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watchOS 11 is expected to be a small update, but there’s one feature it really needs

Published Mar 25th, 2024 10:42AM EDT
watchOS 11 needs to revamp Apple Watch Activity Rings
Image: José Adorno for BGR

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Apple is expected to introduce watchOS 11 during the WWDC 2024 keynote. This update will also help celebrate the tenth anniversary of the original Apple Watch. Still, it doesn’t seem watchOS 11 will be a major update with tons of exciting new features.

In his Power On newsletter, Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman said he expects “the watchOS 11 update to be fairly minor.” Although he doesn’t mention possible features or even a reason why Apple won’t focus on major software updates since it also expects great hardware changes with the Apple Watch Series 10, it’s possible that Apple is focusing its resources on other areas, such as a major iOS 18 update with AI features.

In addition, Apple has just released a major update with watchOS 10, focusing on larger displays and new health features, such as a mental health check, a new Wellbeing function, and the journal app.

While we know how disappointing a minor software update can be for a product we love, I hope Apple brings at least this feature to the Apple Watch this year.

Please, Apple, revamp the Activity Rings with watchOS 11

watchOS 11 needs to revamp Apple Watch Activity RingsImage source: José Adorno for BGR

I lost track of how many times I wrote about Apple’s need to revamp the Activity Rings. With the watchOS 11 rumor cycle, I can’t ignore this feature. While I’ll soon talk about Gentler Streak and how its Activity Path feature is the true Activity Ring replacement, I finally turned off Activity Ring notifications after feeling disrespected by Apple Watch’s custom notifications.

This past week, I had flu with the full combo: chills and fever. The Apple Watch noticed it because there was a change in my activity trend. I completely stopped working out, and my sleep track changed. My heart was beating faster, my breathing was terrible, and the wrist measurement showed that my temperature was weirdly high.

Apple Watch Ultra 2 was more than accurate in highlighting this data, but Apple, of course, didn’t interpret it. Thanks to Gentler Streak and its Wellbeing tab, I could read and interpret my sleep pattern changing. At all times, the app told me I should rest – and I even set my status as “Sick.” On the worst day of the flu, the Apple Watch just told me to give my best and work out because my Activity Ring was “far behind” for that period and week.

A gentler approach would be enough

Gentler Streak's Wellbeing tab
Gentler Streak reads Health info after a night of sleep and helps me decide if I should work out that day. Image source: José Adorno for BGR

What does Apple even mean by that? I know that Activity Rings can cheer people up to work out, and I’ve been motivated to change my lifestyle thanks to the Apple Watch. However, Apple needs to rethink its Activity Ring goals with watchOS 11.

I don’t think it needs to Sherlock Gentler Streak or add too much complexity to the Fitness app, but it could at least interpret a bit of my health and fitness data to understand I had just run a marathon or that I’m not feeling well. Resting is a big part of people’s fitness journey, and it’s time for Apple to acknowledge that.

The notifications could be customized better, or the Activity Rings approach could be different, I don’t know. This is up to Apple to recognize and change. However, as a long-time Apple Watch user, I hope Apple will start offering a gentler approach to its Activity Rings. Otherwise, I might do what I did this past week: Wear my watch less often to avoid getting annoyed by goals I can’t and shouldn’t complete.

José Adorno Tech News Reporter

José is a Tech News Reporter at BGR. He has previously covered Apple and iPhone news for 9to5Mac, and was a producer and web editor for Latin America broadcaster TV Globo. He is based out of Brazil.