Apple's WatchOS5 update is coming - here's how it's going to improve your Apple Watch

Katie Strick
The new Walkie Talkie Mode lets your chat with your friends on Apple Watch: Apple

Your smartwatch is about to get a whole lot smarter.

Apple has just unveiled its new free watchOS5 update and will be rolling out the upgrade soon, featuring brand new workouts and a Walkie Talkie mode for chatting with your friends.

The watch strap has updated summer colours, Siri is an even better personal assistant and notifications now have interactive controls so you don’t need to open the app.

From activity competitions to phone-free podcasts, here’s everything you need to know.

Walk and talk

Phone calls are old-fashioned: the hottest way to chat with your friends is via Walkie-Talkie.

The snazzy new mode lets you communicate quickly with any Apple Watch user around the world with a tap of the wrist.

All you need is a cellular connection or wi-fi.

Burn more

The new update features auto-workout detection, so your sweaty gym session doesn’t accidentally get missed, and Apple has added two new workout types: yoga and hiking, so you can track your downward dog or mountain slog.

Get technical

Running is one of the most popular Apple Watch workouts so the new update lets you dig down deeper.

It features two new metrics: cadence (steps per minute) and rolling mile pace.

There’s also a new pace alarm, which alerts you when you’re behind your designated target.

The heat is on

Closing your activity rings brings a sense of achievement but there’s nothing like a bit of healthy competition to push you further: watchOS5 now enables users to invite other Apple Watch wearers to compete in a seven-day competition.

The aim is to win the week: you’ll earn points and receive notifications along the way.

Listen up

Plugging in a podcast just got easier — thanks to the update you’ll be able to listen without your phone.

The upgrade comes with a new Apple Podcasts app for the Apple Watch and episodes will automatically sync to your watch when you’re listening to it on other devices.

You’ll also be able to sync music, audiobooks and meditation sessions from apps like Pandora and Audible for playback offline and you can stream any podcast in the catalogue using Siri.