When Can You Download watchOS 9 & Which Apple Watches Are Compatible?

The launch of watchOS 9 is fast approaching! Read on to find out when you can update your Apple Watch and what new features to check out.

Apple announced during its "Far Out" event on September 7 that watchOS 9 is rolling out on September 12, and we're very excited about the launch! Find out when you can update your Apple Watch to watchOS 9, which Apple Watches are compatible with the latest version of watchOS, and which watchOS features will be immediately available and which will be delayed.

Release Date for watchOS 9

Availability: September 12

Don't worry if September 12 comes along and the update hasn't shown up in the Watch app. Apple software updates are almost always staggered, resulting in waves of availability, so if you don't see an update available right away, check back later and you should be able to install watchOS 9 on your Apple Watch.

Which Apple Watches Will Work with watchOS 9?

All the new Apple Watches announced on September 7 at Apple's "Far Out" event will come with watchOS 9 already installed. Anyone with an iPhone 8 or newer iPhone model will be able to install iOS 16. Unfortunately, Apple has ended support for the iPhone 7 and older models, the first generation of the Apple Watch SE, as well as the iPod Touch. Here's the full list of watchOS 9 compatible Apple Watches:

  • Apple Watch Series 4
  • Apple Watch Series 5
  • Apple Watch Series 6
  • Apple Watch Series 7
  • Apple Watch Series 8
  • Apple Watch Ultra
  • Apple Watch SE (2nd generation)

New watchOS 9 Features to Check Out

When you update your Apple Watch, there will be a number of things you'll notice right away. Here are some of the most talked-about new watchOS 9 features that will be available as soon as you've installed the update:

  • The Workout app now includes Heart Rate Zones, new dynamic pacing options to help you with running, and support for triathlons.
  • True sleep tracking will now track REM, Core, and Deep sleep and provide feedback on your sleep health.
  • Medication tracking reminds you to take your medication, allows you to record when you've taken it, and alerts you to potential drug interactions.
  • Notification banners will no longer interrupt you while you're using your Apple Watch. 

Apple also announce a brand new high extreme sport version of the Apple Watch called the Apple Watch Ultra, so watchOS 9 will include new features just for the Ultra. They're mostly focused on athletic performance metrics and include things such as Ground Contact Time, Running Power, Vertical Oscillation, and Stride Length. For more on what we can expect out of watchOS 9 and the new Apple Watch Ultra, check out our full article on the Apple Watch Ultra.

If you're interested in learning how to use these and other new Apple Watch functions, sign up for our free Tip of the Day newsletter to receive a one-minute how-to each day, delivered straight to your inbox!

We are definitely excited about watchOS 9's release! Which new Apple Watch feature are you most excited about?

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Author Details

Kenya Smith's picture

Author Details

Kenya Smith

Kenya Smith is a Feature Web Writer for iPhone Life. She has a bachelor's degree in Strategic Communication and has written articles for two newspapers in her home state of Virginia. She also won first place in non-daily column writing for the 2019 and 2020 Virginia Press Association Awards.