Apple has announced watchOS 8, which brings new Portraits to watch face, a new Mindfulness app, a sleeping respiratory rate tracker, new workout types and more. It is available to developers and will be made available to the general public this fall.
The new watchOS 8 brings redesigned Home app, which offers a better way to access accessories and scenes needed in a particular moment, and the ability to control accessories by room. Users can now also quickly broadcast a message throughout the home or to individual rooms via HomePod, HomePod mini, or other personal devices.
“Apple Watch is the most loved watch in the world, keeping users healthy, active, and connected,” said Kevin Lynch, Apple’s vice president of Technology. “With watchOS 8, we’re bringing more convenient access to places users to live, work, and visit with significant updates to Home and Wallet, expanding support for both physical and mental well-being, and enabling richer personal connections with the new Portraits face and updates to Messages.”
1. More Access with Wallet
With Apple Watch, it is incredibly convenient to use Apple Pay and Wallet to make secure, contactless payments in stores or ride transit. With watchOS 8, Wallet brings even more powerful contact-free ways for users to access the places and things they care about seamlessly, safely, and securely.
First announced at WWDC in 2020, Ultra-Wideband support now arrives for digital car keys on Apple Watch Series 6. Apple Watch wearers can securely unlock their car from a distance and start it from the driver’s seat.1 This fall, users can also add keys for their home, office, and hotel to Wallet, and tap their Apple Watch to unlock.2 Later this year, beginning with participating states in the US, users will be able to add their driver’s license or state ID to Wallet. Select TSA checkpoints will be the first place users can begin using their digital ID.
2. Redesigned Home App
The redesigned Home app in watchOS 8 offers more convenient access to accessories and scenes needed in a particular moment, and the ability to control accessories by room. Users with a HomeKit-enabled camera can view who is at the door directly on their wrist. Apple Watch users can also tap Intercom to quickly broadcast a message throughout the home or to individual rooms via HomePod, HomePod mini, or other personal devices.
3. New Workout Types
watchOS 8 introduces two new popular workout types that are beneficial for both physical fitness and mindful movement: Tai Chi and Pilates. These new workout types are supported by powerful, validated custom-built heart rate and motion algorithms to provide users with accurate metrics.
4. Sleeping Respiratory Rate
Apple Watch helps users meet their sleep goals by establishing a pre-bedtime routine, and tracks metrics like time asleep, heart rate, and blood oxygen. watchOS 8 gives users even more insight into their overall wellness by tracking sleeping respiratory rate, which is the number of breaths per minute. To do this, Apple Watch uses the built-in accelerometer to measure respiratory rate while sleeping, and this information can be viewed, along with trends over time, in the Health app on iPhone. This metric is also available for developers to use with permission through HealthKit.
5. Portraits Watch Face and Photos
The Photos face is the most popular Apple Watch face, and watchOS 8 introduces new ways to view and engage with users’ favourite photos right from their wrist. The new Portraits watch face brings to life stunning portrait photos shot on iPhone with an immersive, multilayered effect, intelligently recognizing faces in photos and cropping in to highlight the subject. The Photos app is also redesigned, offering new ways to view and navigate collections, Memories and Featured Photos now sync to Apple Watch, and photos can be shared through Messages and Mail with the new Share Sheet.
6. Messages and Contacts
Communicating on Apple Watch is even easier with new tools in Messages. Users can combine the use of Scribble, dictation, and emoji all within the same message, and for dictated messages, they have the option to edit the presented text. To easily add even more expression to a message, users can simply enter a word or phrase and select from hundreds of trending GIFs.
watchOS 8 also brings the Contacts app to Apple Watch, providing a simple way for users to browse, add, and edit contacts, and share contacts directly from the app.