Here are all the ways in which watchOS 8 and 7 series indicate a greater independence of the iPhone ... and what is still missing

Cupertino, October 4, 2021

While the watchOS 8 looks like a slight update to the surface, it is actually indicative of much larger changes that are likely to come its way. One thing that has become increasingly obvious is that Apple is preparing for greater independence from the iPhone. They make several changes in both watchOS 8 and Apple Watch Series 7, which makes using the Apple Watch standalone better than ever.

Enter text and larger displays

The first and most obvious change is the new keyboard that Apple introduces in the 7 series. This is not the first time you will be able to type on an Apple Watch, Apple has previously allowed third-party developers to create their own keyboard applications. Unfortunately, they were not allowed to appear in other applications, leading to solutions in applications such as FlickType.

The obvious application of a full QWERTY keyboard on the clock is for entering passwords, typing longer messages and emails, and completing more complex search queries. Because the watch was an iPhone accessory, you never had to have a full keyboard. Dictation and scribble did the job, but for the Apple Watch to become a standalone device, it needs a keyboard for a setup wizard and more powerful applications - either from Apple or other developers.

Larger screens that allow for a truly accurate QWERTY keyboard will certainly allow for many other things that can make the clock more independent.

Apple has also improved the text input for other watches. They added the ability to edit text more precisely and add characters and symbols to existing text. In general, they have just improved the text input on all levels.


In watchOS 8, Apple has modified a lot of its own applications in very subtle but important ways. The settings application, for example, has gained the ability to manage an Apple ID. You can now edit your Apple ID contact information, change your password, update Sign in with Apple, manage subscriptions, manage devices, and more. Why would anyone want to do any of these things on a small screen, I don't know. What I do know is that there are additions needed to allow the watch to live independently of the iPhone.

Photos and music

Service applications such as Photos and Music have received major updates to the latest version of watchOS. Not only do the photos have a completely new design, but they act more like ever as the iPhone app. It's not just a locket for precious photos that you might want more on your wrist. He is a full-fledged photo client.

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The app has new viewing modes, such as the mosaic grid that was popularized on the iPhone. Photos can also display memories and highlights. Perhaps the clearest indication of independence is that you can now share photos right from the clock app.

Like photos, music is now a complete customer for this service. You can even share songs, playlists, albums, and more from your watch via mail and messages.


Home also received a fairly substantial update this year. With watchOS 8, the Home app works more like an iPhone. At launch, you can see an overview of status updates from various HomeKit devices across the house. There is also a finer control of tones over individual rooms, rooms and other things.

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It's easier to switch between different scenes, and the app may even suggest actions for different HomeKit devices, based on the use of others.


A new application in watchOS 8 is contacts. Contacts have now been released from the Phone app. Imagine that your watch will not be associated with an iPhone in the future, where should the contacts go? Well, that's probably why the contacts app exists.

Find me

Find My has been divided into a number of different applications that have specific purposes. Now there are dedicated apps for finding devices, finding things, and finding my friends. Now you can see anything and anyone integrating with the improved Find My Wrist network.

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The tips are by no means a beloved app. Most people are likely to delete it from their devices. But when you consider it in the context of the iPhone's independence, it makes a lot of sense. To teach new Apple Watch owners how to use their device, Apple routinely uses tips on the associated iPhone. Now with Apple watchOS 8 lets you learn more about your watch right on your watch.

IMessage applications

Although there are currently only 5 iMessage applications on the Apple Watch with watchOS 8, there is now infrastructure for developers to integrate their applications into the Messages application. One of the main new features of Messages in watchOS 8 is the addition of the iMessage GIFs application that allows you to search for and send feedback GIFs. Apple has also included dedicated iMessage applications for Apple Pay Cash, voice recordings, digital touch and Memoji.

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Something that is not necessarily confirmed, but seems to be the case is that watches can jump more easily between connected iPhones. As we heard stories of friends installing new iPhones, they said it was impeccably easy to get their watch up and running on their new phones. In fact, they barely had to do anything. With device-to-device transfer, it worked. If the watch can jump between connected devices now in a secure and efficient manner, then it can do so between any device connected to a specific Apple ID. An independent Apple Watch may want to connect to your Mac or iPad. If it could jump between devices, it would no longer be an iPhone accessory and would open the gates for Android users.

What's missing?

Now a few more important things are missing that I would bet could appear in watchOS 9, at least for the 7 series and its larger displays. The first thing missing is Safari. Yes, I know, who wants to browse your wrist? Well, if you want to make the clock independently, it needs a complete web browser. None that appears by default when viewing the reader when you tap a link in Messages. The user interface has already been designed, it only needs a standalone application. Another thing is a proper password manager. The iCloud keychain is missing from the watch, so if apps will allow users to connect to apps on the watch, it needs to be added.

What do you think about the changes made in watchOS 8? Are you excited about the Apple Watch Series 7? Tell us in the comments below!

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