best watchOS 2 features

After a unscheduled delay, watchOS 2 was released on Monday for the Apple Watch. As we’ve noted in the past, watchOS 2 is a significant upgrade over the first version. It brings with it several big name features, including third-party complications, native apps, Nightstand mode, and a handful of all new watch faces.

No, watchOS 2 isn’t as big as last week’s release of iOS 9 in terms of features, but if you’re an Apple Watch owner, it’s something that you’ll definitely want to update to without delay. Have a look at our video walkthrough to see many of the new features in action

  • Bigger passcode entry buttons – makes it easier to enter your passcode.
  • Time-lapse watch faces – videos of Hong Kong, London, Mack Lake, New York, Paris, & Shanghai.
  • Photo watch face – use a photo as your watch face.
  • Photo Album watch face – a rotating photo album as your watch face.
  • New colors for watch faces – 9 new colors to choose from.
  • New multicolor modular face
  • Third party complications – place complications from installed apps on your watch face.
  • Time travel – use the Digital Crown to see past and future events.
  • Nightstand mode – lets your Apple Watch work as a bedside alarm clock.
  • New animated emoji – even more emoji animations to spice up conversations.
  • Reply to emails – use dictation, emoji or smart replies.
  • FaceTime audio calls – you can now make and receive FaceTime audio calls.
  • Friend groups – add friends to uniquely named groups.
  • Add friends – add more than 12 friends directly from Apple Watch.
  • Multicolor sketches – spice up your sketches with multiple colors.
  • Beats 1 button – play Beats 1 radio directly from the Music app.
  • Quick Play – play a variety of tracks from Apple Music.
  • Transit directions on Maps – show transit lines and stations in major cities.
  • Native apps – faster more powerful apps running natively.
  • Digital Crown support – third-party apps can now use Digital Crown input.
  • Heart rate monitor support – third-party apps can now tap into the heart rate monitor.
  • Accelerometer support – third-party apps can now tap into the accelerometer.
  • Speaker support – third-party apps can output sound through the Apple Watch speaker.
  • Start a workout with Siri – Siri, start a workout.
  • HomeKit support – use Siri to turn on lights, open blinds, turn on HVAC, etc.
  • Activation Lock – prevent activating Apple Watch without Apple ID and password.
  • Longer screen time – wake screen for 70 seconds instead of 15.
  • Mute Activity reminders for a day – mute stand reminders, goal completions, etc.
  • Support for Wi-Fi calling – Make calls when iPhone is out of range on supported carriers.
  • Apple Wallet – support for rewards cards and store credit and debit cards.

Obviously, there are more features included in watchOS 2 than what made it on this list, but this post highlights the vast majority of the significant new features. Which new feature is your favorite? Is there something that I didn’t mention that should have been included in this list? Sound off with your thoughts and opinions below.

Wi-Fi call watchOS 2 no Bluetooth

Note: In the video, I demonstrated a FaceTime call for Wi-Fi calling. I should have demonstrated a regular cellular phone call to truly demonstrate this functionality. I did test a standard cellular call with Bluetooth turned off on my iPhone, and it worked just fine. Let me know if you have any questions.

  • Tiago Peruchin

    Jeff, you mean “watchOS 2 isn’t as big as last week’s release of iOS 9”?

  • Jose Gonzalez

    I know this isn’t of relevance to the article but Im just very curious as to how these iPhone 6s pre orders are being handled.

    I pre ordered my boss’s iPhone 6s Plus (64 GB, Space Grey) 10 minutes after pre orders started through Apple and he will be receiving his on launch day.

    My wife’s iPhone 6s Plus (64 GB, Rose Gold) was ordered on the 15th from AT&T and continues to show estimated ship date of October 27-November 3.

    Now my iPhone 6s Plus (64 GB, Space Grey) was also ordered at the same time as my wife’s through AT&T and originally showed an estimated ship date of October 20-27 then two days ago it went down to October 13-27 and now I received a tracking number from UPS showing it shipped today via UPS Next Day Air Saver and a delivery date on launch day!

    How Apple handles these pre orders is just amazing. Sadly my wife still has to wait a long time!

    Anyone else experience what I am experiencing?

    • 9to5Slavery

      Mine doesn’t tell me tracking! I ordered 3 hours after it released

      • Jose Gonzalez

        Actually Apple’s website doesn’t show a tracking number or that it is shipped either. I did what Mac rumors suggested and went to the UPS website and did a “Track by reference” search. That is how I pulled up the tracking number and found out for sure it is delivering on launch day. By the way, does Apple’s website say that it delivers on the 25th for you? Because it has said that for me the whole time, just never updated with a tracking number.

      • 9to5Slavery

        Just now they did

      • Jose Gonzalez

        Yeah, they did for me too now.

    • Fanboy 

      Why do you go through your carrier? AT&T is the problem, not Apple. I always place my order directly through Apple and never have any issues. I get my devices on launch day.

      • Jose Gonzalez

        Well because I am currently with T-Mobile and I will be switching to AT&T. So both my wife and I have our phone numbers already ready to be transferred over to AT&T. If Apple would have given me the option on their website to purchase the phone, transfer my number to AT&T and deliver on launch day then I would have done it that way. I’m getting mine on launch day so no issues, just too bad for my wife.

  • That_Fruitarian

    Jeff is the man!!! He always comes through.

  • John

    I’m surprised (given the focus on Health for the Apple Watch) there hasn’t been more watchOS 2 apps approved in the Health and Fitness category.

    I know Strava was featured during the keynote…so where is it?

    • That_Fruitarian

      What do you mean? I’ve been using strava on my Apple Watch for 3 months.

  • Erick Reyes

    Jeff, I think you made a mistake.

    Here, when you said “Nightstand mode – lets your IPHONE work as a bedside alarm clock.”

    Shouldn’t you replace the word iPhone with Watch?

  • Tommy Gumbs

    Jeff, please tell me that was not your Heart Rate? 110, or whatever it was is astronomical.

    • It was, but I had just got through exercising.

      • Tommy Gumbs

        Dude, thats still high. But…im an athlete. For example, this past sat I did a 6 mile time trail and placed third. My hr was sitting in the 60 3mim afterwards. But i can also ride a bicycle at 30 mph for 1hr and have an average HR of 120bpm

      • Wilber Alexander Flores

        yolo bpm

      • Pradhan Mn

        Your heart rate is maintained at 70s because you are an athlete.your heart musculature is well built,hence cardiac output is increased by increased intensity of pumping and not by heart rate increase.
        For non athletes like me,cardiac output is increased by increased heart rate.

  • mrweid

    Is the  watch in the video 38mm or 42mm?

  • Byambaa

    Thanks. Thumbs up from me for such videos

  • Diniesh

    I found my watch to charge faster. Have anyone experienced that?

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  • Tim

    For some reason, on my watch, the multi-color watch face is the ugliest thing ever created. All the colors are bad combinations.

  • Tim

    Really thought you were the one of the team that cleaned his devices’ screens before filming. 😛

    • Man, I tried. I actually went through 5 packs of wipes. It’s so hard to keep it spotless.

  • Joonyaboy

    Is the Facetime Audio louder? It’s slightly disappointing how low a volume voice call are.

  • gneken

    I love your voice Jeff xD

  • Regginald Williams

    You are so thorough, I appreciate that and repost you often on Facebook.