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Apple Wiki

watchOS 3 is the third major release of watchOS for the Apple Watch series developed and distributed by Apple Inc. It was announced at the 2016 Worldwide Developers Conference alongside iOS 10tvOS 10 and macOS Sierra.

Product history[]

watchOS 3 is derived from iOS 10; both were announced on June 13, 2016 during the keynote address at WWDC 2016, when it became available to developers. It was released to the public on September 13, 2016.

Supported models[]

Release history[]

Obsolete / unsupported   Discontinued   Current   Beta  
watchOS 3.x releases[1]
iOS version
based on
Build Release date Features

beta 3

beta 3


July 18, 2016 (2016-07-18)




September 13, 2016 (2016-09-13)

Initial Release on Apple Watch Series 1 (Dual-Core) and Apple Watch Series 2 (Dual-Core)


  • Favorite apps in Dock
  • Apps in Dock updates with up-to-date information on launch
  • Dock can contain up to 10 apps
  • Simple switch to different watch face with a swipe
  • Control Center can be toggled with a swipe up

New Watch faces

  • Minnie Mouse face
  • Activity faces
  • Numerals faces
  • Complications support for Photo, Photo Album, Timelapse, and Motion faces
  • New Complications: Workout, Music, and Messages, etc.
  • Face Gallery in Apple Watch app on iPhone
  • 3rd-party Complications support


  • Share and compare activity rings
  • Activity progress notifications for a person you have shared your activity progress with
  • Smart replies for above notifications
  • New "Sharing" tab on Activity app on iPhone


  • Quick start
  • Customizable metrics view
  • Gestures support for pausing, resuming, or marking segments
  • Support for "Other" workouts not listed in built-in workout types
  • Auto-pause in running workouts for inactivity
  • Siri support
  • Route maps with a speed indicator (Outdoor workouts only)

For Wheelchairs

  • Activity rings support for people using a wheelchair
  • Pushes now contribute to the move ring
  • Stand ring and "Time to Stand" notification substituted with Roll ring and "Time to Roll" notification
  • Outdoor Run or Walk pace workouts

Breathe app

  • New app for breathing sessions
  • Visualization and haptics indicate when to inhale or exhale
  • Adjustments for session length and amount of breaths per minute
  • Summary with heart rate
  • "Time to Breathe" notifications
  • Weekly Summary


  • Full-screen effects for celebrations
  • Tap to quick reply
  • Animations for handwritten messages
  • Send built-in or 3rd party stickers
  • Ability to view secret messages
  • Replies now available in Messages and Mail notifications
  • New and redesigned emojis


  • Write directly on Apple Watch and it will automatically convert to text
  • Scroll through predictions with Digital Crown
  • Available in English, Simplified Chinese, and Traditional Chinese

Emergency SOS

  • You can now call emergency services by pressing and holding the side button
  • Your SOS contacts will be notified with your location
  • You can also display your Medical ID stored on your Watch
  • Emergency numbers are automatically adjusted per your location


  • New app to control accessories through HomeKit
  • You can now control all your accessories directly from your wrist
  • IP camera support: Watch live video with controls and notifications directly on your Watch


  • New Reminders app
  • New Find My Friends app
  • Apple Pay support in 3rd-party apps
  • New controls in the Calendar app: You can now delete events or switch calendars
  • FaceTime audio calls support
  • Search for Settings on Apple Watch app on iPhone
  • New remote camera controls: Flash, Live Photos, HDR, Zoom, Burst, and facing
  • New Siri languages: Spanish (Chile), Cantonese, English (Ireland), English (South Africa)




October 24, 2016 (2016-10-24)

  • Bubbles and fullscreen effects on Messages can now be replayed
  • Reduce Motion of Messages effects
  • Resolved: "Timer complete" notification being delivered twice
  • Resolved: Apple Watch Series 2 not fully charged
  • Resolved: Disappeared Activity rings on watch faces
  • Resolved: Force Touch options not appearing in 3rd-party apps




December 12, 2016 (2016-12-12)

Update withdrawn due to reports of Apple Watches no longer working after the update.[2]




January 23, 2017 (2017-01-23)

  • Resolved: Bricking Apple Watches after updating to watchOS 3.1.1
  • Includes fixes from watchOS 3.1.1, including...
    • Resolved: Contact names not appearing in notifications and the Messages app
    • Resolved: Unable to respond notifications
    • Resolved: Stocks Complication not updating on watch faces
    • Resolved: Activity rings not displaying on Activity watch faces
    • Resolved: Dials of Analog watch faces not displaying after changing the temperature unit in the Weather app
    • Resolved: Maps app still launching after navigation has ended
    • Resolved: Month view of Calendars app showing incorrect dates




March 27, 2017 (2017-03-27)

  • Siri now works with 3rd-party apps with features including...
    • Start a workout
    • Send messages
    • Make payments
    • Book rides
  • Theater Mode
  • New Scribble languages: French, Spanish, Italian
  • Sync progress for music playlists is now displayed in the Apple Watch app on iPhone




May 15, 2017 (2017-05-15)

  • Bug fixes.




July 19, 2017 (2017-07-19)


  1. Download watchOS 3.0 – 3.2.3 Information. Apple Inc. (2017-07-19).
  2. Apple has temporarily pulled the watchOS 3.1.1 update due to reports of it bricking devices. 9to5Mac (December 14, 2016). Retrieved on December 14, 2016.

External links[]

Spacer 100x100   Apple Watch
Apple Watch (original) · Series 1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · SE (1st) · 6 · 7 · 8 · SE (2nd) · Ultra
  Apple Watch Edition  |  Apple Watch Hermes  |  Apple Watch Nike+  |  Apple Watch Sport
Apple Watch bands and cases · faces   |   watchOS: 1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · 6 · 7 · 8 · 9
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