watchOS 3 hands on

Like iOS 10, tvOS 10 and macOS Sierra, watchOS 3 is a major update that pushes Apple’s wearable platform forward. You’ll find that, even in this early beta, the experience is much better than previous versions of watchOS.

Apple has worked hard to improve the performance of Apple Watch apps, and it shows. It has also striven to improve the overall usability of the Apple Watch by implementing several new interface changes.

Whereas watchOS 2 laid some of the foundations for this update, overall I believe the consensus among users regarding that release was one of disappointment. watchOS 3, on the other hand, seems like it provides enough new features and performance improvements to significantly enhance the usability of the Apple Watch.

Have a look at our hands-on video walkthrough as we showcase watchOS 3’s snappy performance, its new Control Center feature, fast watch face switching, improved messaging app with scribble keyboard, and more.

Video walkthrough

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Performance & Control

  • Faster performance and navigation
  • New application loading view when launching apps on watchOS
  • Control Center
  • Side button invokes dock instead of friends list


  • New Music complication available on watch faces
  • Use Time Travel to see what music you played last

Watch Faces

  • New Apple Watch faces available: Activity Digital, Activity Analog, Numerals, Minnie Mouse
  • New Face Gallery
  • Quickly switching between watch faces


  • New small app shortcut complications for Find My Friends, Heart rate, Home, Mail, Maps, Messages, Music, Phone, Reminders, Remote, Stocks, Weather Conditions and Workout.
  • Two individual complications can now be added to the Timelapse watch face

New apps

  • New Reminders app
  • New Find My Friends app
  • Breathe app
  • Heart rate Standalone app
  • Home app

App updates

  • Messages app updates
  • Activity Sharing
  • Activity app optimized for wheelchair use
  • View five activity metrics at once and highlight most important metric
  • Apple watch auto pauses/resumes when you stop workouts


  • New Wake screen to show last app options setting
  • Screenshots disabled by default


  • Medical ID on power off screen

Coming soon

  • Auto unlock with macOS

It’s an exciting time to be an Apple Watch owner. watchOS 3 is a big upgrade across the board, and even in its early beta stages, it’s quite clear that Apple is starting to refine its wearable OS into a much more usable and enjoyable product.

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About the Author

Jeff Benjamin

Jeff produces videos, walkthroughs, how-tos, written tutorials and reviews. He takes pride in being able to explain things in a simple, clear and concise manner.