5 ways watchOS 7 will supercharge your Apple Watch this fall

Watch face sharing, sleep tracking, and more.

Credit: Apple

It’s not just the iPhone and the Mac that are getting sweet new features in the fall. Apple also unveiled the newest watchOS features that are coming to the Apple Watch, and there are some major changes in store for Apple’s ubiquitous wearable. In fact, it could be the biggest update ever. Here are five features to look out for.

Watch faces are sharable

Instead of bringing new watch faces like it usually does, Apple is refining the faces we already have in watchOS 7. Now you’ll be able to have more than one complication per app, and Apple has added new complications as well, including a tachymeter on the Chronograph Pro and a single giant complication on the minimal X-Large face.

But far more exciting is the ability to share watch faces. The next best thing to custom faces—which we’re likely never going to get—you’ll now be able to share your favorite faces, including complications and color choices, with your friends either directly or through social media. And developers will be able to offer specialized faces based on their own apps, as well.

Sleep will finally be tracked

We’ve wanted native sleep tracking since the first time we strapped an Apple Watch to our wrist and in watchOS 7 we’re finally getting it. Along with routines that let you “wind down” before bed, your Apple Watch will automatically enter Do Not Disturb and darken the screen overnight, as well as offer haptic vibrations or “gentle sounds” to help you wake up.

watchos 7 sleep Apple

The Apple Watch will finally be able to track sleep natively in watchOS 7.

In addition to helping you get to sleep and wake up, watchOS 7 also “intelligently captures when the wearer is sleeping and how much sleep they get each night.” Each morning you’ll get a chart showing your time in bed and your time asleep, and will offer charging reminders both before you go to sleep and after you wake up.

It’ll be COVID-ready

Since the effects of the coronavirus pandemic will likely be felt for years to come, watchOS 7 is bringing automatic hand-washing detection by using the watch’s motion sensors, microphone, and on-device machine learning. Not only will it give you a 20-second counter so you know how long to wash for, but it’ll also prompt you to wash when you get home and gently chide you if you finish up too quickly.

watchos 7 hand washing Apple

When you start washing your hands, your Apple Watch will know.

Dance is a workout

Since we don’t all have access to expensive gym equipment, Apple has added a new workout to watchOS 7 that doesn’t require anything but your body: Dance. Using “advanced sensor fusion,” your Apple Watch will be able to detect when just your arms or just your legs are moving, or when everything is grooving at once. Additionally, watchOS will bring new core training workouts and cooldown options. 

It might save your hearing

Apple introduced a new Noise app in watchOS 6 to warn you when you’ve been exposed to loud noises for a prolonged time, but in watchOS 7, Apple is taking it one step further. Now you’ll get headphone audio notifications that will let you know if you’re listening to your tunes at dangerous levels. When total listening with headphones has reached 100 percent of the safe weekly listening amount—which is 80 decibels for about 40 hours per week, according to the World Health Organization—your Apple Watch will send a notification letting you know that the volume has been lowered to protect your hearing.

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Michael Simon

Michael Simon

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