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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

With watchOS 9, Apple introduced a number of headline new features like new workout metrics, sleep stage tracking, low power mode, 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 20 other features and enhancements, some of which may have gone under your radar. Bear in mind that watchOS 9 requires Apple Watch Series 4 or later and an iPhone 8 or later running iOS 16.

1. Get Email Notifications When Not Connected to iPhone

Apple Watch users have long been able to receive email notifications from third-party email accounts pushed from their paired iPhone. But in watchOS 9, you can also be alerted when an important message arrives when you're wearing your Apple Watch, but away from your iPhone.


The option uses iCloud servers to securely access the third-party account, and needs to be manually enabled. To set it up, launch the Watch app on your iPhone, tap My Watch, tap Mail, then turn on Email Notifications under "When Not Connected to iPhone."

2. View Activity Rings During Workout

Previously if you were doing an Apple Watch workout and you wanted to see how it was impacting your activity rings, you had to exit out of the Workout app and switch to the Activity app.


Now you don't have to, because you can get a glance of your activity rings right in the workout display simply by scrolling up with the Digital Crown.

3. Follow Podcasts

In watchOS 9, Apple finally fixed its hobbled Podcasts app, and for the first time you can now follow and unfollow podcasts directly from your Apple Watch.


Tap Listen Now -> You Might Like, then tap a show and select Follow. You can also find the same options by searching for a show and tapping on it.

4. Add Calendar Events on Your Wrist

Finally, you aren't just limited to viewing calendar events synced from your iPhone on your wrist – you can now add them too. Simply tap the ellipsis (three dots) button that appears in the corner of the screen when you stop scrolling, then tap + New Event.


On the next screen you can add all the usual details including event title, location, start date and time, end date and time, and whether to make it a repeat event. Before you Add the event, you can also choose which calendar to add it to, add invitees, opt to receive alerts, and include any notes.

5. Astronomy Watch Face

Apple in iOS 16 added new dynamic wallpaper options to its revamped iPhone Lock Screen settings, and the watch face that arguably mirrors these enhancements in watchOS 9 is Astronomy.


Astronomy is actually a revamped version of the original Astronomy watch face, but it has been remastered and includes a new star map and current cloud data based on your location. You can set the Earth, Moon, or Solar System as the main view, and customize the font. It supports two complications, and turning the Digital Crown lets you fast forward or rewind to see the moon phase/planet location on another day.

6. Retrace Your Steps With Backtrack

You don't need an Apple Watch Ultra to use the redesigned Compass app's Backtrack feature. If your Apple Watch Series 6 or later is running watchOS 9, you can use it to track your route and then help you retrace your steps in case you get lost.


Tap the footprints icon in the bottom-right of the screen, then tap Start to begin recording your route. When you're ready to retrace your steps, tap the pause icon in the bottom-right of the screen, then tap Retrace Steps.

Your starting location will appear on the compass, and a bouncing white arrow will point you in the right direction. Follow the path back to return to where you first turned on Backtrack, then when you've arrived at your starting location, tap the footsteps icon and you'll be able to delete your steps... Click here to read rest of article

Article Link: 20 New watchOS 9 Features You May Have Missed
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macrumors 65816
May 13, 2012
Six Rivers, CA
There are a few worthy mentions in there, i.e. backtrack, find your car, text size in CC but most imho don’t stand out as features. Just more functionality added to existing apps. How about putting an AOD switch in Control Center? What I really wish my Apple Watch could do? Hold more than 5 gb of music w/o having to make a massive playlist to get around a software limitation that is punitively pointless.
OK I realize I’m griping. My apologies.
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macrumors 6502a
Oct 27, 2007
For #1, Mail, nothing happens when I tap "Email Notifications under "When Not Connected to iPhone." There's no toggle switch or anything. Tapping "iCloud" makes it highlight very briefly, but nothing else. What am I missing?


macrumors 68000
May 19, 2017
I was hoping they’d add a feature where I can swipe left on the Workouts app and the Watch will be smart enough to know that I’m playing a podcast on my iPhone. Sadly I consistently get greeted with “Not Playing.”


macrumors 6502a
Jun 13, 2020
It’s me or this post sounds like switchers on watchOS 9 are under expectations?
It could be ‘cause Apple sw updates are full of:

Battery drain is the answer.


macrumors 68020
Jan 15, 2015
Apple Watch Mirroring requires an Apple Watch Series 6 and later.
I have the Ultra running latest public beta and iPhone 13 Pro Max running latest public beta. Watch mirroring should have easy access in Control Access.


macrumors newbie
Apr 21, 2016
#1 - For third party accounts, sign-in is required. So I do that, and then a day or so later, sign-in is required again. Doesn’t seem to stick. Bug.


macrumors 6502a
Nov 9, 2019
Very insightful article. Can’t wait until iOS 16 & WatchOS 9 work properly so I can enjoy these.
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