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How to install the watchOS 10 public beta

How to install the watchOS 10 public beta


If you want to hang with Snoopy or go all in on widgets, the public beta is the way to go.

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Apple Watch
watchOS 10 is all about the widgets — and you can try them out for yourself by downloading the public beta.
Illustration by Samar Haddad / The Verge

If you were intrigued by the idea of widgets on your Apple Watch at this year’s WWDC, good news! The watchOS 10 public beta is live.

That said, before I tell you how to install it, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First off, watchOS 10 is a substantial update. Not only does it reintroduce widgets to the platform, but it also completely redesigns Apple’s native watch apps and reimagines how you interact with the device. The controls you’re used to have changed. Pressing the side button, for instance, now brings up Control Center while swiping up is how you access widgets.

I mention this because once you install the watchOS 10 beta, you cannot downgrade to watchOS 9. So if you’re not keen on relearning how to use the watch right now, it may be wiser to wait until the public release becomes available later this fall. If you’re unsure, I go into what changes you can expect in my watchOS 10 preview.

On a similar note, beta software isn’t the final product. Apps can malfunction, battery drain might be more intense, and some of the new features may not even be available yet. Plus, installing watchOS 10 requires that you first install the iOS 17 beta on the iPhone the Apple Watch is paired to. Basically, you have to be okay with installing betas on two of your devices. For that reason, we always recommend creating backups and using secondary Apple Watches / iPhones if available.

Person holding Apple Watch Ultra showing watchOS 10 widget stack
Widgets are back, baby.
Photo by Victoria Song / The Verge

If you’re still gung-ho about downloading the beta, the good news is Apple’s made the beta installation process much easier this year. Here’s what you need to do.

  • Check that you have a compatible Apple Watch. watchOS 10 is available for the Series 4 or later, including both generations of the Apple Watch SE.
  • If you haven’t already, install the iOS 17 public beta. (Here’s our guide on how to do that.)
  • Once that’s done, stick your Apple Watch on its charger. For the beta to install, you need to be in range of your iPhone and Wi-Fi. If you’re low on battery, you’ll have to wait until you have at least 50 percent charge. This can be a lengthy process, so do this at a time when you won’t need your iPhone or Apple Watch on hand.
  • Open the Watch app on your iPhone and head to the My Watch tab.
  • Head to General > Software Update.
  • You should see a new Beta Updates menu. Select it, and then choose watchOS 10 Public Beta. You can also opt for the Developer Beta, but keep in mind that the Public Beta is usually more stable.
  • Return to the previous screen. You should now see the beta update there. Tap Download and Install.

Troubleshooting tips:

  • If you’re not seeing any beta options appear, go to Automatic Updates in the Software Update menu and try toggling it on and off. It happened to me with both the iOS 17 and watchOS 10 betas, but this fixed it.
  • If that doesn’t work, check that you’re signed in with your Apple ID on the public beta website.
  • In the Beta Updates menu, double-check that the Apple ID listed is the correct one.
  • If all else fails, try turning your iPhone on and off again.