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Apple A-Z » Apple Watch

Apple Watch Ultra 2

Apple Watch Ultra 2

Apple Watch Ultra 2 improves on the original with a better processor, brighter display, and new features like Double Tap. Otherwise, the super-rugged wearable remains unchanged in its second generation.

● 49 mm display
● Titanium
● S9 System-in-Package
● 3,000 nit display
● Carbon-neutral options
Starts at $799

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Apple Watch Ultra 2 was revealed during the Wonderlust event on September 12, 2023. It was updated with the same chipset used in the Apple Watch Series 9 and announced alongside iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro.

The 2023 Apple Watch updates were minimal, particularly for Apple Watch Ultra 2. The new S9 processor and brighter display are the most notable upgrades.

Apple Watch Ultra's base functionality hasn't changed across generations. It is still a rugged device with an Action button, siren, and all-red night mode.

Basically nothing has been rumored about a potential Apple Watch Ultra 3. With Apple Watch Series X rumors pointing to a significant redesign, Apple may keep the Ultra line updates simple.

There's also a chance that Apple won't update the model in 2024. The minimal chipset upgrade and lack of design changes or color options did little to entice new buyers or upgrades in 2023.

The Apple Watch import ban

The United States International Trade Comission recommended that Apple Watch products with blood oxygen detection be banned from import based on a judge's decision in a patent lawsuit. Masimo, a medical technology company, claims Apple violated its patents to create the Apple Watch Series 6 and newer's ability to measure blood oxygen.

The ban is in place from December 25 with no options for Apple other than to stop sale of the offending products immediately. The Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 are the only models that are currently sold with the feature, so those were pulled from sale. The Apple Watch SE is unaffected.

Apple sought multiple avenues for getting the import ban lifted or going around it. Either the White House could have intervened and gave the ruling a stay until all appeals were processed, or Apple could update the Apple Watch software to satisfy customs in the meantime.

Option number two ended up happening. New Apple Watch Series 9 or Apple Watch Ultra 2 models sold in the Untied States after January 17 have blood oxygen detection disabled. Devices already purchased are unaffected.

Apple will be able to reenable the feature once the ban has been lifted. It isn't clear which will happen first — Apple winning its appeals or Masimo's patents expiring in 2028.

Apple Watch Ultra 2: Design

Like its predecessor, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 features a 49mm titanium enclosure in natural silver, an international orange Action Button, and an orange ring on the Digital Crown. Its chunky, rugged appearance is notably different than that of the standard Apple Watch lineup.

The orange accents make a return The orange accents make a return

The watch is designed for use in a wide variety of environments. It features a larger Digital Crown with grooves for easy control and a protruding Side Button for accessibility, even with gloves.

The Action Button, customizable across watchOS, serves various functions, such as marking laps during workouts or triggering an 86-decibel siren for emergencies.

The Apple Watch Ultra 2 display is protected by sapphire glass and is resistant to impacts and scratches. It offers high brightness — now up to 3000 nits — for visibility in various lighting conditions, including direct sunlight and underwater environments. It is still capable of dimming to 1 nits in dark environments.

The external design is identical across generations The external design is identical across generations

It is built to withstand extreme temperatures from -20 to 55 degrees Celsius and has a water resistance rating of up to 100 meters. Additionally, it meets MIL-STD 810H certification standards, ensuring durability against altitude, temperature variations, immersion, shock, and vibration.

Like the original Apple Watch Ultra, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 can see up to 36 hours of battery life in normal mode or 72 hours in low-power mode. Certain activities, such as workouts, will decrease the battery life faster. The battery is fast-charge capable and can charge up to 80% in about one hour.

Apple Watch Ultra 2: features

Geared toward the outdoor enthusiast and professional athlete, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 is packed with features for mountain climbers, deep sea divers, and everyone in between.

S9 SiP

The most significant Apple Watch Ultra 2 update is the S9 System-inPackage. This powerful processor enables features like Double Tap and on-device Siri. On-device Siri is a significant upgrade, as it helps keep a user's data safe, and also performs much faster than before.

The S9 processor has a dual-core CPU with 5.6 billion transistors. The four-core Neural Engine is twice as fast as the previous model.


The Apple Watch Ultra 2 features exclusive sensors alongside the standard ones found in regular Apple Watches. It incorporates a dual-frequency GPS system utilizing L1 and L5 bands to improve accuracy, especially in challenging urban environments where L1 signals may be weak.

Apple Watch Ultra 2 with the S9 SiP Apple Watch Ultra 2 with the S9 SiP

Certified to EN13319 standards, the watch displays water depth and temperature automatically when submerged. An app by Huish called Oceanic+ turns the Apple Watch Ultra 2 into a dive computer. It shows important information, such as depth levels and temperature, and reminds users to take safety stops during the dive all from their wrist.

