watchOS 9 compatibility — Which Apple Watches are eligible?


WatchOS 9 is expected to be released for the Apple Watch Series 3.

image credits: apple

You may be curious about watchOS 9 compatibility as it is almost certain to be unveiled at the WWDC 2022 keynote speech later today. Is watchOS 9 compatible with any of the current Apple Watches?

Apple has earned a reputation for providing software updates for its older gadgets even years after they were first released. iOS 15 was released for the iPhone 6s in 2015, and the same software is available on the iPhone 13 series. The original and second-generation Apple Watches have been discontinued, however all models after 2017 have received annual watchOS updates.


However, it’s possible that some watchOS 9 features will be tailored for the speculated Apple Watch 8 (watchOS 8 and the Apple Watch 7) before the latest software is released for earlier Apple Watch models. However, one model in particular, the Apple Watch 3, may be excluded.

WatchOS 9 compatibility will go back as long as possible, but we won’t know just how far until WWDC 2022 on June 6. The watchOS 9 announcements will be made live at the WWDC 2022 live stream, so make sure you know how to watch it. Here’s what we may expect from watchOS 9 compatibility in the meanwhile.

watchOS 9 compatibility — what we expect

On the basis of prior watchOS releases, we know which Apple Watch models will be eligible for an upgrade. There’s no question that the Apple Device 7 will receive an update; in fact, that’s the watch we’ll use to test the watchOS 9 beta. On top of all that, it’s the greatest smartwatch on the market at the moment.


We’d estimate that all Apple Watch models prior to the Apple Watch 4 will be updated to watchOS 9 at some point. This is a very similar experience if you already know how to use the Apple Watch. Apple Watch 5’s always on display is the only significant feature of the new Apple Watch 7 sizes.

We expect the following Apple Watch models to be compatible with watchOS 9:

  • Apple Watch Series 7
  • Apple Watch Series 6
  • Apple Watch SE
  • Apple Watch Series 5
  • Apple Watch Series 4

watchOS 9 — what about Apple Watch 3?

Among the Apple Watch devices we expect to be compatible with watchOS 9, you’ll notice we left out the Apple Watch 3. In addition to being the greatest Apple Watch for those looking to spend under $200, the third-generation smartwatch is also one of the top budget smartwatches.


What we don’t understand is the continued existence of the Apple Watch 3. Except for when it receives some of the finest Apple Watch deals over the holidays, it’s a bit antiquated these days. It is no longer available in an LTE form, and its large bezels make it look out of place next to the Series 7.

The biggest uncertainty surrounding Apple’s wearable announcements at WWDC is whether the company will discontinue support for the Apple Watch 3 software this year. A 5-year-old smartwatch, on the other hand, is going to run out of life support at some point. On the other hand, losing support for people who purchased a Series 3 this year would be unfair.

We believe the latter aspect justifies allowing the Apple Watch 3 to run watchOS 9 compatibility. Some functionalities may not operate with the new Series 3 model, though. If Apple discontinues sales of the Apple Watch 3 later this year, watchOS 9 may be the last major software update for the device.


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