watchOS 7, the next major software update for Apple Watch, was unveiled today at the 2020 Worldwide Developers Conference. It will ship with new features including sleep tracking, watch face sharing, and much more.
watchOS 7 Features and Compatibility
Since the release of the Apple Watch in 2015, sleep tracking has been a highly requested feature from users. With watchOS 7, the Health app now has a Sleep-tracking feature to help users get the amount of required sleep they need and to get to bed on time. Users can also choose whether to wake up via a silent haptic alarm or gentle sounds. Sleep tracking works through the detection of micro-movements from the watch’s accelerometer, which shows respiration during sleep.
A new Wind Down allows users to create a personalized routine to go to sleep. Your phone will go into Do Not Disturb mode automatically right before your set bed time. You can also customize a few shortcuts to pop up if you would like to listen to an Apple Music playlist before bed or if you would like to meditate. Following the set bed time, your Apple Watch will go in sleep mode.
Automatic hand washing detection
Following the COVID-19 pandemic, watchOS 7 offers automatic hand washing 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.
New workout types
watchOS 7 brings four new workout types to the Workout app: Core training, Dance, Functional Strength Training, and Cooldown.
Apple uses advanced sensor fusion, data from the heart rate sensor, and information from the gyroscope and accelerometer to correctly measure the number of calories burned for Dance.
The Activity app on iPhone has been redesigned and is now called Fitness. The app provides a concise amount of information about Workouts, daily Activity and Awards on one tab, and Activity Sharing and Activity Competitions on another.
With the new watchOS update, users can understand how loudly they are listening to media through their headphones on their iPhone, Apple Watch, or iPod touch. This will help them understand the impact of listening to loud volumes through headphones, over time. Users will also be able to see how long they have been exposed to high decibel levels weekly, in the Health app and they can also control the maximum level for headphone volume.
Watch Face Customization and Sharing
With the new watchOS, users will be able to customize their Apple Watch with new watch faces. The new update also offers a new feature, complications, which is an on-screen widget for the Apple Watch. Now developers can use more than one complication on a single watch face.
Additionally, users will be able to share their watch faces via a new feature called Face Sharing. These will be available in the Apple Watch app store and can be shared between users or as links on social media sites.
watchOS 7 compatibility
In a blog post, Apple confirmed which Apple Watches will be getting the new update:
- Apple Watch series 5
- Apple Watch series 4
- Apple Watch series 3.
This means that Apple Watch series 1 and Apple Watch series 2 owners will not be able to update their Watch to the latest version of watchOS.