Apple Watch Series Update: New watchOS 5 May Drop Old Apps Support

A recent watchOS beta suggests that some apps may not be supported when the new OS arrives.

Ryan EmberleyAP Images

When Apple Watch Series 3 and other Apple Watch owners update to the new watchOS 5 upgrade for their gadgets, they may find some of the apps they’ve installed have no functionality. This is based on speculation from the latest beta of the watchOS which has provided alert messages related to older app compatibility. Luckily, the issue is being made public ahead of the wider release of the actual upgrade, though. There’s still the possibility that some developers may just give up on their projects for the watch completely, though.

According to 9 to 5 Mac, the watchOS beta 4.3.1 has brought about this potential issue as early use of the beta system update has displayed messages for certain apps. These messages suggest that some apps may no longer work with future versions of the operation system, so the app developers need to update them to improve compatibility. So far, these messages only apply to apps that are original watchOS 1 WatchKit applications. A few of the app examples shown via 9 to 5 Mac‘s report are Calcbot and August.

It’s noted that apps developed under the original watchOS 1 system were generally slower and relied on the paired Bluetooth connection between an iPhone and the Apple Watch. The watchOS 2 update arrived just six months after that initial OS and provided a better overall handling of apps for the smartwatches. However, the latest model of the smartwatch brought an even bigger change in how it functions.

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The newest model of the watch, the Apple Watch Series 3, doesn’t rely on that phone to watch Bluetooth pairing since the new watch can use hi-speed LTE connections on its own. Apple Watch Series 3 was released last September and featured the watchOS 4 as its installed operating system. However, some of the apps from the watchOS 1 still functioned in some capacity.

With the Apple Watch series update, it will interesting to see if it brings about major developers deciding to update their apps or simply let them cease to exist. In a report a few days ago from Gadgets & Wearables, it’s noted that many developers that have apps relying on images for the experience are realizing that experience isn’t as great on the Apple Watch. Instagram was one of the major examples, but the report mentions there are plenty of other developers following suit and dropping support for their watch apps altogether.