Apple releases watchOS 2.0 with support for native apps and more: here are the top new features [Video]

Apple Watch watchOS 2

Apple first showed off the next-generation software for its smartwatch earlier this year, revealing that it would allow the wearable devices to run native applications directly on the watch, vastly improving performance and allowing apps to interact with the watch hardware in new ways.

Following a significant delay due to a critical bug, watchOS 2 is out now and can be downloaded for all Apple Watches through the companion app on the iPhone. The update seems to have an new build number, indicating that, like iOS 9, it was updated after the GM build was seeded to fix whatever issue held up release.

While a lot of the new watchOS 2.0 update will be familiar, there are some new features throughout the update that will help make your life with the Apple Watch even easier. Check out the video below from 9to5’s Dom Esposito for a rundown of some of the best new additions.


Some of the new features include the ability to set favorite contacts directly from your watch and a new “Time Travel” mode that lets you peek into the future and see what events and changes you’ve got coming up in the next few hours.

watchOS 2 includes several new clock faces to further customize your Apple Watch and make it your own — Timelapse, Photo Album and Photo. There are also some new features for existing watch faces including an assortment of new tint colors.

To install watchOS 2, first update your iPhone to iOS 9, then open the Watch app and check for updates. You should see the new software appear and have the update to upgrade.

The most important parts of watchOS 2 have to come from developers, things like native apps and complications. Native support will make using third-party apps a much nicer experience than they are on watchOS 1 as processing can take place on the watch itself, without needing to communicate to the phone, leading to a faster, more responsive experience. watchOS 2 apps can also expose complications so you can have third-party app data on your watch faces for the first time.

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  1. beyondthetech - 8 years ago

    It should be noted that watchOS 2 isn’t really 12.4MB for users who have watchOS 1.x, as shown in the photo. Many others, likely including Dom, were already on the watchOS 2 GM Seed so this is an incremental update for them.

    • Jassi Sikand - 8 years ago

      That makes sense. They probably used a stock photo from those who already had the GM seed. How large of a file is it?

      • aronvdherik - 8 years ago

        It’s a 500+ mb download and (for me) takes up about an hour to download to the watch, installing took about 30-45 minutes.

    • Mike Beasley - 8 years ago

      Yep, that photo came from 9to5’s Benjamin Mayo, who was running the GM.

    • ag80911 - 8 years ago

      Thanks for the video – very laggy UI – I will wait for the refurbs to hit the store or upgrade whenever the second gen arrives

      • tonywmd23 - 8 years ago

        Laggy UI is because the videos was uploaded 3 months ago – when Dom was actually demonstrating the watchOS beta 1.

  2. Charlypollo - 8 years ago

    Oh god yes finally. I was expecting this update even more than ios9. I hope apps developers hurry up to move their apps to the watch. I’ll pay good money for a decent native workout tracker. Apple’s workout app is just a big mess.

  3. brokennesscomesalive - 8 years ago

    Nothing appearing with 9.1 beta?

  4. CranApple (@MoreCran) - 8 years ago

    “Following a significant delay due to a critical bug”– please, get a grip. Wednesday to the following Monday is hardly significant. Hats off to Apple and whoever had the guts to pull the red switch and cause a change in plan. Bugs happen, but too often in the world of software nobody has the balls to change a date. Congrats to whoever at Apple participated in this decision. A year from now, nobody will remember a 3 business day slip, yet a whole host of us would remember for a long time ‘that bug in Watch OS2″.

  5. Tim Wells (@timwells15) - 8 years ago

    I’m on version watchOS 1.0.1 and my download size is 515 MB. It’s downloading very very slow, my normal download speeds are 75-80 Mbps on cable internet and after almost 20% downloaded it’s saying it will take 32 minutes to complete the download which clearly isn’t accurate of my actual download speed available to me.

    • aronvdherik - 8 years ago

      This is because it’s using your iPhone’s internet connection to download the file and transfer it via bluetooth which is maxed out at a theoretical speed of only 25mbps. For me, the download took about an hour.

  6. Thomas Yoon - 8 years ago

    Is anyone else having trouble finding the actual update in their Watch app? Mine keeps saying “watchOS 1.0.1 Your software is up to date”. It should be noted that I’m on iOS 9.1 beta.

    • tacos1314 - 8 years ago

      I am having the same issue as well. I am running Public Beta 9.1. I am really looking forward to this update…

    • Tim Wells (@timwells15) - 8 years ago

      I’m running the public iOS 9.0 software on my iPhone, you might need to be running public release (non-beta) in order for it to work.

    • meaningfultype - 8 years ago

      I’m running PB 9.1 and was having issues until I restarted my phone. Working fine now.

      • tacos1314 - 8 years ago

        I deleted the beta profile from the apple watch (never had the beta) then I restarted both the watch and the phone and the update started to download!

    • mikhailt - 8 years ago

      Restart the Watch, it will then show up.

    • Piotr Klimczak - 8 years ago

      iOS 9.1 PB, Restarted my phone and watch few times- nothing :(

      • Piotr Klimczak - 8 years ago

        Deleting beta profile from watch did the work, thanks!

  7. I suppose developers in Apple who worked on WatchOS 2 didn’t have enough time to make this timelapse shit work properly. Good job Apple!

  8. adiquepl - 8 years ago

    Apple Watch semi-available in Poland. It’s official availability is believed to be tied to the WatchOS 2.0 and/or polish Siri launch. The former has arrived as of today; the latter is yet to come [and can’t come soon enough]!
    Source ˜— Apple’s own site:

  9. James Lattuca - 8 years ago

    Anyone getting stuck at the verifying part after software has downloaded and prepared?

    • Derrel Schnurr - 8 years ago

      Yes. So annoying. It’s been nearly an hour and it still won’t start installing. I’m running out of time before I have to head to work. My life sucks.

  10. Derrel Schnurr - 8 years ago

    Anyone else stuck in the “verifying” step?

  11. Patrick Kato - 8 years ago

    How do you delete the beta profile from the watch?

  12. Landy (@Soydepr) - 8 years ago

    After install it rebooted and stuck on apple logo

    • srgmac - 8 years ago

      Now that I finally got it downloaded and updated, I’m in the same boat…Why does there have to be so many issues with Apple product updates? Do you have any idea how to get the watch to work normally again? BAH!

    • srgmac - 8 years ago

      I fixed mine…hard power off (hold crown + button for 10 seconds), then power back on — it took a LONG time stuck at the apple logo, like a good 2-3 minutes, then the watch finally finished booting.

  13. srgmac - 8 years ago

    This sucks, I can’t even update, it just keeps spinning on Checking for Update..

  14. mytawalbeh - 7 years ago

    Battery Life on watchOS 2 is HORRIBLE, decreased by 50%

    • staywhatyouare2 - 7 years ago

      I have had WatchOS 2.0 for a few days now and haven’t seen that much of a difference in battery life. Today, however, the battery drained really quickly. I am usually good about closing out my apps on my iPhone, so I double checked that just to be sure. The one app that was still running was the Apple Watch app. I’m guessing if it is open it is trying to communicate with your watch more often and therefore drains your battery quicker.

      I “force quit” the Apple Watch app and the battery life went back to normal. Maybe you had the Apple Watch open since you just upgraded? Try closing it and see if that helps. It definitely helped me.