Apple Watch Series 9 leak shows off huge redesign for homescreen

Apple Watch Series 8 shown on wrist
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Apple's upcoming watchOS 10 software update could overhaul the Apple Watch's homescreen by adding folders to organize your apps, according to leaker @analyst941. If true, this sorely needed redesign would make navigating the Watch's homescreen on the fly much easier. 

If Apple sticks to the status quo, we'll probably see its next-generation smartwatch, the Apple Watch Series 9, and updated watchOS 10 launch sometime this fall. But we're likely to get our first peek at its latest smartwatch operating system at WWDC 2023 in June alongside other Apple announcements about iOS 17 and the Apple AR/VR headset

Since the first Apple Watch, navigating your apps from the homescreen has been a bit of a pain. The default "honeycomb" view lays out all your apps in a hexagonal grid with only their circular icons to go off of. Apple's watchOS 4 added the option to toggle between this layout (now called Grid View) and List View, which sorts apps alphabetically. But with no way to rearrange the list and the absence of a search box,  trying to find apps quickly still takes quite a bit of a scroll. 

With watchOS 10, that could change. According to leaker @analyst941, "watchOS will have a redesigned homescreen layout/grid. Heavy details SOON. But it’s going to be much easier to use, move & act more familiar to iOS, including folders."

“Unsure if it will be a third option or replace grid as default," they added. They also shared unofficial renders showing off how the updated interface with folders would look. 

What will the new Apple Watch homescreen look like?

watchOS 10 homescreen leak

(Image credit: @analyst941)

Of course, we'll have to take this leak with a grain of salt since Apple has confirmed very few details about its next-gen smartwatch. But the folders will work “very reminiscent of the iOS 4-6 days,” according to the leaker. 

Back then, iPhone folders could only hold up to 12 apps. That functionality was significantly expanded to raise that ceiling with iOS 7. 

The render, which the leaker said is based on what they've been told, shows four rows of three icons. It's unclear if the icons will continue to be round or whether the spacing between apps could change. 

The current software, watchOS 9, is supported from Apple Watch Series 4 onward. While it's possible watchOS 10 will drop one of these from the list, Apple could push out the update to the same models. 

If history serves, after its debut at WWDC 2023, Apple will likely roll out watchOS 10 for a beta testing period followed by a Fall launch alongside its next-gen smartwatch.

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Alyse Stanley
News Editor

Alyse Stanley is a news editor at Tom’s Guide overseeing weekend coverage and writing about the latest in tech, gaming and entertainment. Prior to joining Tom’s Guide, Alyse worked as an editor for the Washington Post’s sunsetted video game section, Launcher. She previously led Gizmodo’s weekend news desk, where she covered breaking tech news — everything from the latest spec rumors and gadget launches to social media policy and cybersecurity threats.  She has also written game reviews and features as a freelance reporter for outlets like Polygon, Unwinnable, and Rock, Paper, Shotgun. She’s a big fan of horror movies, cartoons, and miniature painting.