When are iOS 16 and watchOS 9 out for your iPhone and Apple Watch?

iOS 16 Lock Screen
(Image credit: Apple)

With Apple's 'Far Out' event having showcased the iPhone 14 and Apple Watch 8, and AirPods Pro 2, all eyes are on when iOS 16 and watchOS 9 will land on September 12.

However, there's also the matter of the software that powers all of these devices from Apple that's sure to be mentioned at the event. In previous years, the software would be announced at WWDC, Apple's developer conference held in June, followed by a release date that would be mentioned alongside the new iPhone for that year.

While iPadOS 16 and macOS Ventura are expected to arrive in October, iOS 16 and watchOS 9 look to be available very soon.

With this in mind, we combed through previous releases over the years to see when both updates could arrive for your iPhone and Apple Watch.

iOS 16

iOS 16 Lock Screen Widget Edit

(Image credit: Future)

Apart from iOS 14, almost every iOS update has released just before a new iPhone would land in stores across the world on a Friday. Developers were blindsided by how fast iOS 14 was announced and then released over 24 hours, with many scrambling to put the finishing touches to their app updates.

It's not something Apple's likely to repeat, but the dates for iOS 15 and iOS 13 give customers and developers enough time to prepare their iPhones and apps for the coming updates.

Looking back at previous iOS releases, there's up to a week and a bit between Apple's event and a new iOS being released:

  • iOS 15 - September 14 announced, September 20 was made available
  • iOS 14 - September 15 announced, September 16 was made available
  • iOS 13 - September 10 announced, September 19 was made available

With the 'Far Out' event happening on September 7, one could assume that pre-orders for an iPhone 14 could start on Friday September 9, with the iPhone 14 and Apple Watch Series 8 being made available on Friday September 16.

iOS 16 will almost certainly land sometime between the two, likely around a week after the iPhone 14's announcement. So we could see it on or around 1PM EST / 6PM BST later today (September 12). However, that's just guesswork - another date is also possible.

watchOS 9

watchos 9 unveiled

(Image credit: Lance Ulanoff)

The Apple Watch has followed a similar trajectory to the iPhone since its debut in 2015, usually arriving alongside the new iPhone. It's not a surprise considering you still need an iPhone to set up an Apple Watch regardless, so the two still go hand in hand for now.

Looking back at previous releases, we can see the same dates as iOS from recent years:

  • watchOS 8 - September 14 announced, September 20 was made available
  • watchOS 7 - September 15 announced, September 16 was made available
  • watchOS 6 - September 10 announced, September 19 was made available

With many rumors of an 'Apple Watch Pro' that looks to finally give users an extra button to customize as they wish, alongside a bigger screen, the approximate dates we've given for the iPhone 14 and iOS 16 could mirror the new Watch and watchOS 9.

From the event on September 7 to a potential release of the new Watch models on September 16, there's only nine days to decide if you want to replace your aging Apple Watch with a Pro variant.

However, if your current Watch supports watchOS 9, you could give the update a try - since it will likely land somewhere in that window - and see if it's time to update the hardware as well.

We expect watchOS 9 to arrive later today (September 12) around 1PM EST / 6PM BST

Daryl Baxter
Software & Downloads Writer

Daryl had been freelancing for 3 years before joining TechRadar, now reporting on everything software-related. In his spare time he's written a book, 'The Making of Tomb Raider', alongside podcasting and usually found playing games old and new on his PC and MacBook Pro. If you have a story about an updated app, one that's about to launch, or just anything Software-related, drop him a line.