Apple Seeds has been beta testing watchOS 10.1 for several weeks now with developers and public beta testers. The latest release candidate (RC) version was seeded to testers on October 17, 2023. This RC build is typically the final version of the software that Apple will release to the public. So when can we expect the official watchOS 10.1 update to drop? Let’s take a closer look at the release timeline.
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Overview of watchOS 10.1
watchOS 10 is the latest major software update for the Apple Watch lineup. It was unveiled at WWDC 2022 and brought several new features to the wearable device, including:
- New watch faces like Lunar and Playtime
- Enhanced workout types for triathletes
- Medication reminders
- Sleep stages tracking
- A rebuilt Home app
- Wrist-down screen wake
watchOS 10.1 serves as the first incremental update to the watchOS 10 platform. It adds a couple of new features on top of the existing watchOS 10 capabilities:
- NameDrop – This allows you to share your contact information like your phone number or email address with another Apple Watch wearer using proximity detection. It transfers the data point-to-point via Bluetooth without needing WiFi or cellular connectivity.
- Double Tap – This allows you to double tap the side button on your Apple Watch to trigger certain actions like answering or ending a phone call, taking a photo, recording audio in Voice Memos, or marking a lap in a workout.
Beyond those two new features, watchOS 10.1 also likely contains a variety of bug fixes, security updates, and performance improvements.
Release Candidate Seeded
As mentioned, Apple seeded the release candidate version of watchOS 10.1 to developers and public beta testers on October 17, 2023. This means the software has gone through rounds of testing internally at Apple and is now at the point where it’s nearly ready for public release.
The watchOS 10.1 RC build can be downloaded by developers and public beta testers by:
- Opening the Apple Watch app on their paired iPhone
- Navigating to the Software Update section under General settings
- Toggling on “watchOS 10.1 RC”
You’ll need to have the watchOS 10 developer beta profile installed to access the RC build. Your Apple Watch will also need to have at least 50% battery life to install the update.
Public Release Timeline
So when will watchOS 10.1 officially launch to all Apple Watch owners? Based on Apple’s usual software release cadence, we can make an educated guess.
Here’s the typical timeline:
- Apple seeds the GM (gold master) version of the software update to developers shortly after the RC build goes live. This GM build is identical to what will be released to the public.
- The public launch date is usually 1-2 weeks after the GM.
- For reference, last year Apple seeded the watchOS 9 RC on September 12, 2022 and then released watchOS 9 on September 19.
Given that history, it’s likely we’ll see the watchOS 10.1 GM very soon if it hasn’t appeared already. Then we can expect Apple to push out the public watchOS 10.1 update sometime in the last week of October 2022 or first week of November, barring any unforeseen delays.
We’ll update this post once we have confirmation of the official watchOS 10.1 release date from Apple.
Installing watchOS 10.1
Once watchOS 10.1 is available, you’ll get a notification on your Apple Watch letting you know the update is ready. You can also check for the update manually:
- Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone
- Go to General > Software Update
- Tap “Download and Install” when the watchOS 10.1 update appears
To install watchOS 10.1, your Apple Watch will need:
- 50% or more battery life
- To be placed on the charger
- To be within close Bluetooth range of your iPhone
The installation process takes around 30-40 minutes to complete. Your Apple Watch will reboot a couple times during the process.
Make sure your iPhone is charged too, as the Apple Watch app needs to run in the background during the entire installation.
Supported Apple Watch Models
watchOS 10.1 can be installed on any Apple Watch model capable of running watchOS 10. Here are the supported models:
- Apple Watch Series 8
- Apple Watch Series 7
- Apple Watch Series 6
- Apple Watch Series SE
- Apple Watch Series 5
- Apple Watch Series 4
- Apple Watch Series 3
The first two Apple Watch generations cannot be updated beyond watchOS 7.
As mentioned, watchOS 10.1 has two main new features – NameDrop and Double Tap. Let’s look at how these work.
Using NameDrop on Apple Watch
NameDrop allows you to easily share personal contact information with another Apple Watch wearer using just proximity detection – no WiFi or cellular required.
