Apple kicked off its annual Worldwide Developer Conference on Monday, showing off new software for the Apple Watch. Leading up to the event, there were rumors that the Apple Watch would receive a significant software update in the form of WatchOS 9.
Those rumors were true, with Apple adding custom workouts, new watch faces and several more new health features to its wearable.
Apple demonstrated several new health features that focused on providing more data about your workouts, including heart rate zones, and more data in general about your physical health.
In addition to adding new health features to the watch, Apple is making the Fitness app available to all iPhone users in iOS 16. Previously the Fitness app was only available on the iPhone after you paired an Apple Watch to your phone.
The Sleep app is getting a big upgrade in WatchOS 9 with the addition of Sleep Stages. Right now, in WatchOS 8, you only see that you were asleep after sleeping with an Apple Watch on your wrist. With Sleep Stages, you’ll be able to see how well you slept using REM, light, and heavy sleep stages. It’s something many users, myself included, have panned the Apple Watch and its sleep monitoring feature for lacking. It’s a welcome addition.
The Apple Watch also will start monitoring how long a person has been in Afib, tracking your heart’s history and providing a chart to share with your doctor.
Apple also added new medications feature to WatchOS 9 through a Medications app. You can add medicine that you take to the app, get notifications are reminders or log when you take a dose or allergy medicine, for example. If you don’t have an Apple Watch, you’ll still have the option to add your medications to the Health app.
According to Apple, the app will look for drug-interaction notifications to inform you about any potentially hazardous interactions with the medicines you’ve added, or with alcohol, for instance.
Other notable features that Apple announced, but didn’t demonstrate, include Home keys for kids, background-color editor for watch faces, and cross-device connectivity.
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We’ll surely have more to talk about regarding WatchOS 9 over the coming weeks as the developer beta, then the public beta, goes live. And, of course, even more when Apple releases WatchOS 9 later this year.
In the meantime, is there anything you can’t live without in WatchOS 9? Let us know in the comments below!