Apple introduced a number of new features with watchOS 9. It made a number of small changes and additions to the Apple Watch that make it easier to use.

Some of the features and enhancements listed in this article may have gone unrecognized. watchOS 9 requires an Apple Watch Series 4 or later and an iPad Air 2 or later.

1. Get Email Notifications When Not Connected to iPhone

Users of the Apple watch can receive email notifications from third-party email accounts. You can be alert when an important message arrives when you're away from your phone in watchOS 9.

The third party account needs to be manually enabled for the option to work. To set it up, open the Watch app on your phone, tap My watch, tap Mail, and then turn on email notifications when not in use.

2. View Activity Rings During Workout

If you were doing an Apple Watch workout and wanted to see how it was affecting your activity rings, you had to leave the Workout app and switch to the Activity app.

If you scroll up with the Digital Crown you can see your activity rings in the display.

3. Follow Podcasts

For the first time in watchOS 9, you can follow and unfollow podcasts directly from your Apple Watch.

If you want to follow a show, tap it and then listen. If you search for a show and tap on it, you can find the same options.

4. Add Calendar Events on Your Wrist

You can now add events to your calendar even if you only view them from your phone. The ellipsis button is located in the corner of the screen when you stop scrolling.

If you want to make it a repeat event, you can add all the usual details on the next screen. Before you add the event, you can choose which calendar to add it to, add invitees, and get notifications.

5. Astronomy Watch Face

The watch face that is mirrored in watchOS 9 is Astronomy, and Apple added new wallpaper options to its Lock Screen settings.

A new star map and cloud data are included in Astronomy, which is a remake of the original Astronomy watch face. The main view can be the Earth, Moon, or Solar System. You can see the moon phase on another day if you turn the Digital Crown.

6. Retrace Your Steps With Backtrack

The Backtrack feature is available without an Apple Watch Ultra. If your Apple Watch Series 6 or later is running watchOS 9 you can use it to track your route and help you find your way back if you get lost.

The footprints icon is in the bottom-right of the screen. To retrace your steps, tap the pause icon in the bottom-right of the screen, then tap Retrace Steps.

A bouncing white arrow will point you in the right direction. When you reach your starting location, tap the footsteps icon and you will be able to remove your steps.

7. Change Watch Face Based on Focus

You can make a lot of changes to your focus. It's not just the Home Screen and Lock Screen that you can set, if your Apple Watch is running watchOS 9 you can use one of your Apple Watch faces to focus on something.

If you want to create a new focus, go to the settings on your phone. When your Focus is active, you can set any notification silence options for people and apps. You can choose a watch face from your gallery.

There is only one thing to it. When you enable the Focus on your iPhone, your Apple Watch face will be activated automatically on your wrist.

8. View Edited Messages

In watchOS 9, you can view any edits to a received message that have been made.

You can see the edits by tapping and holding the word Edited in blue. To make them disappear again, you can hide them.

9. Edit Reminders

The Reminders app used to only allow you to view or add reminders. Key details, including date and time, location, tags, and notes can be added. Reminders can be moved on your wrist.


10. Change Calendar View

You can switch to day, list, and week views in the Calendar app on Apple Watch.

You can choose from Up Next, Day, and List when you tap the ellipsis button in the corner of the screen. You can do it when you've made your choice.

11. Prioritize Background Running Apps in the Dock

The side button on the dock has been the place to go for quick access to your favorite apps. With watchOS 9 apps running in the background are prioritized over the rest of the apps in the dock, making it easier to come back to them.

It is functional by default, so you don't have to do anything to make it work.

12. Turn Off Cellular Data

You can turn off cellular data on the iPhone without losing the ability to make and receive calls. When your cellular service was enabled, the same option was not offered on cellular Apple Watches.

Apple has made it possible for you to control your watch's basic cellular and mobile data on your own. The settings can be found in your watch's settings app.

13. Kickboard Swim Detection and SWOLF Score

Apple Watches running watchOS 9 can now detect when a swimmer uses a kickboard during a pool swim workout.

One of the key swim-specific metrics is the SWOLF score. Your stroke count and time spent in the water are used to calculate SWOLF. The lower your SWOLF score is, the less efficient you are in the water.

14. Text Size Control

Apple has added a Text Size control to the Control Center in watchOS 9 so it's even easier to ensure Apple Watch apps that support DynamicType adjust to your preferred reading size


15. Dictation Auto-Punctuation

Since it converts your speech to text, it's so much quicker than typing on a small keyboard, which is why it's popular on Apple Watch. You don't have to say "question mark" or "comma" when you use the watchOS 9 feature.

If the feature isn't turned on by default, you can turn it on by going to settings.

16. Apple Watch Mirroring

The Apple Watch mirroring feature allows you to see and control your Apple watch from your phone. It's designed to make the watch experience more accessible for people with physical and motor disabilities, but it can also be useful if the screen is cracked or unresponsive.

To enable it, open the settings app on your phone, tap accessibility, then under physical and motor, tap Apple watch mirroring, and thenggling on the feature in the next screen.

A graphical representation of your Apple Watch will appear on your phone's screen, while a blue outline will appear around the face of your Apple Watch to tell you that it's connected to the internet. You'll be able to control your Apple Watch by using your finger, which will appear on your phone's screen. You can use the Digital Crown to mimic the actions you would take on your watch.

17. Quick Actions

With new Quick Actions, users with upper body limb differences can now do even more with a double-pinch gesture to respond to alert on their Apple Watch, including answer or end a phone call, take a photo, and play or pause. Quick actions can be used to snooze an alarm.

You can enable Quick Actions by opening the watch app on your phone. You can choose from one of the following options. They can be either full or minimal.

When you see an alert on your Apple Watch, you will be prompted to perform a quick action. When you pause a workout, a prompt will let you know that you can double-pinch to resume it.

18. Control Your iPhone With Apple Watch

You can control your phone with your Apple watch. You can control nearby devices on your watch. From the list, select your device.

Go to Home Screen, Open App Switcher, Open Notification Center, and Open Control Center are just a few of the buttons you'll see when you connect.

19. Find Your Car

The new compass app allows you to find the distance and direction between Waypoints. You can use the feature to locate your parked car.

You don't have to do anything to set up your car's features if it has a compatible device. If your car is connected to your phone, your Apple Watch will be able to recognize when you've parked and disconnected, and drop a waypoint where you're located.

You can find a blue waypoint on your compass dial by launching the compass app. The dial on the Digital Crown will show you how far away your car is. To find out more about it, tap the waypoint, then tap Select to see a pointer that will lead you to your car.

Adding a Parked Car Waypoint complication to your watch face will lead you to your vehicle if you rely on this feature frequently.

20. Add Favorite Timers

Why don't you like certain timer durations? You are able in watchOS 9.

Go to the Timer app and tap the star icon that appears after you swiped left on a recently used timer. The favorited timer will stay at the top of your timer list until you remove it by tapping the red X.