New WatchOS 9 Update Gives More Face Options and Apps

Other apps have been updated and redesigned, too

Apple's watchOS 9 has made its way to a public release and is available now for all compatible Apple Watch devices.

Along with today's iOS 16 Release, Apple has also dropped the public version of watchOS 9 for the Apple Watch. The update adds four new watch face options (Lunar, Playtime, Metropolitan, and Astronomy), each with a different visual theme and incorporated information sets. Faces are also getting more customization options via editable background colors and a depth effect for portraits that can make text appear behind the image's subject.

New Apple Watch watch faces


The Workout app is also seeing significant changes in watchOS 9 and will now be able to provide more in-depth fitness metrics along with improved workout intensity tracking. You can create your own Custom Workouts in the app and use the Apple Watch's Digital Crown to quickly scroll through Workout Views. Tracking for running is also being improved with new metrics for Ground Contact Time, Stride Length, and Vertical Oscillation. And there's a new Pacer option to let you set your workout pace, complete with alerts and metrics you can follow along the way.

Apple Watch fitness tracking in watchOS 9


On top of the fitness updates, watchOS 9 has also reworked the Compass app with more thorough information and the ability to zoom in your view. The Digital Crown can switch Compass views to include details like elevation, incline, latitude, and longitude. And the new Backtrack feature will keep track of your route via GPS to make it easier for you to head back the way you came if you get lost.

All of these watchOS 9 updates, and more, are available now as part of a free update. You can download watchOS 9 for your Apple Watch Series 4 or later—and you'll probably want to update your iPhone while you're at it.

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