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.
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.