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watchOS 11: Features, rumors, release date, beta, Apple Watch compatibility, and more

Updated Apr 9th, 2024 2:24PM EDT
watchOS 11 needs to revamp Apple Watch Activity Rings
Image: José Adorno for BGR

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watchOS 11 is Apple’s upcoming operating system for Apple Watch models. After rebuilding the OS from the ground up with watchOS 10, the next version doesn’t look like it will add many new features. That said, here’s what we know about it so far.

What will Apple call its next watchOS?

While it’s hard to predict what Apple will call its macOS updates, watchOS updates are typically pretty straightforward. If Apple follows the trend, the watchOS 10 successor will be called watchOS 11. Although 2024 marks the tenth anniversary of the Apple Watch, it seems Apple will focus on hardware changes rather than revamp its software once again. BGR has already shared a lot about the upcoming Apple Watch Series 10 model.

watchOS 11 features

watchOS 10 Snoopy Watch Face on Apple Watch Ultra 2Image source: José Adorno for BGR

Little is known about watchOS 11 features. Still, Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman believes this will be “a fairly minor” update. After a big revamp last year, it makes sense why Apple isn’t planning any significant new features for the Apple Watch in 2024.

Still, these are some of the changes we could see in the new software:

Workout revamp

If Apple follows the trend, the company might revamp one of its workouts. With watchOS 9, outdoor run metrics improved, and watchOS 10 also upgraded cycling and hiking workouts by adding more info and even supporting Live Activities on the iPhone.

It’s unclear which workout will be revamped in 2024, but it would be a welcome addition.

Improved sleep tracking

Since watchOS 9, users have been able to track their sleep with an Apple Watch. While we expected significant changes in watchOS 10, they didn’t come. With watchOS 11, Apple might add more data – or at least insights – for sleep measurement.

Activity Ring should be rebuilt

watchOS 11 needs to revamp Apple Watch Activity RingsImage source: José Adorno for BGR

The Apple Watch Activity Rings can be toxic for some users. They measure your daily activity in three categories: move, exercise, and stand. While the goal to fill up all three rings daily is a worthwhile pursuit, Activity Rings have become more of an irritant for some users as the Apple Watch is seemingly never satisfied with your achievements.

That said, even if you run a marathon, swim from England to France, and do a strength workout, on the next day, your Apple Watch will say, “You did well yesterday. How about doing the same today?” watchOS 11 needs to change that.

New Watch Faces

Apple has also added new watch faces in recent updates. It’s unclear what this update will bring, but we’ll likely get at least one new face in this upcoming cycle.

How to install watchOS 11 beta

Apple Watch Series 9Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

watchOS 11 beta isn’t available yet. Once it is, users just need to follow these steps:

  • On your iPhone, open the Watch app
  • Tap on General and Software Update
  • Tap on Beta Updates and enable watchOS 11 Developer Beta

How to install the public beta

The public beta of the upcoming operating system isn’t available yet. That said, you can enroll in a public beta test of watchOS 10 to prepare for this future update. You need to accept the terms and conditions of the Apple Beta Software Program with your Apple ID.

But before you think about downloading the beta, you should know that you can’t downgrade to an older version. So once watchOS 11 beta is out, you won’t be able to downgrade to watchOS 10.

As such, even if you run into some critical bugs, you’ll be stuck with watchOS 11, and you’ll have to wait for another beta update, as you can’t downgrade to any older versions. With that in mind, this is how you can download the public beta when it’s available:

  • On your iPhone, open the Watch app
  • Tap on General and Software Update
  • Tap on Beta Updates and enable watchOS 11 Public Beta

Release date

We expect Apple to unveil watchOS 11 at WWDC 2024. The conference hasn’t been announced yet, but it usually occurs in the first week of June.

Around July, a public beta should be made available, with the official release date expected to be in September, alongside the iPhone 16 announcement.

Compatible Apple Watch models

on-device Siri request on Apple Watch Ultra 2Image source: José Adorno for BGR

Apple stopped supporting the Apple Watch Series 3 with watchOS 10. If this new operating system only offers small updates, Apple may keep the same lineup:

  • Apple Watch Series 4 (2018)
  • Apple Watch Series 5 (2019)
  • Apple Watch SE (2020)
  • Apple Watch Series 6 (2020)
  • Apple Watch Series 7 (2021)
  • Apple Watch SE (2022)
  • Apple Watch Series 8 (2022)
  • Apple Watch Ultra (2022)
  • Apple Watch Series 9 (2023)
  • Apple Watch Ultra 2 (2023)

Besides one of the smartwatches above, you must have an iPhone XR, iPhone XS, or newer running iOS 17 to take full advantage of an Apple Watch.

That said, a rumor suggests Apple might ditch the Apple Watch Series 4 from the watchOS 11 update, but we’ll only know for sure once Apple announces this new system during the WWDC 2024 keynote.

José Adorno Tech News Reporter

José is a Tech News Reporter at BGR. He has previously covered Apple and iPhone news for 9to5Mac, and was a producer and web editor for Latin America broadcaster TV Globo. He is based out of Brazil.