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Home / Features / Apple watchOS 9: can it run on your existing Apple Watch?

Apple watchOS 9: can it run on your existing Apple Watch?

Apple's latest watch software can run on most older Apple Watch models - but not on Series 3

Apple Watch Series 7

The latest Apple Watch software is watchOS 9 and it’s now available to download. It’ll be pre-installed on the new Apple Watch Series 8, Watch SE and Apple Watch Ultra.

There is a glaring omission among Apple Watch compatibility for watchOS 9 – the Series 3 is not supported. We think that’s rather unfortunate considering you’re still able to buy an Apple Watch Series 3 still (it has been discontinued though, replaced by the new Watch SE). We’ve outlined why we think it’s wrong you can still buy a Series 3 in this piece but essentially we think Apple should have discontinued it a while back.

watchOS 9 compatibility: full list

  • Apple Watch Series 4
  • Apple Watch Series 5
  • Apple Watch SE (all versions)
  • Apple Watch Series 6
  • Apple Watch Series 7

You’ll also need an iPhone 8 or later to install watchOS 9 and for that device to have iOS 16 – this matches up with the system requirements for iOS 16 itself.

The iPhone 14, AirPods Pro 2 and Apple Watch Series 8 were launched alongside a new Apple Watch SE and top line Watch Ultra at Apple’s Far Out launch event on 7 September. You can catch up with all the new launches in our dedicated coverage. The Apple Watch Ultra topped the bill with its 49mm case, a brighter (up to 2000nits) and flatter screen plus a new customisable action button on the side.

Profile image of Dan Grabham Dan Grabham Editor-in-Chief


Dan is Editor-in-chief of Stuff, working across the magazine and the Stuff.tv website.  Our Editor-in-Chief is a regular at tech shows such as CES in Las Vegas, IFA in Berlin and Mobile World Congress in Barcelona as well as at other launches and events. He has been a CES Innovation Awards judge. Dan is completely platform agnostic and very at home using and writing about Windows, macOS, Android and iOS/iPadOS plus lots and lots of gadgets including audio and smart home gear, laptops and smartphones. He's also been interviewed and quoted in a wide variety of places including The Sun, BBC World Service, BBC News Online, BBC Radio 5Live, BBC Radio 4, Sky News Radio and BBC Local Radio.

Areas of expertise

Computing, mobile, audio, smart home