September 30, 2022
Apple Watch Series 3 Won't Be Getting WatchOS 9

Announced Monday, Apple watchOS 9 will bring a number of new health and fitness features, plus four fresh watch faces, to Apple Watches this fall. The updates include expanded atrial fibrillation (AFib) detection capabilities, a new Medications app to help you manage your prescriptions, running-specific metrics, a Multisport workout type for triathletes, and more. 

Unfortunately, the update will not be available on the nearly five-year-old Apple Watch Series 3, which first hit the market in September 2017. Scroll all the way down to the Availability section of Apple’s watchOS 9 press release, and the news is right there: “watchOS 9 will be available this fall as a free software update for Apple Watch Series 4 or later paired with iPhone 8 or later and iPhone SE (second generation) or later, running iOS 16,” Apple writes(Opens in a new window).

In other words, watchOS 9 will work on the Apple Watch Series 4, the Series 5, and the Series 6, models Apple has stopped selling but continues to support through software updates, as well as the Watch SE and the Series 7. The Series 3 is left out of the party.

If you still rock a Series 3, this is probably less of a shocker than a bummer. While watchOS 8, the current version of Apple’s smartwatch operating system, is available on the Series 3, some newer features are unsupported, including the Portraits watch face. In addition, automatic cycling detection, which requires Apple’s latest-generation motion sensors, only works on Watch SE, Series 6, and Series 7.

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