At its first online-only WWDC event, Apple officially unveiled the next-generation Apple Watch operating system, watchOS 7. The new version of the watchOS brings notable improvements as well as much-awaited features to Apple’s wearable platform. Some of the new additions in watchOS 7 include customizable watch faces, new complications, sleep tracking support, cycling directions, more workout types, Siri improvements, and better privacy.
watchOS 7 is compatible with Apple Watch Series 3 and newer watches released after that. Apple has already released a few developer beta of watchOS 7 and the final version will be released as a free software update this fall. You can find the steps on how to download and install watchOS 7 on the Apple Watch here. If you have not already, also read about all the new iOS 14 features and how you can install the public beta on your iPhone. Now, let’s take a look at all the new watchOS 7 features.
1. New Watch Faces
Everything you do on the Apple Watch starts with the watch face. With watchOS 7, watch faces are more customizable, powerful, and discoverable than ever. watchOS 7 will also include the Chronograph Pro face with a tachymeter which can display details on speed based on time traveled over a distance.
2. Powerful New Complications
Apple is bringing more customizability to watch faces and you can add complications from as many apps as they want. Watch owners can now access multiple complications and infinitely customize the look based on their priorities and interests. For example, if you’re a surfer, you can get the swell size, water temperature, and wind speed from a single app.
This comes as a direct development of the Infograph, which allowed up to 8 complications and first appeared on the Apple Watch Series 4.
3. Share Watch Faces
Did you like that perfect watch face on your friend’s Apple Watch? Prior to watchOS 7, you would have to ask him that particular configuration and then try to emulate it on your own Watch. Thankfully, watchOS 7 takes care of this hassle. Users can now share a watch face by texting, emailing, or posting a link online. You can also discover new watch faces from the App Store or from the web. Your friend can now share the layout and you can simply adapt that arrangement on your Apple Watch.
4. Sleep Monitoring
Native Sleep tracking using Apple Watch has been one of the most requested features from the users. Apple finally listened to growing feedback and implemented Sleep monitoring in watchOS 7.
This feature automatically measures your sleep time through accelerometer and gyro information and offers insightful data such as sleep quality, sleep goal completion, a period when a user was awake, average sleep time, and average time in bed. It shows sleep record over a period of time such as a week or a month. All the data is encrypted and synced between compatible devices that are tied to the same iCloud account.
5. Detailed Sleep Chart
Users can see a sleep analysis chart every morning showing how much they’ve slept in the past week and their quality of sleep.
6. Bedtime Reminders and Wake Up Sounds
This is straight from the iOS 14 update. You can set the Bedtime mode on your phone and it will sync with the Apple Watch as well. You can set your sleep and wake time schedules, and create pre-bedtime routines to meet your sleep goals.
7. Improved Do Not Disturb Mode
In Sleep mode, the Apple Watch automatically turns on Do Not Disturb and keeps the screen from waking. These features are enabled for the entire sleep schedule that’s set up.
8. Wake Up Notifications
You can start your morning with a weather report and your battery level. If you get up before your alarm, you’ll be asked if you want to turn it off.
9. Wind Down Feature
Wound up? Wind Down assists you in establishing a bedtime routine with shortcuts that help you relax, like opening a meditation app and dimming your lights. In short, the Wind Down feature helps a user prepare for sleep, while routines in the Home app can help to turn the lights off so that an Apple Watch user can gently go to sleep.
10. Wake-up Sounds and Alerts
Alarms on watchOS 7 allow users to wake up using gentle audio or haptic feedback, which buzzes so you don’t disturb your partner early in the morning.
11. Charge and Recharge Reminders
If your Apple Watch battery is below 30 percent near bedtime, you’ll get a reminder to charge. If you charge after waking up, you’ll get an iPhone notification when you’re at 100 percent. Another neat implementation by Apple.
Sleep Mode does use the battery at night, but as long as there’s time to charge in the morning while you get ready for the day, it doesn’t make a serious impact on battery life.
12. New Workout Types
Fitness freaks, rejoin. Apple has added four new workout types in the watchOS 7. Now you can accurately track your fitness metrics for Dance, Functional Strength Training, Core Training, and even your post-workout Cooldown. It uses data from the Apple Watch’s accelerometer, gyrosensor, and the heart rate monitor to accurately measure these workouts.
13. Handwashing Detection Mode
This can be handy in today’s times. Apple added a new handwashing detection feature that listens for the sounds of running water and then starts a 20-second timer to help you wash your hands for the appropriate amount of time.
14. Handwash Complete Notification
Apple Watch uses haptic feedback to remind you when the 20 seconds are completed. The countdown is shown in bubble-like letters, with haptic feedback and a “Well Done” message when handwashing is complete.
15. Home Reminder to Wash Hands
With watchOS 7, Apple Watch reminds you to wash hands when you get home.
16. New Fitness App
With new fitness-related additions, Apple has renamed the Activity App as Fitness in watchOS 7.
17. Summary In Fitness App
The redesigned Fitness app on iPhone shows daily activity, workouts, awards, and activity trends all on one “Summary” page rather than having that information spread across several tabs.
18. Compete and Share
The Fitness app on watchOS syncs all the data to the Apple Health app on the iPhone. You can compete with your friends and see your activity competitions and activity sharing information in one place.
19. Cycling in Maps
Apple is trying to bring cycling directions to all of its products. It has been integrated into the Apple Maps app for iOS 14, iPadOS 14, and macOS Big Sur. With watchOS 7, you can see cycling directions on the Apple Watch. It shows information such as elevation, traffic, and the presence of bike lanes.
