Apple has officially unveiled the future of the Apple Watch software with watchOS 9. While not a dramatic leap forward, it does offer a number of improvements for the wearable device.
Here are some of the best new features of watchOS 9.
1. New and Revamped Watch Faces
Watch faces are always a popular way to customize your Apple Watch. So it’s no surprise that Apple unveiled three completely new faces and revamped a beautiful option.
The popular Astronomy watch face is getting a new look to take advantage of the larger Apple Watch display to show cloud coverage around the world. That joins three new faces in watchOS 9. With Metropolitan, you can rotate the Digital Crown and see the style change. As you could probably tell by the name, Lunar features timekeeping using moon faces. Finally, Playtime is a fun collaboration with artist Joi Fulton.
And the great Portraits face is also getting better as you can now see the depth effect on photos of cats, dogs, and landscapes.
2. A Better Workout App
Most Apple Watch users probably know the great workout app. And it’s getting more features with watchOS 9.
When working out, you can see more information including Activity ring information, heart rate zones, and more. Just turn the Digital Crown. Heart rate zones are calculated automatically using your health data. You can also create them manually. Speaking of customization, you can create work and recovery intervals for yourself.
You can also see if you are on pace to meet a goal and make use of dynamic pacing. Runners can also see new metrics like stride length, ground contact time, and vertical oscillation.
For more information on the current version, take a look at our primer on how to use the Workout app on Apple Watch.
3. A New Medications App
Working alongside the iPhone Health app, the Medications app will let you manage medications, vitamins, and supplements.
You can create a custom schedule for medications and even create reminders so you’ll never forget a dose. In the United States, users can also see if there are potential critical actions with other medications.
4. More Information in the Sleep App
Wearing an Apple Watch to bed can help anyone better understand their sleep routine with the Sleep app. And watchOS 9 will add Sleep Stages. Thanks to the accelerometer and heart rate data, the app will show when you are in REM, Core, or Deep Sleep.
The Health app will also allow you to see how metrics like heart rate and respiratory rate change throughout a night’s sleep.
5. AFib History
AFib is a serious condition that can lead to a stroke if untreated. The Apple Watch uses the ECG app and irregular rhythm notifications to help inform wearers of potential issues.
With watchOS 9, anyone who has been diagnosed with the condition can use the AFib History feature. That will show an estimate of how frequently a heart rhythm is shown to be in AFib. It will also provide a notification to show frequency. You can also see detailed information in the Health app on the iPhone and even download and share a detailed history of AFib. All of that will help a user better manage the condition.
The New watchOS 9 Will Officially Arrive This Fall
You can officially download watchOS 9 sometime this fall. It will go through a developer and public beta testing period.
The software will be available for the Apple Watch Series 4 and later.
Improving the Overall watchOS Experience
As the Apple Watch continues to mature, Apple is doing a great job making the wearable device even easier to use. And watchOS 9 will surely make Apple Watch users smile with the new features and other improvements.