watchOS 11: Supported Apple Watches and expected release date

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(Image credit: Apple / Laptop Mag)

Apple made some major software announcements at WWDC 2024 on Monday, and while watchOS 11 might not have been the star of the show (that would be Apple Intelligence, for anyone who didn't tune in), it still boasts exciting improvements for new and existing Apple Watches.

One of the most interesting features coming to watchOS 11 is a new 'Effort rating' system that allows you to measure how intense your workouts are and track them over time to make sure you're meeting your fitness goals and benchmarks without overexerting yourself.

This year's watchOS update will also add a redesigned Photos watch face, new views for pregnancy progress, interactive widgets, turn-by-turn hiking navigation, new Cycle Tracking features, and an updated Vitals app that shows more detailed health info on your Apple Watch.

But when is watchOS 11 coming? And will your Apple Watch get watchOS 11? Here's what we know so far.

watchOS 11: Expected release date

Past Apple's vague 'Coming this fall' estimate, we don't officially know when the upcoming watchOS 11 update will hit your Apple Watch. However, based on previous watchOS releases, we can make a fairly accurate guess.

Excluding the very first watchOS 1 release in April 2015, all other watchOS updates have released annually in September. And looking at the past five updates for watchOS — from watchOS 6 in 2019 to watchOS 10 in 2023 — Apple seems to love a mid-month Monday release date.

  • watchOS 6 release date: Thu. September 19, 2019
  • watchOS 7 release date: Wed. September 16, 2020
  • watchOS 8 release date: Mon. September 20, 2021
  • watchOS 9 release date: Mon. September 12, 2022
  • watchOS 10 release date: Mon. September 18, 2023

Although it's possible that Apple could release watchOS 11 on September 9 or September 23, past release dates suggest that a September 16 launch is the most likely.

Apple's one-sheet for watchOS 11 features some impressive features and tools heading to future Apple Watches. (Image credit: Apple)

Before watchOS 11 is officially released in September this year, it'll be available to try out via developer and public betas for supported Apple Watches.

As of June 10, 2024, the watchOS 11 developer beta is live and available to download for anyone in the Apple Developer program, which requires a $100 annual fee to join.

Alternatively, if you're willing to wait a little longer, anyone can opt into Apple's Beta Software Program for the free public beta. The company hasn't confirmed a release date for the watchOS 11 public beta, but it typically releases sometime in July.

watchOS 11: Supported Apple Watches

Thanks to the recently published watchOS 11 preview on Apple's site, we know which Apple Watches will support the upcoming software update. If you have one of the following Apple Watches, you'll be able to download and install watchOS 11 when it releases later this year.

  • Apple Watch SE (2nd generation)
  • Apple Watch Series 6
  • Apple Watch Series 7
  • Apple Watch Series 8
  • Apple Watch Series 9
  • Apple Watch Ultra
  • Apple Watch Ultra 2

The three casualties going from watchOS 10 to watchOS 11 are the Apple Watch Series 4, Apple Watch Series 5, and Apple Watch SE (2020). 

Apple notes that in addition to needing one of the Apple Watch models listed above, you'll also need an iPhone X or later running iOS 18. 

The company also adds, "Not all features are available on all devices." Newer Apple Watch models come equipped with larger, always-on displays and upgraded health sensors that allow for more features than older models, but it's not clear yet which features older models might be lacking.

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