10 Best Hidden watchOS 10 Features You Should Know About

By Dave Johnson - Executive Editor
6 Min Read

Here are some watchOS 10 features you might have heard about.

Five Apple Watch devices show features in watchOS 10, including a new Smart Stack and two additional watch faces.  

With watchOS 10, Apple introduced a number of headline new features like redesigned apps, new watch faces, new Smart Stack, and more. But it also made a number of smaller yet notable changes and additions that make your Apple Watch more functional and convenient to use.

In this article, we’ve listed 10 best hidden watchOS 10 features and enhancements, some of which may have gone under your radar. Bear in mind that ‌watchOS 10‌ requires Apple Watch Series 4 or later and an iPhone running iOS 17.

Best watchOS 10 hidden features

Here are some watchOS 10 hidden features you might not have heard about.

1. Redesigned interface

With watchOS 10, redesigned apps provide more information at a glance, and there are new ways to navigate and quickly access content.

The home screen uses machine learning to show you relevant information at the right time of day. Early in the morning? You get meetings and weather information, while later on, you’ll be served other (unspecified) information, probably a traffic report or something similar. Something like a timer will jump to the top of the list when it’s active.

2. Smart Stack

A new Smart Stack contains widgets that display timely information that adapts to the user’s context and can be revealed with a simple turn of the Digital Crown from any watch face. For example, at the beginning of the day, Weather will show the forecast, or, when traveling, the Smart Stack will show boarding passes from Wallet. Calendar and Reminders will reshuffle to the top to display upcoming meetings or tasks, and apps that are running, such as Podcasts, will also move up so they are readily available. Smart Stack also enables users to enjoy a beautiful watch face, like Portraits, while still offering a way to quickly access information they care about.

Apple Watch Series 8 shows the new Smart Stack with currently playing music displayed on top.

3. Two new watch faces

New Watch Faces
watchOS 10 introduces two new artistic and joyful watch faces: Palette and Snoopy. The Palette face depicts time in a wide variety of colors using three distinct overlapping layers, and as the time changes, the colors on the display also shift.

Apple Watch Series 8 shows the new Palette watch face in iris.

Additionally, the beloved comic strip Peanuts comes to life on Apple Watch with a new watch face featuring Snoopy and Woodstock. The characters interact and play with the watch hands, react to the weather conditions in the area, or even get active when the user does a workout.

Apple Watch Series 8 shows the new Palette watch face in emerald.

4. Cycling

Apple Watch is a great device for cyclists, with features including automatic Workout reminders, calorimetry for e-biking, and Fall Detection. watchOS 10 takes this popular activity even further with advanced new metrics, views, and experiences.

When a cycling workout is started from Apple Watch in watchOS 10, it will automatically show up as a Live Activity on iPhone and, when tapped, will utilize the full screen. Workout Views, such as Heart Rate Zones, Elevation, Race Route, Custom Workouts, and a new Cycling Speed view, have been optimized for the display size of iPhone, which can be mounted to a bike for convenient, easy viewing during a ride.

An Apple Watch user is shown riding a bicycle with Apple Watch on their wrist and iPhone mounted to the bike’s handlebars.

Apple Watch can now automatically connect to Bluetooth-enabled cycling accessories, such as power meters, speed sensors, and cadence sensors. This enables brand-new metrics, including cycling power (watts) and cadence (RPM), and additional Workout Views, including Power Zones. Bluetooth connection is supported for Indoor and Outdoor cycling workouts, as well as GymKit.

New algorithms combining sensor data from Apple Watch and connected power meters can estimate Functional Threshold Power (FTP), the highest level of cycling intensity that a rider could theoretically maintain for an hour. Using FTP, Apple Watch calculates personalized Power Zones, used to easily see the current zone and track how long is spent in each, which is an effective and popular way of improving performance.

5. Hiking

The Compass app on Apple Watch is a helpful tool for exploring the great outdoors. With watchOS 10, Compass automatically generates two new waypoints: A Last Cellular Connection Waypoint will estimate the last place with cellular reception, which may be useful for checking messages or making a call. In case of emergencies, a Last Emergency Call Waypoint will estimate where on the route their device had the last connection to any available carrier’s network so that an emergency call can be made.

When preparing routes, a new Elevation view uses altimeter data, offering a three-dimensional view of saved waypoints. And starting in the U.S., Apple Maps displays a new topographic map featuring contour lines, hill shading, elevation details, and points of interest. Users can also search for nearby trails and trailheads, with place cards that include detailed information, like trail length, type, and difficulty.

