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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.