The watchOS 7 software update will bring several new features to the WatchOS 7 release date when it’s pushed out later this year. And the watchOS 7 beta is out now, so you don’t have to wait until the fall to try those features.
The new software will ship on the new Apple Watch 6 and offer compatibility with select older models, so you might be wondering what you can expect from the company’s refreshed wearable operating system. New workout presets, watch faces, a handwashing tool and sleep tracking are among the key features we’ve learned about so far.
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Although what we’ve seen of watchOS 7 thus dar isn’t a final product, it does tell us about what the next year of wearable computing will hold. As one of the best smartwatches and best fitness trackers around, the Apple Watch brand often paves the way for competitors with every new iteration.
Here’s everything we know about watchOS 7 so far, and what the refreshed system will bring to your current Apple Watch as well as the next-generation Apple Watch that’s debuting in the fall.
WatchOS 7 release date
Apple has not given watchOS 7 an official release date. However, we expect Apple will be vague about the watchOS 7 timeline (and the timelines of its other fall releases) given the rumored production delays. Whenever the Apple Watch 6 launches, watchOS 7 probably will, too.
Last year watchOS 6 became available to download in September and came pre-installed on the Apple Watch Series 5. Users running an iPhone 6s or later with iOS 13 could get the update but didn’t benefit from all the features unless they owned a newer Watch model.
WatchOS 7 mobility metrics
A new section is coming to the Health app — Mobility. Aimed at older Apple Watch wearers, Mobility Metrics keep tabs on walking speed, stair-descent speed, stair-ascent speed, six-minute walk distance, double support time, stride length and step asymmetry.
This data is usually gathered in an in-person lab setting, but now the Apple Watch can help detect potential problems with mobility, even if they’re not obvious to the naked eye.
WatchOS 7 beta: How to get it
For the first time in watchOS history, the watchOS 7 beta will be available to the public. In the past, unlike with iOS, macOS and tvOS betas, the watchOS beta has been developer-only.
Downloading beta versions invites a few risks and we don’t recommend it unless you’re willing to deal with buggy software.
The advice we give with any beta applies to watchOS 7: Only install the beta on a watch you don’t need for everyday use. Keep in mind that you’ll also need to pair the watch to an iPhone running iOS 14 beta for it to work, so you’re risking the reliability of a couple of different devices by committing to unpolished versions of watchOS 7.
WatchOS 7 new Fitness app and dance workout support
So long Activity app, hello Fitness. The renamed and redesigned movement tracking app will help users follow their workout progress using summary tabs.
New workout presets include core training, functional strength training, cool down and dance. Whether you’re into hip hop, Latin, Bollywood or cardio dance, your watch will be able to award accurate credit for all the moving and grooving you’ve got going on.
Apple watchOS 7 mental health and other rumored features
What new features are coming to the Apple Watch OS? If past updates are any indication, we can assume Apple is going to introduce a slew of health and fitness upgrades. Several leaks from reputable sources also confirm Apple is upping the ante when it comes to personal wellness. Here’s what we know:
Battery life management: It’s likely watchOS 7 will support tools that extend your Apple Watch’s battery life. While a software update can’t actually increase your smartwatch’s battery size, it can help manage apps and provide improved low-power modes that let you go longer without a charge. The Apple Watch 6 and its new chip will likely benefit the most from these enhancements, though.
Mental health and panic attack detection tools: A number of signs point to Apple debuting a library of mental health features in watchOS 7. According to leaker Max Weinbach and YouTube channel EverythingApplePro, Apple is working on making its wearables better at spotting the early signs of stress or panic using built-in sensors. These tools could function in hand with the Apple Watch 4 and 5’s electrical heart sensor, as well as incorporate the rumored SpO2 pulse oximeter coming to the Apple Watch 6.
Parental controls: Those with kids might be interested to hear that watchOS 7 could beef up parental controls. The Apple Watch isn’t the most popular kid’s accessory, but it’s smart to have some availability of parental oversight for younger smartwatch users. We believe watchOS 7 will enable an iPhone to monitor both an adult user’s iPhone as well as their kid’s Apple Watch. It would also include, naturally, parental controls for contacting others.
Personalized faces from your photos: It’s suspected that you’ll be able to use images from your Photos to design your very own watch face with watchOS 7. You can pick from either individual photos, personal albums and shared albums. And if you use the two latter ones, you can set the face to switch photos every time you look at the watch, which is a pretty neat feature if you are into that kind of thing.
WatchOS 7 hand washing
Talk about a well-timed feature — watchOS 7 will introduce a hand washing that uses automatic detection to figure out when you’re scrubbing your paws. Based on the motion of your hands and and sound of tap water flowing, a countdown with haptics will begin to make sure you’re washing for the recommended 20 seconds.
If you stop too early, your Apple Watch will ask you if you’re sure your hand are clean. It sounds like this could get annoying, but we can’t complain about practicing better hygiene.