FAQ: watchOS 7

Try the new­est watchOS early this year.

iPad&iPhone user - - CONTENTS - Michael Si­mon re­ports

It’s not just the iPhone and the Mac that are get­ting sweet new fea­tures in the au­tumn. Ap­ple also un­veiled the new­est watchOS fea­tures that are com­ing to the Ap­ple Watch, and there are some ma­jor changes in store. Here’s ev­ery­thing we know so far.

What are the new fea­tures? Com­pli­ca­tions

Ap­ple hasn’t un­veiled any new watch faces just yet – we as­sume those are com­ing with the Se­ries

6 up­date likely due later this year – but there are ma­jor changes com­ing to the ex­ist­ing faces. You’ll be able to set more than one com­pli­ca­tion per app, so de­vel­op­ers will be able to of­fer more than just a sin­gle op­tion. For ex­am­ple, a weather app could of­fer com­pli­ca­tions for tem­per­a­ture, con­di­tions, UV in­dex and wind speed, which would all be avail­able on the same face.

To get things started, Ap­ple has added a cou­ple of new com­pli­ca­tions of its own, in­clud­ing a tachymeter on the Chrono­graph Pro and a sin­gle gi­ant com­pli­ca­tion on the min­i­mal X-Large face. We ex­pect more will be added be­fore watchOS 7 launches in the au­tumn.

Watch faces

Ap­ple still isn’t al­low­ing for cus­tom faces, but we’re get­ting the next best thing: watch face shar­ing. You’ll now be able to share your favourite faces – com­plete with all of your com­pli­ca­tions and colour choices – with your friends, ei­ther di­rectly or through so­cial me­dia. De­vel­op­ers will be able to of­fer spe­cial­ized faces based on their own apps that you can down­load right to your watch.

Sleep track­ing

If there’s one fea­ture we’ve wanted since the days of the orig­i­nal solid-gold Ap­ple Watch, it’s sleep track­ing.

And we’re fi­nally get­ting it in watchOS 7. Sleep track­ing is part of a larger fo­cus on sleep health in iOS 14 that works with your iPhone to de­velop habits that will help you sleep longer.

Sleep track­ing on watchOS 7 is part of the iPhone’s new Sleep Mode, which will limit ac­cess to cho­sen apps so you can be­gin pre­par­ing for sleep. Once your set bed­time is reached, your Ap­ple Watch will en­ter Do Not Dis­turb mode and the screen will no longer wake when raised or tapped. Ad­di­tion­ally, a new Wind Down fea­ture as­sists you in es­tab­lish­ing a bed­time rou­tine with short­cuts that help you re­lax, such as open­ing a med­i­ta­tion app or dim­ming your Philips Hue lights. It’ll even play a short lul­laby when it is time for bed, and hap­tics will help wake you up.

In ad­di­tion to help­ing you get to sleep and wake up, watchOS 7 will also keep track of how much you sleep. Each morn­ing you’ll get a chart show­ing your time in bed and your time asleep, and your watch will of­fer charg­ing re­minders both be­fore you go to sleep and af­ter you wake up, in case your lev­els are too low. You’ll also see weekly and monthly trends, and heart-rate data to get a com­plete pic­ture of your sleep health.

Fit­ness

Ap­ple is bring­ing four new work­outs to the Fit­ness app on the Ap­ple Watch. Func­tional strength train­ing and core train­ing are for hard­core ath­letes; cool-down tracks your post-work­out stretching reg­i­men; and dance, which uses ‘ad­vanced sen­sor fu­sion’ to de­tect when just your arms or just your legs are mov­ing, or when ev­ery­thing is groov­ing at once so it can de­liver an ac­cu­rate car­dio

read­ing. Ap­ple is also re­nam­ing the Ac­tiv­ity app in iOS to Fit­ness and giv­ing it a cleaner in­ter­face.

Hand­wash­ing

Since the ef­fects of the coron­avirus pan­demic will likely be felt for years to come, watchOS 7 is bring­ing au­to­matic hand-wash­ing de­tec­tion to the Ap­ple Watch by us­ing the watch’s mo­tion sen­sors, mi­cro­phone, and on-de­vice ma­chine learn­ing. When your watch de­tects that you’ve started wash­ing, it’ll start a 20-sec­ond counter and gen­tly chide you if you fin­ish up too quickly. And so you don’t for­get, your watch will even prompt you to wash up when you get home.

Hear­ing

Build­ing on the Noise app in­tro­duced in watchOS 6, Ap­ple will now of­fer weekly lis­ten­ing sum­maries to show how long you’ve lis­tened to high-deci­bel sounds. And you’ll get head­phone au­dio no­ti­fi­ca­tions that will let you know if you’re lis­ten­ing to your tunes at dan­ger­ous lev­els. When to­tal lis­ten­ing with head­phones has reached 100 per cent of the safe weekly lis­ten­ing amount – which is 80 deci­bels for about 40 hours per week ac­cord­ing to the WHO – your Ap­ple Watch will send a no­ti­fi­ca­tion let­ting you know that the vol­ume has au­to­mat­i­cally been low­ered to pro­tect your hear­ing.

Siri

Ap­ple’s as­sis­tant has a few new tricks up its sleeve in watchOS 7. When you ask it to say some­thing in another lan­guage, it will use the speaker to say the word aloud. It also sup­ports Siri short­cuts so you can eas­ily run one from your wrist and dic­ta­tion is now pro­cessed on your watch, which means re­sponses are quicker and more ac­cu­rate.

Maps

Ap­ple Watch is pick­ing up cy­cling di­rec­tions so you can fol­low the safest path when rid­ing, along with route

op­tions that sug­gest dif­fer­ent paths, depend­ing on how long you want your trip to be. It’ll also let you know if there’s any ob­sta­cles that re­quire you to get off your bike and you can search along your route if you need a drink or a fill-up.

Sup­ported de­vices

Ap­ple isn’t sup­port­ing as many watches as last year. You’ll need an Ap­ple Watch Se­ries 3 or later. That means Ap­ple Watch Se­ries 1 and Se­ries 2 are stuck on watchOS 6 for­ever.

Pub­lic beta

Nor­mally, you’d need ac­cess to a de­vel­oper ac­count to get the watchOS beta, but for the first time, Ap­ple will be of­fer­ing it to the pub­lic. When it ar­rives in July, you’ll be able to sign up at Ap­ple’s Beta Soft­ware Pro­gramme site (beta.ap­ple.com), down­load a new pro­file, and in­stall it on your watch. As­sum­ing it works the same way as the iOS beta, you’ll be signed up for fu­ture watchOS 7 be­tas as well, even af­ter the of­fi­cial re­lease lands in the au­tumn.

Watch face com­pli­ca­tions are get­ting a ma­jor up­grade in watchOS 7

The Ap­ple Watch will fi­nally be able to track sleep na­tively in watchOS 7

watchOS 7 will turn your dances into fit­ness cred­its

When you start wash­ing your hands, your Ap­ple Watch will know

Your Ap­ple Watch will be a great com­pan­ion for your bike rides

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