How to Install watchOS 8 on Apple Watch: What’s New [VIDEO]

CleanShot 2021 09 20 at 12 26 02

Apple today released iOS 15, iPadOS 15, watchOS 8 and tvOS 15 for download. After you install iOS 15, you’ll be able to update your Apple Watch to watchOS 8 as well.

If you’re new to Apple Watch, check out the following video below from Apple Support on how to install a software update.

Essentially, you’ll launch the Watch app on iPhone, then go to General > Software Update and then download and install watchOS 8. You will need to have your Apple Watch on its charger and have your iPhone nearby connected to Wi-Fi to get started.

YouTube video


Here are the watchOS 8 release notes, detailing new features, bug fixes and improvements:

Watch Faces

  • Portraits face uses segmentation data from portrait photos taken on iPhone to create an immersive, multi-layered face (Apple Watch Series 4 and later)
  • World Time face lets you track the time in 24 different time zones at once (Apple Watch Series 4 and later)


  • Status and controls for accessories in your home now appear at the top of the Home app
  • Quick views to see if accessories are on, have a low battery, require a software update, and more
  • Accessories and scenes dynamically appear based on the time of day and frequency of use
  • Dedicated camera room for viewing all available HomeKit camera feeds in one place, with support for multiple aspect ratios
  • Favourites area gives you access to the scenes and accessories that you use most


  • Home keys let you tap to unlock a supported home or apartment door lock
  • Hotel keys allow you to tap to unlock your room at participating hotels
  • Office keys allow you to tap to unlock your office doors for participating corporate offices
  • Car keys with Ultra Wideband on Apple Watch Series 6 let you unlock, lock, and start your supported vehicle as you approach
  • Remote keyless entry functions on your car keys allow you to lock, unlock, honk your horn, preheat your car, or open your trunk


  • New custom algorithms in the Workout app for Tai Chi and Pilates provide accurate tracking of calorie metrics
  • Automatic Outdoor Cycling workout detection sends a reminder to start the Workout app, giving you retroactive credit for exercise already started
  • Automatic pause and resume for Outdoor Cycling workouts
  • Improved accuracy of calorie metrics for Outdoor Cycling workouts while riding an e-bike
  • Users 13 and under can now track hiking workouts with more accurate metrics
  • Voice feedback announces workout milestones using the built-in speaker or connected Bluetooth device


  • Guided Meditations can help you practice meditation, featuring audio sessions on Apple Watch and video sessions on iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV that guide you through specific themes
  • Pilates workouts are now available, with new workouts every week that are designed to improve strength and flexibility
  • Support for Picture-in-Picture viewing on iPhone, iPad and Apple TV, so you can watch your workout while you also view other content in compatible apps
  • Expanded workout filters for Yoga, Strength, Core, and HIIT workouts, including whether equipment is required


  • Mindfulness app includes an enhanced Breathe experience along with a new Reflect session
  • Breathe sessions have tips that help add a physical connection to deep-breathing practices and a new animation to guide your session
  • Reflect sessions give you a simple idea to focus your thoughts, along with a visualization that shows the passing of a minute


  • Respiratory rate is measured by Apple Watch during sleep
  • Ability to review respiratory rate during sleep in the Health app and be notified if a trend has been detected


  • Ability to compose or reply to messages by using Scribble, dictation, and emoji all from the same screen
  • Ability to adjust dictated text by using the Digital Crown to scroll to where you want to edit
  • Support for #images in Messages allows you to search for a GIF or select one you’ve used recently


  • Redesigned Photos app allows you to view and manage your photo library from your wrist
  • Highlights from Memories and featured photos, in addition to your favorites, sync to Apple Watch with new content generated daily
  • Photos from synced Memories will be displayed in a mosaic-style grid, highlighting some of your best shots with a larger photo
  • Ability to share photos through Messages and Mail


  • Next-hour precipitation notifications alert you when rain or snow is about to start or stop
  • Severe weather notifications alert you about certain events including tornados, winter storms, flash floods, and more
  • Precipitation chart that visually depicts the intensity of the rain

Find My

  • Find Items app allows you to locate items with an attached AirTag and compatible third-party products with the Find My network
  • Find Devices app helps you locate your misplaced Apple devices, as well as devices owned by someone in your Family Sharing group
  • Find My separation alerts notify you if you leave your Apple device, AirTag, or compatible third-party item behind

Other features and improvements:

  • Focus lets you automatically filter notifications based on your current activity, such as fitness, sleep, gaming, reading, driving, work, or personal time
  • Apple Watch automatically aligns with any Focus that you set in iOS, iPadOS or macOS, so you can manage notifications and stay focused
  • Contacts app gives you the ability to access, share, and edit your contacts
  • Tips app provides collections of helpful hints and suggestions for how to best use your Apple Watch and its built-in apps
  • Redesigned Music app allows you to find and listen to music and radio all in one place
  • Ability to share songs, albums, and playlists in the Music app through Messages and Mail
  • Support for multiple timers, including Siri support for adding labels to timers
  • Cycle Tracking can now use heart rate data from Apple Watch to improve predictions
  • New Memoji stickers to send a shaka, a handwave, a lightbulb moment, and more
  • Over 40 outfit choices and up to three different colors to customize your Memoji stickers’ clothing and headwear
  • Real-time measurement of your headphone audio level in Control Center when listening to media
  • Ability to add transit cards in Wallet for Family Setup users in Hong Kong, Japan, and select cities in China mainland and US
  • Google account support for Calendar and Mail for Family Setup users
  • AssistiveTouch allows users with upper limb differences to answer calls, control an onscreen pointer, launch a menu of actions, and more, using hand gestures like a pinch or a clench
  • Additional larger text size option available in Settings
  • Support for the ECG app on Apple Watch Series 4 or later in Lithuania
  • Support for irregular heart rhythm notifications in Lithuania
P.S. - Like our news? Support the site: become a Patreon subscriber. Or shop with our Amazon link, or buy us a coffee! We use affiliate links when possible--thanks for supporting independent media.