Apple has recently released watchOS 7 to the public, Apple Watch owners can now take advantages of new features such as handwashing detection and sleep tracking functionality on their smartwatches.
The operating system, which was first revealed by Apple at WWDC 2020 in June, went through nine developer beta cycles and five public betas before its release. Now, members of the public who were not involved in any of the betas will be able to download and install the update to their own Apple Watch.
The sleep tracking system included in watchOS 7 will provide more data about how a user sleeps. By tracking small movements using the built-in accelerometer, users will be able to see how well they slept, as well as being able to keep track of their long-term sleep patterns.
To assist with getting a better night’s sleep, the Wind Down feature will allow the Apple Watch and iPhone to be used to make customized bedtime routines, that are set to trigger when a user should be heading to sleep. Following the set bedtime, the Apple Watch will go in sleep mode.
WatchOS 7 brings four new workout types to the Workout app: Core training, Dance, Functional Strength Training, and Cooldown.
To assist with tracking dancing, heart rate sensor and accelerometer data will be combined to provide more accurate calorie burn readings. The Health app will also gain more metrics to monitor everyday life, such as walking and stair speed, step length and gait asymmetry, walking distance, and low-range cardio fitness.
New Watch Faces and Sharing Features
The new Chronograph Pro watch face adds a tachymeter, used to calculate speed based on the time to travel a fixed distance. Developers can also add more than one complication per app to a single watch face.
Watch face sharing will also be a big change, allowing users to share their creations with others, via messages, URLs, or by a long press of the face on the Apple Watch itself. Apple will also be curating Apple Watch face configurations, which will be available to try out from the Apple Watch App Store.
Following the COVID-19 pandemic, watchOS 7 offers automatic handwashing detection. The Watch uses the sensors, microphone, and on-devices machine learning to automatically detect when a user is washing their hands. When this action is detected, a 20-second countdown timer will prompt users to wash their hands until the countdown ends.
The Health app on iPhone will show how often and for how long the user washed their hands, it will also provide information on how important hand washing is for the overall health of individuals.
The new Family Setup is exclusively designed for younger and older members of the family. watchOS 7 allows the adults of the family-like parents or grown-up children to know the whereabouts and activities of their loved one with an iPhone.
The features help in selecting the contacts a vulnerable family member can send and receive messages from, know their exact location via notifications, health activity, allow the users to make Memoji faces, offers a new school time mode to enable do not disturb like features to reduce distractions, a custom watch face to indicate that its time to learn.
Corresponding with updates made to Apple Maps on iOS, changes are also being made to reflect the watchOS 7 experience, including turn-by-turn directions prioritizing cycle routes. This includes being able to exclude routes with stairs, and warnings about steep inclines.
The update will be available to use on all models of Apple Watch from Series 3 onwards. Users can update to watchOS 7 by accessing the iOS Watch app and navigating to General then Software Update. The Apple Watch has to be at least 50% charged and placed on a charger within the range of the iPhone to install the update.