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New Apple Watch Ultra bands work with other Apple Watch models, too

Apple's new watchbands are not as Ultra-exclusive as you may think.
Written by Christina Darby, Associate Editor
Jason Hiner/ZDNET

Apple just unveiled the Watch Ultra which features the largest battery ever on an Apple Watch and enhanced features for marathoners, divers, and other extreme outdoor athletes. But what seemingly stood out just as much as the actual watch were the thoughtfully-designed and seemingly comfortable watch bands. 

So, let's say you don't need all the bells and whistles of the Apple Watch Ultra -- and, frankly, don't want to spend $799 on a smartwatch -- but one of those stretchy watch bands sounds nice for your outdoor pursuits. I have the good news... for some.

Also: How to pre-order Apple Watch Series 8, SE, and Ultra and find the best deals

Will the Apple Watch Ultra bands work with other, older Apple Watch models?

According to Apple, the Watch Ultra bands are backward compatible with other Watch models, as long as your current (or new) watch case is 44 or 45mm. That means compatibility includes the other two new watches, Apple Watch Series 8 and SE, with the former available in a 45mm option, and the latter in a 44mm option.


Here's the exact message from Apple's website.

Screenshot: Apple

That said, if you're unfamiliar with what the new Ultra watch bands are and what makes them unique, here's a rundown:

Jason Hiner/ZDNET

The Alpine Loop, designed for hikers and mountain climbers in rugged conditions comes in Starlight, Green, and Orange. With two woven textile layers (instead of stitching) and a lightweight titanium "G" shaped hook (instead of a buckle), the Alpine Loop band has a secure hook and can last through any element.

Jason Hiner/ZDNET

Designed with runners in mind, the cushiony Trail Loop is thin, made from soft nylon and has a pull tab for quick adjustments. The band is dual-colored and comes in pairings of Yellow/Beige, Blue/Gray, and Black/Gray. If you're a runner and/or always find yourself on the go, the Trail Loop is a practical and comfort-fitting option.

Jason Hiner/ZDNET

The Ocean Band is a sturdy option for those who thrive underwater. Designed to fit even over a wetsuit, the Ocean Band was designed to prevent constricting and tightening of materials around the wrist in wet environments. This is mostly thanks to its elastomer material. The band also has an adjustable loop with a thin titanium buckle to secure your fit and comes in Yellow, White, or Midnight. 


Will the Apple Ultra band fit the Apple Watch 7?

As long as your Apple Watch case is 44mm, 45mm, or 49mm, it will be compatible with the new Ultra bands.

How do I know what size my Apple Watch is?

On the back of your Apple Watch case, there is an engraving with the case size information. The engraving text is usually wrapped around the back sensor and shows you the series and size. 

How big is the Apple Watch Ultra?

The Apple Watch Ultra case is 49mm. You can get the Ultra bands, however, in Small, Medium, or Large sizes.  

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