To set up and use NameDrop:
- Open the Contacts app on your Apple Watch
- Select your own contact card
- Tap “Share Contact Info”
- Choose what info you want to share – phone, email, etc.
- On the other person’s Apple Watch, accept the incoming NameDrop request
- Your info will transfer directly to their Contacts app
The proximity detection range is roughly three feet. NameDrop encrypts the shared data end-to-end for privacy.
This allows you to seamlessly exchange contact info on the go just by getting close to another Apple Watch owner. No more manually adding in details or taking out your phone.
Using Double Tap with watchOS 10.1
Double Tap allows you to double press the side/Digital Crown button on your Apple Watch to trigger certain actions. You can enable and customize Double Tap actions in the Settings app:
- Accessibility > Physical & Motor > Double Tap
From here, you can select your preferred Double Tap action:
- Answer End Call – Double press to answer or end a phone call on your watch.
- Take Photo – Double press to open the Camera app and immediately take a photo.
- Record Audio – Double press to start or stop an audio recording in Voice Memos.
- Mark Lap – Double press to log a new lap when tracking runs or rides with the Workout app.
- Siri – Double press to activate Siri.
- Quick Access – Double tap to open a shortcut action or app of your choice.
So with a couple quick presses of the side button, you can now take photos, record voice memos, log workout data, activate Siri, or open apps.
In addition to those major new features, the watchOS 10.1 update likely contains a variety of bug fixes and optimizations. We’ll know more once the official release notes are published.
Potential improvements could include:
- Better battery life
- Smoother performance
- Fixes for workout tracking bugs
- Improved integration with iOS 16.1
- Enhanced reliability and connectivity
- Patches for security vulnerabilities
It’s common for the x.1 software update to squash early bugs that slipped through in the initial release. Your Apple Watch experience should be even more refined with watchOS 10.1 installed.
Here are some key takeaways on the upcoming watchOS 10.1 release:
- Adds NameDrop for easily sharing contact info between Apple Watch users
- Introduces Double Tap for customizing the side button shortcut actions
- Release candidate version seeded to developers and public beta testers on 10/17/23
- Public release expected late October 2022 or early November 2022
- Compatible with all Apple Watch models capable of running watchOS 10
- Includes bug fixes, optimizations, and security updates
- Install via the Apple Watch app on your iPhone
watchOS 10.1 delivers some helpful improvements to the watchOS platform that we think both new and existing Apple Watch owners will appreciate. Apple continues to refine the watchOS software with each update.
We’ll update this article when Apple officially announces the watchOS 10.1 launch details. Enjoy the new features when you install on your Apple Watch!
Table: watchOS Versions
|watchOS Version||Release Date||Major New Features||Supported Models|
|watchOS 1.0||04/24/2015||App Store for Apple Watch, Apple Pay, Siri, Digital Touch||Original Apple Watch, Series 1|
|watchOS 2.0||09/21/2015||Native apps, new watch faces, Nightstand mode||Original Apple Watch, Series 1|
|watchOS 3.0||09/13/2016||Dock, Scribble handwriting, Activity sharing||Series 1, Series 2|
|watchOS 4.0||09/19/2017||Siri watch face, GymKit, Music streaming||Series 1, Series 2, Series 3|
|watchOS 5.0||09/17/2018||Walkie Talkie, Podcasts, Siri shortcuts||Series 1, Series 2, Series 3, Series 4|
|watchOS 6.0||09/19/2019||App Store on watch, Cycle tracking, Noise app||Series 1, Series 2, Series 3, Series 4, Series 5|
|watchOS 7.0||09/16/2020||Sleep tracking, Handwashing, Fitness+||Series 3, Series 4, Series 5, SE|
|watchOS 8.0||09/20/2021||Portraits watch face, Mindfulness, Respiratory rate||Series 3, Series 4, Series 5, SE, Series 6|
|watchOS 9.0||09/12/2022||Medications, Running form, Sleep stages||Series 4, Series 5, SE, Series 6, Series 7, Series 8|