watchOS 11 WWDC 24 Apple Event

The Apple Watch is getting upgraded with watchOS 11 this fall—but not all Apple Watch models. This year’s update drops support for several models that were compatible with watchOS 10, notably the Series 4 and 5 generations and the first-gen Apple Watch SE.

But that’s not even the full story. Even if your Watch is new enough to run watchOS 11, it may not get all of the update’s features. Here are the watchOS 11 features that are exclusive to select Watch hardware.

Watch hardware that can run watchOS 11

Apple Watch watchos 11

Apple’s watchOS 11 preview outlines the full list of Watch models that can run the latest update.

  • Apple Watch SE (2nd generation)
  • Apple Watch Series 6
  • Apple Watch Series 7
  • Apple Watch Series 8
  • Apple Watch Series 9
  • Apple Watch Ultra
  • Apple Watch Ultra 2

Notably, though, the list ends with this line: “Not all features are available on all devices.

So which features won’t run on all devices? There are two in particular that we know about.

Tap to Cash

These watchOS 11 features are exclusive to select Watch models – 9to5Mac

Tap to Cash is a convenient new feature that enables tapping your Watch on someone else’s iPhone or Watch to pay them using Apple Cash. It’s a quick, secure alternative to payment services like Venmo and Cash App.

Only select Apple Watch models will offer the feature, however. Notably, the Apple Watch Series 6 will not support Tap to Cash, so you’ll have to send payments some other way.

Ultra Wideband home keys

These watchOS 11 features are exclusive to select Watch models – 9to5Mac

One of the best new features of the Home app this year is support for Ultra Wideband home keys. These will enable you to enter and leave your home without ever needing to bother with door locks.

How? Because Ultra Wideband enables proximity detection to such a precise level that your door lock will know when you’re approaching, and automatically lock or unlock without you needing to do anything.

Current smart locks that support home key still require you to tap your Watch against the lock before it will do anything. But if you buy a smart lock that supports Ultra Wideband, everything will just work like magic.

Here’s the catch: if you have an Apple Watch SE, you won’t be able to use this new feature because the SE doesn’t offer UWB support. Even though the 2nd generation SE is still on sale today, and supports most other watchOS 11 features, it won’t support this more seamless door unlocking experience.

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These watchOS 11 features are exclusive to select Watch models – 9to5Mac

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