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Apple watchOS 3 release date & new features

Christopher Minasians | June 24, 2016
watchOS 3 is a pretty big update, with lots of new features set to make your Apple Watch experience smoother and faster.

Apple watchOS 3 new features: What new features will watchOS 3 bring to Apple Watch?

watchOS 3 release date & new features

watchOS 3 is a pretty big update, with lots of new features set to make your Apple Watch experience smoother and faster. Read on for more detail about each of the new features and what they'll mean to you.


The new Dock feature is one of our favourites. It's set to make navigating through apps much easier on your Apple Watch. The Dock will show all of your recent and favourite apps, and you can access it simply by pressing the side button.

Instant apps

You'll also find that your apps such as those available in the Dock launch much, much faster than they did before. That's because Apple has introduced an instant launch feature, and the apps will update in the background so that the information displayed is accurate at all times.

Activity motivation improvements

Apple has also improved the Activity and Workout apps to help you stay motivated. You'll be able to share, compare and compete with your contacts, and you'll now get notifications about your friends' progress too. Activity sharing is connected to the Messages app too, so you can send personalised messages of encouragement.

Breathe app

The all-new Breathe app will encourage you to take moments throughout the day to do deep breathing sessions to maintain your stress levels. You'll get a heart rate summary after the session, which can last for up to five minutes.

Quick replies

Apple has improved the messaging system in watchOS 3. You can now use stickers, handwriting, full-screen effects and invisible ink just like the new features in iOS 10. Smart Replies are now available within the message notification, and you can use the scribble feature to write custom replies by drawing each letter, which the Apple Watch will convert into text.


The SOS app, which will be available worldwide so will work wherever you are in the world, even if you're travelling, can be used to call emergency services and alert your emergency contacts right from the Apple Watch. It works using your phone's cellular connection or WiFi.

New watch faces

Finally, Apple also unveiled new watch faces, including a Minnie Mouse option that was certainly a crowd-pleaser. There's also an Activity watch face, and you can launch more apps straight from the watch face screen including Workout, Music and Messages.

Complications have been introduced to the Photo, Motion and Timeplapse faces, too.

Below are the features we had hoped to see in watchOS 3 but that didn't get announced during the keynote.


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