Apple WatchOS is the company’s operating system developed to power Apple Watch smartwatch devices. WatchOS is based on Apple’s iOS mobile operating system that powers iPhone, iPad and iPod Touchdevices.
The WatchOS made its debut on April 24, 2015, when the Apple Watch was officially released to the public. An API called WatchKit was also released for developers to create WatchOS apps for the Apple Watch.
Apple Releases the WatchOS 2 Update
Apple introduced a major update to the WatchOS in September 2015 in the form of WatchOS 2. Apple WatchOS 2 delivers new features and functionality for Apple Watch devices, including more native apps with access to the smartwatch’s sensors and controls like the Taptic Engine, Digital Crown and more.
Additional new features include a “Time Travel” feature that displays your upcoming events up to 72 hours in the future (or prior for past events), tetherless Wi-Fi for connecting to Wi-Fi networks without needing to first connect to a paired iPhone, new watch faces, improved support for Siri and a nightstand mode.
WatchOS 3 Arrived in 2016
Apple announced the WatchOS 3 mobile operating system in the fall of 2016 in conjunction with the debut of the Apple Watch Series 2. The WatchOS 3 update offered improved performance over earlier release, as well as a new Dock for easier navigation, the ability to launch favorite apps quickly, and new and improved fitness and health capabilities for the Apple Watch.
Apple unveiled the watchOS 4 mobile operating system in September 2017 along with the new Apple Watch Series 3. Apple watchOS 4 offered improved health and fitness features (including a Quickstart interface for faster starts to workouts and a High Intensity Interval Training workout option), plus personalized Activity coaching, enhanced measurements in the Heart Rate app, a new Siri watch face and improvements to the Music experience.
WatchOS 5 Debuts with Apple Watch 4 in 2018
Apple announced the watchOS 5 mobile operating system in the fall of 2018 in conjunction with the debut of the Apple Watch Series 4. With watchOS 5, Apple has added an array of new health features to go along with support for Walkie-Talkie mode, Notifications enhancements, Podcasts, an updated Siri watch face, and a redesigned Heart App.
Health and fitness improvements and new features in watchOS 5 include a new ECG app on the Apple Watch 4 that allows the wearer to take an electrocardiogram (ECG), Activity competitions, automatic workout detection capabilities, and Yoga and Hiking workout options. A 5.2 update for watchOS 5 expanded the ECG support beyond the U.S. and also added support for the 2nd generation of Air Pods.