It’s time for another installment of Apple’s Worldwide Developers Convention (WWDC). We expected to see some big things from Apple in regard to its different hardware and software pieces, and the tech giant hasn’t disappointed. Rumors have been stirring quite a bit, but it’s finally time for our first real look at watchOS 9 and the new features that it brings.
watchOS 9: improved watch faces and workouts
One big update set to come with watchOS 9 is a revamp of the current watch faces that Apple offers. Alongside that, we’ll also see some new faces, which should let you customize your Apple Watch even better. Among the new faces are the Playtime face, a Lunar calendar face, and a brand-new Metropolitan face set with multiple color combinations.
Additionally, another addition to watchOS 9’s features are new workout types. This should give users who use Apple’s Fitness system a way to further improve their workouts each day. These include new recovery options, power metrics, and other options to help you better manage your workouts.
Routes you do often will also now automatically be saved to the workout app, to help you keep track of progress. Apple has also added a new multi-sport tracker, allowing you to track times across multiple types of workouts.
And, if you don’t have an Apple Watch, Apple is making it even easier to keep track of your workouts in iOS 16. Everyone with iOS 16 will now be able to track workouts and other benefits using the Fitness app on their iPhone.
watchOS 9: health features
Health is another big category for the Apple Watch and watchOS 9 brings a slew of new features. First up, Apple’s heart health system is getting a huge update with improved atrial fibrillation tracking. AFib History, as Apple calls the system, will allow users to keep better track of how much time they spent in AFib.
Additionally, it will allow you to see ways you can improve the time you spend in AFib, with information like workout recommendations. Apple is currently waiting for FDA approval, but the system looks promising.
Another new watchOS 9 health feature is the introduction of Sleep Stages. Apple Watch already lets you track your sleep, but Sleep Stages will now track how much time you spend in each stage of sleep. It will break down each stage, how long it lasted, and even how long you slept overall.
Each stage of sleep is important for your body’s health, and Apple wants to help scientists better understand how it affects your body. As such, users enrolled in the Apple Heart and Movement study can provide their sleep data to the program to help with that research.
Finally, Apple is adding a new watchOS 9 health feature that lets you track medications and drug to drug interactions. Medications will allow you to add in medications, vitamins, and other drugs that you take. You can choose whether it is an occasional medication or something more frequent. You can also set up timers for daily reminders, and even share your medication information with your family members.
watchOS 9: other features
On top of the big features we’ve already outlined, watchOS 9 is packed with some other updates, too. Siri’s UI on Apple Watch is getting a refresher, making it more convenient and easy to use. You’ll also find active apps pinned to the top of the dock now, making it easier to swap between them. Additionally, Apple has added some new APIs to the Apple Watch to help developers better share screenshots.
Another big change coming with watchOS 9 is a change to how the Podcast app’s search function works. You can now find new content via the discovery and search functions. The Podcasts app is now set up to work with Apple’s Family settings. This will allow kids to take full advantage of the app.
WatchOS 9 is expected to arrive in the Fall, with the release of the new Apple Watch series.