Apple is about to release the latest version of the WatchOS operating system, WatchOS 3, to the public.

The software, which is meant for Apple Watch, debuted at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in June. It's a significant update that brings new apps, new watch faces, a new dock, new activity sharing, a new Breathe app, and a slew of navigation and performance improvements, among other things. Apple said "it's going to feel like a whole new watch". Here's everything we know so far about WatchOS 3.

Apple released WatchOS 3 to developers on 13 June. Since then, it has seeded six betas and the golden master version. The final version will be made available to the public on 13 September.

Like all of Apple's software updates, WatchOS 3 will be available for free.

Your Apple Watch must be at least 50-per cent charged and connected to the magnetic charger. Once it is, follow these steps:

  • Connect your iPhone to Wi-Fi
  • Launch the Apple Watch app on your iPhone
  • Tap the My Watch tab
  • Tap General > Software Update > Download and Install
  • Enter your iPhone Passcode
  • Tap Agree to the Terms and Conditions
  • Tap Install on your iPhone and/or your Apple Watch

Dock: The Apple Watch's side button, which in WatchOS 2 would surface a list of contacts when pressed, now brings up a dedicated Dock that has been designed to surface your favourite apps and recently used apps. Favourites in the new Dock are kept in Apple Watch's memory and can open seven-times faster than a standard Apple Watch app. Also, the new Dock is customisable and supports up to 10 apps. It's replacing the old Glances view, too, which you previously had to swipe up on a watch face to access (if you do that gesture now, you'll see a new Control Center). Because it's replacing Glances, it is used a lot like Glances. So, when swiping left and right through apps, you'll see full information from an app without actually having to launch it.

Faces: There are three new watch faces in watchOS 3: Minnie Mouse (similar to Mickey Mouse face, except the dress is customisable to match Apple Watch bands), Activity (shows a larger view of your daily activity rings at a glance and can be set to an analog clock, a digital clock, or a chronograph), and Numerals (displays a single number with watch hands; the number changes and rotates as time passes). Also, with WatchOS 3, you have to swipe left or right on a face to swap between watch faces.

SOS: A new SOS feature, which is activated by holding down the side button on the Apple Watch for three seconds, will auto-call emergency services over Wi-Fi or an iPhone connection. It works everywhere in the world, detects your location, and calls the relevant number for you. Once the emergency call has been placed, Apple Watch will notify your emergency contacts with a map of your location. It also supports Medical ID.

Activity Sharing: A new Activity Sharing feature lets friends and family share their activity and workout information with each other. You can access it by swiping right on the Activity rings view of the Activity app. In this view, you'll see the activity rings of selected friends, and you can sort by metrics like steps, exercise minutes, and workouts. You'll also see built-in messaging options.

Workouts: Developers can now make their third-party workout apps run in the background of Apple Watch. That means, with just the raise of a wrist, you can see real-time workout metrics from these apps. Developers will also have access to the heart-rate sensor and gyroscope. Furthermore, Apple said that Apple Watch can now detect when a runner stops and pauses the workout until running resumes. There's also a new option for naming "Other" workouts not listed in the app. And finally, if you press the Digital Crown and the side button during a workout, Apple Watch will pause a workout. To end a workout, swipe right (instead of using force touch).

Complications: Apple said complications can now be added to watch faces that didn't support them in watchOS 2, such as Photo, Timelapse, Motion, and Extra Large, and there are new complications available through new built-in apps, including Breathe and Reminders, which can be added to any watch face that supports complications. Some existing watch faces can also now display more complications at one time.

Breathe app: An all-new app called Breathe is available for Apple Watch. It guides you through deep breathing techniques. According to Apple, Breathe can help Apple Watch wearers incorporate meditation and breathing exercises into their daily routines. Breathing exercises can be done for one to five minutes. Apple Watch also also offers "Breathe" reminders, like stand reminders.

Home app: With iOS 10 for iPhone, Apple has given iOS users a new Home app for controlling all their HomeKit-enabled devices. There's also a Home app for Apple Watch, with quick-access controls for doing things like turning lights on/off or adjusting the thermostat.

Reminders app: Apple Watch now has a Reminder app for to-do lists. It works just like the app for iPhone.

Find My Friends app: Apple Watch now has a Find My Friends app for locating friends and family. It works just like the app for iPhone.

Heart Rate app: A new Heart Rate app on the Apple Watch replaces Heart Rate Glance (because Glances has been replaced by the Dock).

Find My Apple Watch: You can now get the location of your Apple Watch using the Find My iPhone app.

Siri: Siri has a new interface. Also, you'll feel a haptic tap when Siri has stopped listening, and Siri now lets you know when she is looking up information by saying "Hang on..." or "Hold on...".


Wheelchair setting: A new Wheelchair setting customises activity options for wheelchair users. This allows Apple Watch to accurately add wheelchair pushes to all-day calorie goals. There are also wheelchair workouts, and the "time to stand" reminder is called "time to roll".

Continuity: Apple Watch can now be used to unlock a password-protected Mac, thanks to new Continuity functionality. Unlocking is done through proximity, meaning a Mac owner just needs to be near their watch for the feature to work.

Scribble: The Messages app now includes a Scribble feature that lets you write replies on the Apple Watch face using your finger.

Face Gallery: The Face Gallery in the Apple Watch app for iPhone makes it easier to customise watch faces with colours and complications.

Apple Pay: Apple Pay is now available within apps on Apple Watch, allowing you to make in-app purchases directly on your watch. Developers can also build Apple Pay into their watch apps.

Digital zooming: You can now use the Digital Crown to control the iPhone's digital zooming capabilities.

Disable screenshots: In order to disable screenshots, press the the Digital Crown and Side Button at the same time.

Notifications: When you dismiss a notification now, you'll go back to the watch face instead of the Notification Center.

Check out Apple's "What's new in WatchOS 3?" video on this Apple Developer's page for more details.