WatchOS 4 officially became available to all Apple Watch owners last week even if its release was overshadowed by the hype surrounding the Series 3 Apple Watch. The newest software update for Apple’s wearable brings a decent amount of change, but it’s not enough to make the Apple Watch feel like an entirely new machine. Some of the biggest new additions in watchOS 4 include a new vertical Dock, new Siri and Toy Story watch faces, a slew of new heart rate monitor calculations, and new Music and News apps.
While watchOS 4 is available for all Apple Watch models, I primarily tested it on an Apple Watch Series 2. Though we also spent time trying the new Series 3 Watch, I wanted to see how much of an impact watchOS 4 has for those who stick with an existing Apple Watch rather than upgrading to the newest model. And no matter which version of the Apple Watch you have, they’ll all feel similar running watchOS 4.
Dock and interface
You won’t notice many differences on watchOS 4 when first booting it up on your Apple Watch. Your preferred watch face fills the entire display. Swiping down from the top opens the notification drawer, swiping left or right changes the watch face, and swiping up from the bottom opens the Control Center. The Control Center now has a new feature, the flashlight switch, and it has three controls: one that puts a bright white rectangle on the display, one with a flashing white rectangle, and the last with a bright red rectangle. Apple explained the flashing option could be useful when you’re doing outdoor activities at night like walking the dog or running. Reflective clothing makes it easier for cars to see you in the dark, and the flashing option can almost act as a similar warning to surrounding vehicles if you’re not wearing that kind of clothing.