With watchOS 5 version, you can now view web content on your Apple Watch, like a link attached to a message, or optimization for the smaller screen.
- Apple’s WebKit web layout engine is added to WatchOS 5
- It takes advantage of Safari’s Reader Mode to render web links
- Messages and Mail supports Web content
- There’s no Safari browser in watchOS 5
Here is what you have to do before you taking advantage of this cool feature.
To browse the web on your Watch, it requires you the following:
- Apple Watch Series 3 or later
- watchOS 5 or later version
- Messages or Mail configured on your wrist
The feature does not support on older Apple Watch models. That means Apple Watch Series 2, Series 1 models are not supported. When you open an attached link on the unsupported models, there will be an error message saying “This link is not viewable on Apple Watch, but you can open it on your iPhone.”
WebKit on WatchOS 5
This handy feature is one of the most highlighted improvements to Apple Watch notifications when they are now more actionable in watchOS 5 version.
Although Apple doesn’t think about browsing the web on such tiny screen, as the company didn’t ship Safari for Apple Watch, watchOS 5 now supports web content in a limited fashion via Apple’s WebKit rendering and layout engine.
You can easily view web content in chosen Apple apps, which are Messages and Mail.
Although full browsing on your wrist seems not to make sense, WebKit makes it easy to check out restaurant menus, or read a quick news article, for instance, without the need of opening your iPhone. Here’s step-by-step instruction to use this feature.
How to view web content on Apple Watch
If you already get web content that you want to see at the moment, simply follow these steps:
1) Press the Digital Crown to open the Home screen.
2) Launch Messages or Mail app
3) Tap on a message from the list that contains a website link.
4) Tap on a web link preview.
5) Now, interact with the web view:
- Scroll—move your finger or turn the Digital Crown
- Open hyperlinks—tap on a hyperlink to load an underlying webpage
- Enter text—tap on the text field to dictate or scribble texts
- Back/forward—use Force Touch to press the display firmly
- Reader/Normal view—use Fore Touch to press the display firmly
- Reload— press the display firmly using Force Touch
Once done, tap on Close in the left corner or swipe from the left edge.
By default, web content is pre-formatted for the small screen because of the Safari’s Reader Mode. However, you can also switch to the normal view, and access other hidden options just by pressing the display firmly.
Apple made the right choice when choosing Reader Mode as default. If you haven’t tried it on your iOS or Mac device yet, this mode will show text content and images without the annoying ads, navigation bars, or other distractions, which is great. However, embedded videos are not supported by WebKit on your Watch.