watchOS 8 – During its WWDC 2021 keynote, Apple announced updates and features coming to watchOS 8. The rumors leading up to Apple’s event didn’t give us much insight into what the company would unveil besides general software updates, including those that aimed to make the Apple Watch less iPhone-dependent.
Since most of the features Apple announced fall into the first category, the Apple Watch will still be tethered to iPhones. watchOS 8 will bring new mindfulness features, including enhanced guided meditation and sleep data collection.
There are new animations and ways to reflect in the Breathe app with WatchOS 8 thanks to the mindfulness app. Apparently, guided meditation has undergone a revolutionary change. It instructs you to think about what brings you joy, among other things.
Activate these reflection moments during busy times to retreat and refocus. These moments are accompanied by unique animations.
WatchOS 8 expands upon the initially limited features introduced with Apple Watch last year. With the new features, your Watch tracks metrics such as time spent sleeping, heart rate, oxygen levels in the blood, and respiratory levels while you’re sleeping.
Since it previously only tracked how much time you spent sleeping each night, native sleep tracking is now much more useful. All of this new information is stored in the Health app, so you can access it anytime.
The Apple Watch’s Workout app won’t have any major changes in watchOS 8, but Apple’s Apple Fitness+ subscription service will add new exercises and more routines.
Fitness+ will also gain a new workout series led by fitness instructor Jeanette Jenkins, which will be available this fall to all Apple Watch users.
A number of workouts related to Lady Gaga and other stars are also available to Fitness+ subscribers.
While watchOS 8 was announced, Apple also released a few features that aren’t related to healthy living. Among them is the Portraits watch face, which layers data such as data and time over portrait-mode photos and layers them on your Watch.
Depending on your preferences, you can customize these in various ways, such as choosing photos and data to appear. Additionally, watchOS 8 will revamp the Photos app with a new layout, which should make it easier to navigate on the small screen of the Watch, and will enable the sharing of photos through the Message and Mail apps.
Messages app on the Watch will also be updated with watchOS 8. Apple’s made Scribble mode a bit more flexible, so you can respond to messages in a few different ways.
Using the Digital Crown will allow you to move the cursor more easily in your response, making editing much easier. As well as adding gifs to your message, you will be able to do this when responding directly from the App Shelf.
The new version of watchOS 8 brings updated Find My features, Ultra Wideband support for digital car keys, multiple timers, AssistiveTouch support for one-handed use of the Watch, as well as updated Music and Weather apps.
Developer betas for WatchOS 8 are available today, and the public beta is scheduled for July. Apple Watch Series 3 or later models will be able to receive the final software update this fall.