The Apple Watch Ultra 2 comes with the same health sensors as its predecessor, including heart rate, blood oxygen, ECG, and temperature sensors. It supports sleep tracking and workout monitoring, though we must caution that it's not a substitute for medical advice.

Carbon neutral options

The Apple Watch is Apple's first carbon-neutral product, and the company is aiming to make all its products carbon-neutral by 2030.


Apple Watch Ultra 2 joins Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch SE in offering carbon-neutral options based on the band chosen. Those who select the Alpine Loop or Trail Loop bands get an official logo designating the status on the box. Additionally, Apple offers carbon-neutral sport loops that can be purchased separately. 

Returning Features

Like most other Apple Watches, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 has a slew of features designed to make it the ultimate wearable. The Apple Watch App Store allows users to download third-party apps that expand the Apple Watch's capabilities. 

Apple Watch owners can easily pay for goods using built-in Apple Pay integration. This allows them to tap their watch on tap-to-pay enabled card readers, preventing the need to pull out a wallet or phone.

In 2022, Apple added the ability for users to log custom workouts to the Apple Watch. Custom workouts can have a set warmup, goal, and recovery and are perfect for users who may find the list of existing workouts don't fit their needs.

Like other Apple devices, it is easy to view data from one device on another thanks to robust iCloud integration. Users can start a podcast on their Apple Watch and finish it on their HomePod mini, for example.

Its Always-On Retina LTPO OLED display means that users do not need to raise their wrist if they want to descretely check the time or notifications. 

Hard fall and crash detection also appear on the Apple Watch Ultra 2. These features use the internal sensors to detct when a user has fallen or has been in a crash, though several critics have questioned the accuracy of features like crash detection. 

Hikers can take advantage of new maps-related features thanks to updates rolled out alongside watchOS 10. Last Cellular Connection Waypoint estimates the most recent location where cellular reception was available. Last Emergency Call Waypoint estimates the point along the route where the device last established a connection to any available carrier's network. Additionally, the Action Button on the Apple Watch Ultra allows users to quickly add waypoints to maps. 

Apple Watch Ultra 2 review

Apple Watch Ultra represents the peak of Apple's modern wearable efforts. The smaller Apple Watch Series 9 is a mature product limited by its size for what can actually be added to it.

Apple Watch Ultra 2 is an improvement Apple Watch Ultra 2 is an improvement

When Apple introduced Apple Watch Ultra to the lineup, it was a new larger 49 mm size to provide space for additional sensors. The case was made to be more rugged for extreme environments.

The Apple Watch Ultra 2 doesn't do much to expand on the original. Apple included the new S9 System-in-Package, on-device Siri, and Double Tap — but that's basically all that's new.

The hope for a new color option like black titanium didn't arrive either. The second-generation Apple Watch Ultra doesn't have much to talk about, so a design change or new color would have made it more appealing.

Highlights from this review

  • Nothing new externally but a brighter display
  • S9 SiP is more than a faster CPU
  • Double Tap gesture will be useful when available
  • Diving and other special features return
  • watchOS 10 improves the Apple Watch experience
  • No new Ultra-specific bands
  • No need to upgrade from first-generation Apple Watch Ultra
  • 36 hours of battery life in normal mode, battery life increased to 72 hours in low-power mode

Read the full Apple Watch Ultra 2 review for a detailed evaluation and photos. AppleInsider scored the Apple Watch Ultra 2 4.5 out of 5.

See how it compares to the original model: Apple Watch Ultra 2 vs Apple Watch Ultra.

Apple Watch Ultra 2 rumor cycle

Rumors surrounding the Apple Watch in 2023 were limited at best. Most focused on the refreshed SiP.

Rumors assumed Apple would introduce black titanium Rumors assumed Apple would introduce black titanium for the Apple Watch Ultra 2

Many rumors suggested Apple would reveal a new black color option for the Apple Watch Ultra 2. That didn't come to pass, and it isn't clear why Apple avoided a new color.

Last minute details revealed Apple would include a second-generation Ultra Wideband chip for better precision finding. Otherwise, analysts like Mark Gurman insisted that 2023 would be a quiet year for watch outside of watchOS 10, and he was right.

Apple Watch Ultra 2 price and release date

Pre-orders began immediately after the event on September 12, 2023. Initial deliveries and in-store availability started on September 22.

Apple didn't increase the price of Apple Watch Ultra 2, nor did it introduce new colors or materials. The only option customers get when choosing Apple Watch Ultra is the choice of watch band.

Apple Watch Ultra 2 is $799 and comes in a natural titanium color. It includes a cellular radio by default.