scroll to the Model field, then tap it to reveal a model number beginning with “A”.
  4. Note down that model number and compare it to Apple’s database to find out which Apple Watch you have.

Now that’s you’re sure you know which Apple Watch you have, it’s time to find out if you’ll be getting an OS upgrade.

Apple Watches that will receive WatchOS 5

There’s nothing hugely surprising here; if you’ve bought an Apple Watch fairly recently, then you would expect it to stay updated with the latest and greatest of Apple’s updates for now. Last year’s Apple Watch Series 3, the Apple Watch Series 2, and the Apple Watch Series 1 from 2016 are all watches that will be receiving WatchOS 5 when it launches.

We didn’t include the upcoming Apple Watch Series 4 in this list because that watch will launch with WatchOS 5 already installed — so it won’t be an update.

Apple Watches that will not receive WatchOS 5

Bad news for anyone still hanging onto their first-generation Apple Watch — it won’t be receiving an upgrade to the latest WatchOS, which means you won’t be sampling the latest additions and improvements to the OS.

But why isn’t your watch getting updated with the rest? Unfortunately, every piece of technology has a shelf life, and there comes a day when it simply isn’t worth the company’s time to keep pushing updates to an outdated model. Apple is known for supporting its tech for longer than other companies — there are five-year-old iPhones receiving the upcoming iOS 12 update — but even Apple has its limits.

The first generation of Apple Watch is actually pretty young for an Apple product, so it’s a surprise to see it getting the boot so soon. Which leads us to suspect that the reason isn’t to do with its lifespan — it’s linked to the watch’s hardware itself. Sometimes an update is too much for older hardware to handle, and it’s not a good idea to shackle future innovation in order to stay tethered to older hardware. It’s unfortunate, but that’s the way of the tech world.

Does this mean you need to ditch your Apple Watch and go shopping? Not necessarily. If you’re desperate for the new WatchOS 5 then you’re going to have to invest in a new model — but if your Apple Watch is chugging along just fine and you’re otherwise happy with your wrist-based companion, why not keep it around? If it’s still a solid performer and WatchOS 5 is your only grumble, maybe consider living with the still capable WatchOS 4. After all, it’s still a heck of a smartwatch.

Mobile

Mi 8 Pro looks like an iPhone, but has a feature Apple fans can only dream of

Xiaomi has launched two new phones in the Mi 8 family: The Mi 8 Pro and the Mi 8 Lite. Unlike the past models, these two are definitely going to be sold internationally. Here's what you need to know about them both.
Wearables

Fitbit Versa vs. Apple Watch Series 4: Which wearable is the best?

Smartwatches are the health-conscious wearables that everyone wants. We wanted to see how the brand-new Apple Watch Series 4 matches up with the beloved Fitbit Versa, so we compared them in various categories to help you choose.
Wearables

WatchOS 5 is now available -- here's everything we know so far

Months after Apple announced its latest software at WWDC, you can now download WatchOS for the Apple Watch. WatchOS 5 brings a number of new features including new watch faces and improved health tracking.
Wearables

Pre-orders for the Apple Watch Series 4 are officially live

Apple officially unveiled the Apple Watch Series 4. From a larger display to a built-in electrical heart sensor, the latest device brings along some notable new features. Here's everything you need to know.
Mobile

The Apple Watch Series 4 is officially available for pre-order

The new Apple Watch Series 4 is here. Besides the Apple store, the company's next-generation smartwatch is be available for purchase through all four major carriers. Here's where you can get yours.
Mobile

iOS 12's Siri Shortcuts help Apple close the digital assistant gap

Siri may be lagging behind the competition, but Apple is finally supercharging the digital assistant with Siri Shortcuts, which allows you to perform tasks quickly and easily. Here's how to use iOS 12's new Siri Shortcuts app.
Mobile

Updating to Apple’s iOS 12 will make your iPhone a whole lot smarter

iOS 12, the latest version of Apple’s iOS, is officially here. We took it for a spin to check out its new noteworthy features, and if it truly changes our smartphone habits for the better.
Mobile

Apple iPhone XS vs. Samsung Galaxy S9: 2018’s biggest flagships clash

The iPhone XS has been revealed, and it's one of the best phones of the year. But even though it's Apple's latest and greatest, it's up against a lot of competition. Is the iPhone XS better than the Samsung Galaxy S9?
Mobile

Samsung exec confirms upcoming Galaxy S10 will sport 'very significant changes'

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.
Wearables

Just $100 buys you this super-tough — and very cool — G Shock fitness watch

Casio has announced a new Bluetooth-connected fitness watch in its G Shock line. The GBD-800 has an all-new digital display, fitness tracking technology, a classic G Shock look, and an attractive price.
Mobile

The best weather apps for the iPhone

Don't rely solely on your local meteorologist to stay up to date on the weather. Take matters into your own hands with one of these weather apps, each of which brings something unique to the table.
Mobile

Be an online phantom and web surf safely with Ghostery’s mobile browser

Keeping your private information to yourself has become progressively harder in the internet age. If you're worried about your personal information, check out the new version of the Ghostery browser for iOS and Android.
Mobile

OnePlus 6T may launch soon with in-display fingerprint sensor, dual cameras

According to a recent report, the launch of the OnePlus 6T could be different from any other OnePlus launch in history. How? It could have the backing of a major U.S. carrier. Here's everything we know about the OnePlus 6T.
Mobile

Code found in iOS 12.1 beta suggests we will see a new iPad this fall

The new iPhone XS, iPhone XR, and Apple Watch aren't the last devices we'll see from Apple in 2018. There are plenty of rumors about a new iPad coming this year too, and it may share some design similarities with the new phones.