20. Search Along Your Route
If you need a pick-me-up or a pit stop, you can search for nearby places like cafés or bike shops and add them to your route.
21. Multiple Route Options
Users can choose cycling directions that take them the quickest to the destination, the most direct path, or a route that avoids steep hills. Simply Choose the one that works for you: fastest, shortest, or suggested.
22. Know What’s Ahead in Maps
If your route requires getting off your bike, you’ll see instructions like ‘dismount and walk’ or ‘take the stairs’ on your Apple Watch.
23. Use Siri to Translate Languages on Apple Watch
Apple is introducing its own language translation feature with iOS 14, iPadOS 14, macOS Big Sur, and watchOS 7. There’s no dedicated app on watchOS 7, but you can quickly use Siri for language conversion. You can use the Apple Watch’s microphone to dictate words and sentences and ask Siri to convert it to another language (from the set of supported languages).
24. Ten Language Support for Siri on Apple Watch
Siri on Apple Watch can translate into 10 languages including Spanish, English, Japanese, Arabic, Chinese, and Russian.
25. On-device Detection
All the dictation is handled on the device through the Apple Neural Engine, making requests faster and more reliable.
26. Siri Shortcuts on Apple Watch
With watchOS 7, you have a quicker way to run shortcuts you’ve created on your iPhone. You can even add them as complications on your watch face.
27. Announce Incoming Messages
Siri can also be used to announce incoming messages on the Apple Watch running watchOS 7. I’m not sure how many of you will find it useful.
28. Safe Weekly Listening Notification
watchOS 6 introduced the Noise app. watchOS 7 sends you a notification have your headphone volume reduced to a safe level when you reach the World Health Organization’s recommended safe weekly listening dose.
29. Weekly Listening Summary
You can now see how long you’ve listened to high-decibel sounds each week in the Health app on iPhone.
30. Improved Privacy
Continuing on Apple’s focus on user data privacy, Apple claims that all of your activity, fitness, and health-related data is encrypted on the device or in iCloud. Your data is always in your control with watchOS 7.
31. New Watch Face Edit Menu
In watchOS 6, when you long tap on the watch face, it used to offer Customize menu. Now, you will see the Edit option with the share button to share the watch face.
32. No Dot Indicator in Watch Face Customization Menu
With watchOS 6, you used to get a small dot indicator at the top to navigate among customization options. watchOS 7 removes that and now you can only see the customization name such as Timescale, Color, etc. at the top.
33. New Color Pallet With Live Preview
watchOS 7 shows the live color picker with the color name in the customization menu.
34. New Complications Picker Menu
watchOS 7 offers a new vertically scrolling Complications picker menu to customize the watch face.
35. Access Complications from the Always On Display
With watchOS 7, you can directly tap on the complication to see the details. No need to wake up screen first.
36. Battery Health in Apple Watch
Similar to the iPhone, you can now see the battery health of your Apple Watch from the watchOS 7 Settings menu.
37. Optimized Battery Charging for Apple Watch
Similar to iOS and macOS, Apple now offers Optimized Battery Charging for Apple Watch as well. It helps to reduce battery aging by learning your charging habits and limiting the battery charging level to 80%.
38. Announce Messages by Siri
With watchOS 7, you can have Siri read out messages when 2nd generation AirPods and some beats headphones are connected to your iPhone.
39. Redesigned Siri
Siri on watchOS 7 borrows the new look from iOS 14.
40. Microphone Use Indicator
Similar to iOS 14, you will get an orange dot at the upper right corner indicating an app is accessing microphone on Apple Watch.
41. New Toggles in Control Centre
watchOS 7 has added a couple of new toggles in the Control Centre for Bedtime and Announce Messages by Siri.
42. Delete Toggles in Control Centre
Users can now finally delete toggle in the Control Centre. You will see an Edit button in the Control Centre. Tap on it and it will allow you to remove unwanted toggles from the Control Centre.
43. Timer in Camera Remote
You can now have a 3 second of time in the camera remote app in the watchOS 7. It’s quite useful in certain situations.
44. New Message Button in the Messages App
In the watchOS 7 Messages app, you will see a New Message button at the top of the conversations. Simply tap on it and start composing messages.
45. Tweaks to the Weather App
You can now set the weather app to showcase Temperature or Conditions or Precipitation by default on the main screen.
46. Send Location From Your Apple Watch
watchOS 7 Messages app now allows you to share your current location with another contact.
47. View Contact Details
With watchOS 7, you can now view the contact details in the Messages app.
48. Redesigned Wallet App
The new Wallet app in watchOS 7 showcases full cards and not just a stack of cards like watchOS 6. Welcome improvement.
49. More Viewing Options in the Stock App
Similar to the Weather app, you can now select either Points or Market Cap or Percentage to display in the main Stock menu.
50. Faster Performance and Smoother Animations
The watchOS 7 feels smoother and quicker compared to watchOS 6. The switching between apps and general navigation is more intuitive now.
Overall, watchOS 7 is turning out to be a solid upgrade for Apple Watch users. The final version of the software will arrive in full this autumn for Apple Watch Series 3 to Series 5 paired with iPhone 6s or later running iOS 14. Speaking of iOS 14, don’t forget to check out the 100+ new iOS 14 features for iPhone that we have discovered so far. Which watchOS 7 feature is your favorite one? Sound off in the comments section below.