Along with the presentation of iOS 15 and iPadOS updates, comes watchOS 8, the new version of its operating system for the Apple Watch. At the WWDC 2021, Apple has not missed the opportunity to show new features for its smartwatches, focusing on new health features, breath control, and improvements in Photos.
These are the new features of watchOS 8, the latest update of the operating system for the Apple Watch. Improvements will arrive with the future Apple Watch Series 7, but will also be available to users of the Apple Watch Series 6 and Watch Series SE during the second half of the year.
New apps to meditate and reduce stress
Apple’s first new features for watchOS 8 arrive with the Health app. Here we have changes to the Breathe app, with new animations that will try to evoke feelings of tranquility. Apple incorporates new animations and a new ‘Reflect’ mode for meditation and stress reduction.
For the measurement of sleep, with the Apple Watch, we will be able to measure breathing to know if it is consistent or not and detect irregularities. In case of not breathing well at night, watchOS 8 will send us a notification and from the application, we will be able to see the number of breaths per minute in graphs.
Payments, contacts, and new training modes
The Fitness+ app has new workouts and playlists, available from this month. Among the new training features, watchOS 8 incorporates two training modes: tai chi and pilates.
With watchOS 8, the Wallet app will allow contactless payment via UltraWideband technology. Starting in the fall, users will also be able to add keys to the home or office and unlock them with the watch.
WatchOS 8 also adds the Contacts app to the Apple Watch, allowing contacts to be added, edited, and shared directly from the watch.
The support for the ‘Always-on Display’ has been improved, with new apps that will be compatible with this mode, such as Maps, Phone, Podcasts, Timers, or the new ‘Mindfulness’ app.
What’s new in Photos for Apple Watch
With ‘Portrait Watch Face’, Apple can create portrait mode in the photos that we put as wallpaper on the Apple Watch. It will do this through segmentation with computational photography, in the style of what Google does with its Pixel. By turning the crown, with watchOS 8 we will be able to make a zoom animation on the subject (as it is separated from the background).
With watchOS 8 we will also be able to share photos from the Apple Watch. Apple adds the ability to add images, emojis, and even GIFs when sending messages with the Apple Watch.
Date and devices compatible with watchOS 8
WatchOS 8 will be available in public beta starting in July and available to Apple users in the fall. Developers can already access a private beta to get to know the new features of watchOS 8.
The new version of watchOS will be compatible with the Apple Watch SE and the Series 4, Series 5, and Series 6. It will be a free update and will require an iPhone 6s or higher, with iOS 15.