6. Mental Health monitoring

Mental health is as important as physical health, and research shows that reflecting on state of mind can help build emotional awareness and resilience. With the Mindfulness app in watchOS 10, users can discreetly and conveniently log their momentary emotions and daily moods. Users can turn the Digital Crown to scroll through engaging, multidimensional shapes to choose how they are feeling, select what is having the biggest impact on them, and describe their feelings.

In the Health app in iOS 17 and iPadOS 17, users can see valuable insights to identify what might be contributing to their state of mind — whether it’s associations or lifestyle factors, like sleep or exercise. Additionally, depression and anxiety assessments often used in clinics are now easily accessible in the Health app and can help users determine their risk level, connect to resources available in their region, and create a PDF to share with their doctor.

7. Daylight Sensitivity

Apple is concerned about children developing myopia, or near-sightedness, and says that it’s less likely to develop if children spend at least 80 minutes or more in daylight. Apple Watch can now measure the time spent outside using the ambient light sensor, and parents can monitor it in the Health app. It comes as Screen Distance is being used across other devices to help people avoid holding their iPhones and iPads too close, which can be another cause of issues while children are developing, apparently.

Time spent in daylight can provide additional benefits to physical and mental health for all ages. And children who do not have their own iPhone can use Family Setup to pair their Apple Watch to their parent’s iPhone, giving parents visibility into the amount of time their kids are spending in daylight with Health Sharing.

The new Screen Distance feature uses the same TrueDepth camera that powers Face ID in iPad and iPhone to encourage users to move their device farther away after holding it closer than 12 inches for an extended period of time.

When a device is locked with a passcode, Touch ID, or Face ID, all Health app data, including mental health and vision health data, is encrypted.

8. Widgets

Apple has revamped and improved its old Glances system into all-new widgets, which sit at the forefront of the watchOS 10 design ethos. The aim is to allow you to open up your watch and use it instantly by scrolling through your favorite widgets with the Digital Crown rather than picking through the polka-dot Where’s Waldo? cloud of apps.

Widgets enable you to access some of your most-often functionalities such as weather (which got a big redesign), workout metrics, stock tickers, timers and more. The timer, for example, can be activated via the Complications widget with a simple press of the crown, and then you can check the timer simply by scrolling up from your watch face.

9. Enterprise

Apple Watch offers enterprise customers features to enhance productivity and safety in the office or in the field, such as hands-free communication and responding to notifications on the go, or Fall Detection on a job site. watchOS 10 introduces support for Mobile Device Management (MDM), enabling enterprise customers to remotely and centrally install apps and configure accounts on a fleet of devices, with features such as passcode enforcement, and configuring Wi-Fi and VPN settings. With this update, Apple Watch can further help improve employee wellness, productivity and health, and safety monitoring.

10. APIs for Workout App Developers

watchOS 10 includes new APIs for workout app developers that will allow them to create compelling new experiences. The powerful motion sensors on both Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Ultra can detect rapid changes in velocity and acceleration, such as when swinging a golf club or a tennis racket. Now, developers will have access to this high-frequency motion data, so apps like SwingVision can analyze serve pronation, which is the twisting motion of the forearm, wrist, and hand, and Golfshot can detect small wrist movements to refine a golf swing.

watchOS 10 supported devices

The big news here is that Apple is dropping support for the Apple Watch Series 3. The 2018 model will no longer get updates and will miss out on watchOS 10. If you have an Apple Watch Series 4 or above paired with iPhone Xs or later, you are eligible for the update.

Here’s a list of Apple Watch models that are compatible with watchOS 10:

  • Apple Watch Series 4
  • Apple Watch Series 5
  • Apple Watch SE (Both models)
  • Apple Watch Series 6
  • Apple Watch Series 7
  • Apple Watch Series 8
  • Apple Watch Ultra

Enjoy All the New watchOS 10 Features

While not getting a lot of attention, these lesser-known improvements in watchOS 10 continue to make the experience even better.

Whether you’re using widgets, Watch Faces, enjoying cycling features, or something else, Apple Watch is a great way to enjoy the Apple experience on a wearable device.

Share This Article
By Dave Johnson Executive Editor
Dave Johnson is the editor-in-chief at GeeksChalk where he oversees all of site’s evergreen content to ensure it’s up to date with the latest information. Hailing from New Jersey in the US, he has over seven years of experience in the tech journalism space and holds a degree in English Literature. In his spare time, Dave can found checking out the latest video games, immersing himself in his favorite sporting pastime of football, and petting every dog he comes across in the outside world.
Leave a comment