Apple Watch features I really thought we’d have before watchOS 10


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watchOS 10 is just a few days away, and the update sounds like a big deal for big Apple Watch screens. A new widget overlay and apps optimized for Apple Watch Ultra? Let’s go!

Not much else has been rumored for watchOS 10, however, and that’s probably because the Apple Watch software is fairly mature now. Turns out you can knock out of lot of great features in nine years. That’s had me thinking about some rather old feature requests that have never materialized – features I really thought we’d have by now.

Control notifications

Apple Watch notifications should be opt-in, not opt-out and all or nothing. There’s a toggle to turn on alerts for all apps. There’s no button for turning off alerts for all apps. The best solution requires going through a list of toggles for each app installed on your iPhone. Even if you toggle them all off, you have to remember to manually turn off watch alerts for future app installs.

The current model assumes that if an app can alert your iPhone, you’ll want it to alert your Apple Watch instead while you’re wearing it. Saving most app alerts for iPhone lets you use the Apple Watch for what you consider VIP app alerts. Just the important stuff taps your wrist.

Custom tones

When I published my review of the first Apple Watch eight years ago, I was pretty optimistic about one feature I considered missing: setting custom alert tones for different contacts. I wrote this in 2015, not knowing it would still be relevant in 2023:

You can toggle sounds on or off, but you can’t customize tones for specific alerts. On my iPhone, I have a different tone if either my girlfriend or my mom texts me so I know I should read it soon. Apple Watch has the same tone and the same tap for all messages from all contacts. This is sort of a set back functionally for me, but hopefully this changes in future software updates.

…hopefully this changes in future software updates. Ouch.

Seriously, does no one else want this feature? Even if you’re not interested in setting tones for different contacts, I’m confident people would like the option to change tones for message alerts. At the very least, Mail and…