You don’t need to splurge on an Apple Watch Series 4 to take advantage of some of the new features Apple talked up at last week's fall launch event. Apple just pushed out watchOS 5 as an over-the-air update today (Sept. 17), and it will transform the way you use your watch.
The upgrade is packed with major additions and minor tweaks that will make you feel like you have a brand new watch, even if you’re still on Series 1. (The original Series 0 Apple Watch released in 2015 doesn’t support watchOS 5, so you’ll have to chug along on watchOS 4 or upgrade to a new device.)
A new Walkie-Talkie feature turns your watch into a, well, Walkie-Talkie. You can communicate by voice in real-time with trusted contacts who accept your Walkie-Talkie request.
Another big watchOS 5 change is support for offline playlists and podcasts. That means third-party music-streaming apps such as Spotify will be able to allow offline playlist downloads directly to the watch. You can also listen to podcasts directly from the watch while using other apps, a technical hurdle that Apple resolved in watchOS 5.
And, of course, there are major health and fitness additions coming in the software update. The Apple Watch will finally enable automatic exercise-tracking, which will let you track multiple types of workouts without remembering to launch workout mode. A new one-on-one fitness challenge feature brings a Fitbit favorite to the watch.
How to Install watchOS 5
1. Open the Watch app on your iPhone.
2. Scroll down to General.
3. Tap Software Update. If watchOS 5 has been pushed to your device, you can start downloading it now.
4. Make sure your watch is on its charger plugged into the wall and either connected to a Wi-Fi network or within Bluetooth range of your iPhone.