To install watchOS 8, developers will need to download the configuration profile from the Apple Developer Center. Once installed, watchOS 8 can be downloaded through the dedicated Apple Watch app on the iPhone by going to General > Software update.
To update to new software, an Apple Watch needs to have 50 percent battery life, it must be placed on the charger, and it needs to be in range of the iPhone. It’s not recommended to install watchOS 8 on a main Apple Watch as the software may be unstable at this early date.
watchOS 8 has several new features that are extensions of new features introduced in iOS 15. There are improvements to Wallet that allow it to hold keys for unlocking hotel, car, and home doors, plus Apple will let U.S. users add their IDs to Wallet later this year.
Apple overhauled the Home app, and for the Workout app, there are new Tai Chi and Pilates workout types, and the Breathe app has been renamed to Mindfulness thanks to a new Reflect session that invites users to get into a positive state of mind. When sleeping, the Apple Watch now measures respiratory rate.
Focus mode from iOS 15 syncs to the watch so users can stay on task, and in the Messages app, Scribble, dictation, and emojis can be combined within the same message, making it easier to communicate. Dictated text can be edited, and GIFs can be sent right from the watch.
There’s a new Portrait watch face, and the Photos app has been updated with support for Memories and Featured Photos. A new Find My app lets items be located right on the wrist, and there are also new updates for Music, Weather, Timers, and more, along with a new Contacts app.