This watchOS 10 feature could transform the way you use your Apple Watch

Apple Watch Ultra on wrist
(Image credit: Future)

watchOS 10 is set to introduce a slew of changes to the Apple Watch experience, but there’s one new experience included in the new software update that could make Apple’s smartwatch a more autonomous device. 

As part of iOS 17 and watchOS 10, the FaceTime app will support video voicemails. Now, when you call someone on FaceTime and they pick up your call, you’ll have the option to leave them a video voicemail. This way, if you had a story to tell, or wanted to show someone what you’re seeing, it’ll be there when they’re ready to watch.

While many might see this as more of an iPhone feature, video voicemails are viewable on watchOS 10 supported devices, such as the Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch Ultra and older watch models.  

You could already view videos sent over text or saved in your Photos app on your Apple Watch, but video voicemails have a sense of real-time urgency you wouldn’t necessarily associate with a smartwatch (even one of the best smartwatches, like the Apple Watch.)

It’s one step removed from actually being able to FaceTime from your wrist. Think about it, if you have an Apple Watch connected to a wireless carrier, you could carry out a decent sum of your daily communications all from your Apple Watch. I mean, I know not everyone is as avid a FaceTime user as I am, but it is one of the reasons I missed my iPhone when I replaced it with an Apple Watch Ultra.

Of course, it would be more compelling if you could actually have video FaceTime calls on the Apple Watch. Currently, you can answer a FaceTime video request on your watch, but it’ll default to do a voice-only call. Unless you have a gadget like the $200 WristCam Apple Watch camera, you can’t video chat someone with your smartwatch.

But who’s to say a future Apple Watch won’t have a built-in camera? Being able to watch recorded FaceTime messages on your wrist seems like a step in the right direction, if making the Apple Watch experience more full-featured is the goal.

You can already pay for train rides, scan plane tickets, pair to Bluetooth earbuds, control smart home devices, follow map directions, trade stocks, play games, text and call and much more on the Apple Watch. And with watchOS 10, there are fewer functions than ever that an iPhone does that an Apple Watch can't.

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Kate Kozuch

Kate Kozuch is the managing editor of social and video at Tom’s Guide. She covers smartwatches, TVs and audio devices, too. Kate appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account, which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her taking up a new sport, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.