What’s New in the watchOS SDK

Learn about the key technologies and capabilities available in the watchOS SDK, the toolkit used to build apps for Apple Watch. For detailed information on API changes in the latest released versions, including each beta release, see the watchOS Release Notes.

watchOS 6

With the watchOS 6 SDK, you can build a completely independent watchOS app, or even a watchOS app without an iOS counterpart. You can build more flexible and dynamic user interfaces with SwiftUI, and write modern event processing code with Combine. And you can also incorporate new features like Sign in with Apple, extended runtime sessions, and streaming audio into your apps.

Independent Apps

With watchOS 6, you can create apps that are only available for Apple Watch, without a companion app on iOS. Users can even purchase your watchOS apps directly from the App Store on Apple Watch. To get started, see Creating Independent watchOS Apps.

Sign in with Apple

Sign in with Apple gives you a fast, secure, and privacy-friendly way for people to set up an account and start using your services from your apps and websites. For more information, see Sign in with Apple.


SwiftUI is a modern approach to building user interfaces for iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS. You can build dynamic interfaces faster than ever before, using declarative, composition-based programming. The framework provides views, controls, and layout structures for declaring your app’s user interface. It also provides event handlers for delivering taps, gestures, and other types of input to your app, and tools to manage the flow of data from your app’s models down to the views and controls that users will see and interact with.

To get started, see Learn to Make Apps Using SwiftUI.

Streaming Audio

With watchOS 6, your app can now steam audio so user can stay connected to episodes, albums, audiobooks, radio, and more wherever they go.

Extended Runtime

Your apps can now get extended time to access sensor data and complete sessions, for use cases such as mindfulness, physical therapy, and alarms. For more information, see the Extended Runtime Sessions section in the WatchKit framework documentation.


Combine is a new framework that provides a declarative Swift API for processing values over time. These values can represent user interface events, network responses, scheduled events, and many other kinds of asynchronous data. With Combine, you declare publishers that expose values that can change, and subscribers that receive those values from the publishers. Combine makes your code easier to read and maintain, by centralizing your event-processing code and eliminating troublesome techniques like nested closures and convention-based callbacks.

For more information, see the Combine framework documentation.