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watchOS 11: Release Date, Features, and Compatibility Overview

Over the past decade, Apple Watches have evolved significantly from being just a trendy gadget to becoming an indispensable health and fitness tool.

Amid talks of the anticipated Apple Watch X, it’s worth pondering over the future of its software. After the transformative watchOS 10 in 2023, will watchOS 11 receive a smaller update this year?

Here’s what we know about watchOS 11: its expected features, release timeline, and our wish list.

In a nutshell:

  • What: Next major Apple Watch software
  • When: Probably September
  • Supported Watches: Likely Series 5 onwards

Anticipated Release Date for watchOS 11

Traditionally, Apple unveils the features of its upcoming software at the Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC). This annual event usually kicks off in early June, typically on a Monday.

During this keynote, Apple outlines what’s in store for watchOS, iOS, iPadOS, and macOS for the rest of the year. While the dates for WWDC 24 haven’t been officially announced yet (usually revealed around March), history suggests it could start on either June 3rd or June 10th.

Following the conference, public and developer betas are usually rolled out around a month later in July. Then, in September, coinciding with the launch of new Apple Watch and iPhone models, the final software build is released.

Although the specific date for the September announcement remains undisclosed, it typically falls within the first or second week of the month. Soon after, compatible devices receive the software update, potentially bringing watchOS 11 to supported Apple Watch models as early as September 9th.

watchOS 11: What We Know So Far

Speculation and leaks regarding watchOS 11 remain scarce, which isn’t surprising given the early stage. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman mentioned a brief delay in work on watchOS 11 and other major software builds at the end of 2023, potentially explaining the lack of updates.

However, there’s chatter about Apple integrating a Large Language Model into iOS 18, which could enhance Siri’s capabilities and keep up with AI advancements. If true, this could extend to watchOS 11, making Apple’s smartwatch more adept at handling information and apps with minimal user input.

Additionally, Apple has confirmed RCS support, likely to debut with iOS 18 by the end of 2024. If this includes the iPhone in September, the feature will probably extend to the Apple Watch with watchOS 11.

Regarding compatibility, there are no leaks yet indicating which Apple Watch models might lose support. However, it’s reasonable to speculate that the Series 4 could be phased out, while the Series 5 and newer models would likely support the update. We’ll keep this information updated as more news and rumors about watchOS 11 emerge.

watchOS 11: Release Date, Features, and Compatibility Overview

Desired Features for watchOS 11

Speculation on watchOS 11 is sparse, but there are several features we hope to see in the next major Apple Watch software update.

  1. Recovery Ring: Adding a fourth ring, focusing on recovery or rest days, could enhance the activity tracking experience.
  2. Steps Accessibility: Making steps more visible and accessible, perhaps as a complication on Watch Faces, would benefit users striving for daily step goals.
  3. Enhanced Sleep Tracking: Improving sleep tracking capabilities to provide deeper insights into overall fitness and recovery needs, similar to Garmin’s Body Battery or Fitbit’s Daily Readiness Score.
  4. Flexible Watch Faces: While third-party Watch Faces may be unlikely, enhancing flexibility within existing faces by allowing more customizations and useful complications would be appreciated.
  5. Programmable Side Button: Although it may be a long shot, a programmable side button could offer quick access to workouts or apps, improving user experience.

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