Of the three big Apple events of the year, WWDC is the most reliable: in each of the past 15 Junes, like clockwork, Apple has held a big get-together for its developer partners and announced a raft of important software updates. The September iPhone launch and the March/April spring event seem almost unpredictable by comparison.
In this article, we list the major announcements (and some of the smaller titbits) you can expect to hear at WWDC 2022 this June. Some of these–updates to the five big Apple operating systems, most obviously–are as predictable as the timing of the event. But we reckon Apple will spring a few surprises too.
As for when WWDC will confirm that WWDC 2022 will kick off on Monday 6 June with a keynote. This year it will be possible for some developers and students to watch the keynote live, but space will be limited. Details of how to apply will be available on the Apple Developer site and app soon.
Read on to find out more about WWDC 2022.
What is WWDC?
It stands for Worldwide Developers Conference and is theoretically all about the third-party software developers that create apps for Apple's platforms: iPhone, iPad, Mac, and so on. The company invites a bunch of devs round to its campus (or, more recently, gives them access to an online-only event) and talks to them about the system-wide changes coming to those platforms in the coming year so they're prepared. There are speeches, networking events and workshops.
In reality, while devs are at the heart of the event, it's also a press event that Apple uses to announce its software plans to the world.
When will WWDC 2022 take place?
WWDC will begin on 6 June 2022, the keynote will start at 10 a.m. in California, 6 p.m. in the UK.
WWDC is a week-long gathering, beginning with a keynote speech on Monday morning (although it's evening for those of us watching in the UK) and carrying on for five days. It generally happens in the first fortnight of June, although world events led to a slight delay in 2020.
Here's when the last ten WWDC events have happened:
- WWDC 2021: 7-11 June
- WWDC 2020: 22-26 June
- WWDC 2019: 3-7 June
- WWDC 2018: 4-8 June
- WWDC 2017: 5-9 June
- WWDC 2016: 13-17 June
- WWDC 2015: 8-12 June
- WWDC 2014: 2-6 June
- WWDC 2013: 10-14 June
- WWDC 2012: 11-15 June
How to watch WWDC 2022 live
The last two WWDC events have been online-only. For 2022, some attendees will be able to attend. But whether you are there in person or connecting virtually, Apple will livestream the opening keynote speech for all on its website (check the events page) and elsewhere, such as on YouTube and possibly on Twitter, an experiment it tried a couple of years ago but didn't repeat in 2021.
You'll be able to watch the presentation on iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple TV, and even PC. For more detail, read How to watch WWDC live.
WWDC 2022 Special Event in person
Apple is holding a special in-person event on June 6 to kick off the 2022 Worldwide Developers Conference. At the event, you'll be able to watch the keynote and the State of the Union presentations. Apple says attendees will also be able to check out the new Developer Center and so much more. Attendance to this event is by invitation-only at the Apple Park headquarters in Cupertino.
From May 9 to May 11, Apple will accept submissions for people developers interested in attending the special event. Apple will randomly select from the submission and send invitations to those people. If you are a member of the Apple Developer Program, Apple Developer Enterprise Program, or a 2022 Swift Student Challenge you can apply. Learn more.
The headliner of the event simply because of the sheer number of iPhone owners across the planet. If you've got an iPhone that's sufficiently recent (iOS 15 runs on the iPhone 6s, so anyone with an iPhone 7 or later should be fine to get iOS 16) you'll be able to install the new version of iOS when it's released in the autumn of 2022.
But before then, there's a whole beta-testing cycle to get through. iOS 16 will be announced at WWDC 2022, then released as a developer beta (for registered app developers only) almost immediately after the keynote. Don't install this unless you're a developer, and also prepared for it to be unfinished; there could be serious flaws with the beta software and it might even brick your device.
Over the course of the next three months, this beta–and the public beta that will be released slightly later, and lag behind the developer one throughout the testing process–will be repeatedly tweaked, fixed and updated until we reach the finished iOS 16.0 public release in (probably) September.
Read about our expectations for iOS 16.
The accompanying update for iPad owners, iPadOS 16 is likely to incorporate most of the new features of iOS 16 but adapted to a larger-screen interface. When Apple's two mobile operating systems split in 2019 they were similar in most respects, but the iPad version is heading steadily into its own realm.
Get the low-down in What's coming in iPadOS 16.
What's Apple got in store for its follow-up to Monterey? We'll find out at WWDC 2022.
This should be macOS version 13.0, but don't take that for granted: Apple noodled around on a single version number for a barely conceivable 18 years, from macOS 10.0 (Cheetah) in 2001 to macOS 10.15 (Catalina) in 2019. But that nonsense does seem to be out of the system now, with the last two releases – macOS 11 Big Sur and macOS 12 Monterey – both getting their own number.
As for the California landmark that will lend its name to macOS 13.0, our money is on Mammoth. Read more in what's coming in macOS 13.
The new operating system for the Apple Watch will be revealed at WWDC 2022. This is more of a niche than the iPhone, iPad, and Mac updates discussed above but could bring important health and fitness features to Apple Watch owners around the world.
Last year's watchOS 8 update was available for those running a Series 3. If you've got a Series 4 or later you should be fine to get the 2022 update – and the Series 3 might even get one more year in the sun.
The lowest-profile of the five big Apple operating systems, tvOS is the platform that runs on the Apple TV.
Last year's tvOS 15 update added new Siri capabilities, multi-user recommendations, and the ability to screen-share programs with friends using SharePlay. What will we get this year? You'll find out at WWDC.
The big five may yet become the big six because Apple is rumored to be working on a new branded OS named homeOS. This would be a new name for the software that runs on the HomePod and HomePod mini, currently referred to as HomePod OS. Going to the trouble of rebranding the software would suggest that Apple wants to make more of a fuss of adding post-launch features to the HomePods in the future.
Mind you, since Apple discontinued the full-size HomePod last March, this would only run on a single device – which raises the question of where the company sees its smart-home strategy going in 2022. Has it got other homeOS-based products up its sleeve?
WWDC is a software-focused event, but Apple has often found time during its WWDC keynotes to launch hardware products too.
If that happens again, it's more likely to be Mac-related than anything for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch or AirPods fans. The iPhone 3GS did debut at WWDC back in 2009, but it's been pretty much Macs only ever since.
Apple presented the iMac Pro (although it didn't go on sale until later that year), alongside updates to the iMac, MacBook and MacBook Pro, at WWDC 2017; it announced a new Mac Pro and the Pro Display XDR in June 2019 (although they didn't go on sale until that December). And most recently, while no actual hardware products were released that year, Apple's transition from Intel to its own processors in the Mac range was revealed at WWDC 2020. That was the company's single biggest hardware announcement of the entire year.
What's in the hardware pipeline for Apple right now? Hot on the heels of the Mac Studio a new 27in iMac is now looking doubtful–Apple's just discontinued it–but never say never. Read 27in iMac discontinued, but not necessarily dead. Indeed, Apple may even launch a new iMac Pro.
Also in need of an update is the one remaining Mac mini, which many are hoping will get an M1 Pro chip. Read all about the new Mac mini.
There are also some pretty loud rumors about a new MacBook Air, perhaps with an M2 chip, and a 14in MacBook Pro also with the M2.
The new AirPods Pro will probably appear in autumn alongside the new iPhone 14 series, but who knows, we could see something sooner.
We'll update this article regularly in the run-up to WWDC, so check back from time to time to see the latest news.
For a broader view of the year's plans, check out our guide to the new Apple products coming in 2022.