Everything you need to know about watchOS 9: version, features, etc.


Source: Pocketnow, Apple

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At WWDC 2022, Apple provided developers and users of its products with a preview of updates coming to its line of devices. We already have articles covering iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 on Pocketnow, and in this article we’ll be looking at all the new things coming to Apple Watch in the coming months with watchOS 9.

New watch faces

watchOS 9 New Watch Faces Source: Pocketnow, Apple

Everything the Apple Watch does starts with one thing, the watch face. And like previous versions, watchOS 9 introduces new options that users can apply and experiment with. These are Lunar, Playtime, Metropolitan and Astronomy. The final option on this list is a remaster of a previously available watch face.

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Apart from these changes, Apple claims to have modernized the complications on the faces of their Utility, Simple and Activity Analog watches. And even offer a new background color edition for Modular, Compact Modular and X-Large models. Also, you might already know about iOS 16 marquee lock screen customization; well, elements of that are also making their way to Apple Watch, with the Portrait face now able to show depth as well.

Focus has also been extended to the Apple Watch, as users can associate watch faces with specific focus modes to better organize their devices.

Workout app improvements

New watchOS 9 workout screens Source: Pocketnow, Apple

Next comes the workout app, redesigned to show richer metrics to help you measure your performance. The digital crown still plays its role as a navigation tool through the different views. Apple has also added the ability to monitor workout intensity with heart rate zones. You can create them manually or let them be generated automatically through ratings performed by Apple Watch.

The watchOS 9 update also adds custom workouts, allowing users to create structured sessions that include work and rest intervals. It’s also possible to add pace, power, heart rate and cadence alerts to guide a workout.

If you’re a triathlete, there’s even a new multisport workout that uses the wearable’s motion sensors to switch between different stages by automatically recognizing movement patterns.

Improvements for runners

New watchOS 9 operating features Source: Pocketnow, Apple

If you’re a runner, watchOS 9 brings new form metrics into the equation for users to analyze. The measurements in question are stride length, ground contact time and vertical oscillation. Users can integrate them into workout views on the watch or see them in the Fitness app summary and Health app.

Users can also run their best or last result on frequently used routes. The Apple Watch will provide alerts during the workout, letting you know if you’re ahead or behind, even if your course changes. And finally there’s a built-in pacer that uses a distance and time target to calculate the pace, which will need to be maintained – there will be pace alerts during such a run.

Swimming improvements

For swimmers, Kickboard detection is part of the metrics as a new stroke type for pool swim training. The Apple Watch will automatically detect when a kickboard is being used and provide a classification in the workout summary. There’s even a SWOLF score available to help track effectiveness.

Better insight into sleep

New sleep watchOS 9 Source: Pocketnow, Apple

Apple Watch and its sleep tracking have been pretty rudimentary compared to its competitors. In its current form, the wearable can only track sleep within a defined window and only provides information on time awake and time asleep. But with watchOS 9, users will now be able to access more detailed information through Sleep Stages. So, in addition to sleep time, users will get metrics like heart rate, respiratory rate, and sleep stages – REM, Core, or Deep.

History of atrial fibrillation

History of atrial fibrillation watchOS 9 Source: Pocketnow, Apple

With watchOS 9, Apple improves its AFib detection feature by implementing an FDA-approved AFib history component. The feature includes an estimate of how often a user’s heart shows signs of atrial fibrillation. Data collected by Apple Watch is supplemented with notifications to understand frequency and PDFs with detailed history, shareable with doctors and healthcare providers.

Medications

Medication MonitoringOS 9 Source: Pocketnow, Apple

And the latest significant improvement to Apple Watch is the Medicine experience that extends from the iPhone. This system aims to allow users to manage their medication list with schedules and reminders. The Apple Watch version is more subtle and will provide unobtrusive notifications.

US Medications users can also access information about interactions between medications they have added to the Health app.

Calendar and Dock watchOS 9 Source: Pocketnow, Apple

Dock, which displays favorite apps on the Apple Watch, now places actively used ones at the top of the list. The goal is to allow users to quickly access open applications by pressing the side button.

Calendar, which could only show upcoming events on Apple Watch, has also been updated with the ability to create new events. Additionally, users can now also view their events in updated List, Day, and Month views.

AppleFitness+ now provides more on-screen information, the service showing on-screen guidance and coach coaching to help users get the most out of their workouts. The new metrics will be available HIIT, cycling, rowing and treadmill.

QWERTY keyboard on Apple Watch Series 7 now supports six additional languages: French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese (Brazil) and Spanish (Mexico, Spain, Latin America).

Reminders will allow users to add and edit critical details such as date, time, location, tags and notes that have been previously created.

Notice will appear in smaller banner entities when the Apple Watch is used to track workouts or perform other activities.

Quick Actions now have a new double pinch gesture to perform actions such as answering or ending a phone call, capturing an image, playing or pausing media, or resuming a workout.

Release date

Tim Cook in front of the iOS macOS watchOS label Source: Apple

If you want to try out the new features, watchOS 9 is currently available through a developer beta, with a public beta scheduled for July. The full update is expected to go live this fall, alongside the hardware announcements found at September’s Keynote event.

Compatibility

With watchOS 9, Apple is finally dropping support for the Apple Watch Series 3. Thus, reducing the number of supported devices to the five models below.

  • Apple Watch Series 4
  • Apple Watch Series 5
  • Apple Watch Series 6
  • Apple WatchSE
  • Apple Watch Series 7

The devices mentioned above must be paired with iPhone models running iOS 16.

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