Reviews - February 5, 2024

News and expected pricing (free), release date, features and other rumors

watchOS 11 is the next-generation Apple Watch operating system expected to be released later this year. There are still a few months left before the watch is released, but we can take a look at the rumors and make some guesses about what it will include.

WatchOS 11 release date

watchOS 11 is technically just a rumor. This is because Apple does not discuss future product or software releases. But it’s a very smart guess to assume it will arrive later this year. The company has been upgrading the smartwatch’s OS every year since the first version in 2015.

Here’s how it usually goes: Apple is expected to debut its next watchOS at the 2024 WWDC in June, and a beta version of watchOS 11 will be available for download soon, with updates scheduled for when it becomes generally available in the fall. Install a clock.

Lifewire’s release date estimate

watchOS 11 is expected to be released in September.

WatchOS 11 pricing

All operating system updates from Apple are free. Assuming you have the right Apple Watch and the right phone (see below), you can get watchOS 11 for free.

WatchOS 11 features

The upcoming WWDC will give us a glimpse of what’s to come, but until then we can only guess what new features will come.

Programmable side buttons are a great addition to watchOS 11. This feature is entirely software-based, so there are no technical issues preventing it. Currently, pressing the side button once opens Control Center, and pressing it twice launches Apple Pay. I wish there was a setting to remap this button to another button, like in the Apple Watch app.

Siri is expected to receive a major AI update across all Apple products, but we don’t yet know how it will be implemented on the Apple Watch. Better voice dictation will always be appreciated on small screens, but there’s probably a lot more Apple could develop.

Another thing I’d like to see is easier access to Apple Notes on the Apple Watch. There are plenty of note-taking apps on the App Store that are compatible with the watch, and their benefits are so obvious that it’s strange that Apple hasn’t made them available. This is one of the most important feature requests we’ve seen from Apple Watch users.

WatchOS 11 is not expected to support third-party watch faces, despite some users wanting it. In any case, just like last year, we’ll see some new options directly from Apple. 9to5Mac discusses why Apple doesn’t allow third-party watch faces (hint: it’s about uniformity).

As with most software updates, we wouldn’t be surprised to see some improvements to the way Apple Watch handles sleep and exercise data. This should translate into more accurate and reliable metrics. Speaking of which, I’m curious to see how Apple will handle blood oxygen measurement now that the feature has been removed from the Series 9 and Ulta 2 watch lines.

We will continue to update this section as leaks and rumors circulate throughout the year. In the meantime, take a look at last year’s updates in our watchOS 10 article.

WatchOS 11 supported devices

Apple has not released a list of watches that will be able to run the next version of watchOS. Expect it to be similar to last year, except for the Apple Watch Series 4 since it launched in 2018 (Apple typically updates its watches every five years or so).

  • Apple Watch Series 5
  • Apple Watch SE
  • Apple Watch Series 6
  • Apple Watch Series 7
  • Apple Watch Series 8
  • Apple Watch Series 9
  • Apple Watch Ultra
  • Apple Watch Ultra 2

Your phone is also important. It looks like you’ll need at least an iPhone 11 running iOS 18.

Latest news about WatchOS 11

You can find all the latest news on smartwatches and more here at Lifewire. The following is a specific story about watchOS.