(Cybertech) – watchOS 7 is here.
Here you’ll find everything you need to know about the features on your Apple Watch with watchOS 7.
You can now download watchOS 7. In your Apple Watch app, check General > Software Update. The Watch Series 6 and Watch SE will also ship with the new software.
watchOS 7 key features
Here are some of the best features in watchOS 7 as well as our first-hand impressions of them from our testing of the beta version of the watchOS software.
With watchOS 7, developers will be able to offer more customisable complications for their apps, as well as more than one complication per app.
For example, Glow Baby could offer complications including bottle-feeding, breastfeeding, pumping statistics and nap times, allowing parents to select the complication that best suits what they need.
Meanwhile, Dawn Patrol could offer complications for the tide, wind speed and water temperature, allowing surfers to select what they want.
New face Chronograph Pro includes a tachymeter to calculate speed based on time travelled over a fixed distance, while there’s a new X-Large one which means you can have a large clock plus a single super-sized complication.
The Photos face also has the option of adding a colour filter – this actually helps your ability to see complications and text on top of the image providing you choose an appropriate colour.
Users will also be able to share their uniquely configured watch faces in watchOS 7. So, if a friend has a watch face layout you want, they can share it with you via a URL or message – this is really easy to do.
Cleverly, the recipient will be offered to download any apps they need to make the complications work.
Apple Maps can now give turn-by-turn directions for cyclists. It works best on cycling paths and can warn riders about steep inclines or stairs. You can also select an option to avoid stairs altogether. It will only be available in select cities at launch – New York, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Shanghai and Beijing in China, but Apple said it will come to more cities in the future.
When using the cycling direction mode, Maps will direct you when to dismount and walk the bike or take the stairs to save time.
The Activity app has been rebranded as a new Fitness app in watchOS 7 (to go with the new version in iOS 14) and new workout tracking has been added. The software update will bring Dance tracking, including Bollywood, Cardio dance, Hip-hop and Latin dance, as well as workout tracking for core training, functional strength training, and cooldowns.
WatchOS 7 adds the ability to track your sleeping habits and incorporates the ‘Bedtime’ features we’ve seen on the iPhone. The idea is you set a sleep goal, bedtime and wake up time (with alarm) to make sure you go to sleep and wake up on time.
As part of this Apple Watch offers silent haptic alarm if your watch is set to silent or gentle sounds, while the wake-up screen will show the battery. If you have sleep tracking turned on yet the battery is too low close to bedtime, Apple Watch will remind you to charge it.
Sleep tracking will use the detection of micro-movements from the Apple Watch’s accelerometer to capture when you are sleeping and how much sleep you are getting, but that’s only part of the story – you can still use the app even if you don’t use the Sleep Tracking part.
You’ll see a visualisation of your previous night’s sleep when you wake up in the morning and there will also be a chart available showing your weekly sleep trend.
Wind Down mode
A new Wind Down mode is also in watchOS 7 as part of the Sleep app, working with your iPhone to help you wind down for bed – as the name suggests. 45 minutes before your scheduled bedtime is the suggested period.
You can do things like snooze notifications (basically Do Not Disturb) open meditation apps, or turn on a music playlist. You can even activate smart home presets.
Siri and translate
WatchOS 7 will give you access to many of the new Siri updates that are coming with iOS 14. The new on-device dictation should improve voice-to-text messaging and results to search queries. You can use the new translation features to hold conversations in other languages directly from your wrist and the Apple Watch will also support Announce Messages with Siri.
In watchOS 7 your Apple Watch can tell – automatically – when you begin washing your hands, simply by the motion of your hands and the sound of water running. We found you do need to enable it in Settings first though.
Once the watch detects you’re washing your hands, it will start a countdown to make sure you wash your hands for as long as recommended by health officials – 20 seconds.
If you stop washing your hands before the 20 seconds is up, you’ll be prompted to keep going and you’ll be reminded to wash your hands when you return home too. Your handwashing habits will be stored in the Health app.
The WHO recommends that humans only listen to sounds above 80 decibels for 40 hours a week, which, coincidentally, is easy to do if you’re an avid headphone user.
With watchOS 7, your Apple Watch will let you know once you’ve reached that limit in a given week, and it’ll give you options to protect your hearing. This will probably be annoying for some but will promote long term health, of course.
Writing by Maggie Tillman and Dan Grabham.