In addition to iOS 14, iPadOS 14 and macOS 11 Big Sur, Apple also presented watchOS 7 at this year’s WWDC. And now the public release is finally here.
As expected, Apple officially released the next major update for the Apple Watch series on Wednesday. With watchOS 7, Apple adds a number of new features, makes some important adjustments, and even makes it possible to connect multiple Apple watches to a single iPhone.
To update to watchOS 7, the Apple Watch must be connected to the charger, have at least 50% battery life and also be within range of the iPhone. You can install the new software manually by opening the Watch app on iPhone, then tapping General -> Software Update and then following the on-screen instructions. If you have turned on automatic updates, Apple Watch will automatically download the latest software while it is connected, and then install the software overnight.
You can see the list of Apple Watch models that support watchOS 7 right here.
Let’s jump in!
What’s new in watchOS 7
While Apple is working towards a relatively independent experience on the Apple Watch, it is still dependent on the iPhone. Which means that if you want to enjoy Apple’s smartwatch, you need an iPhone to connect it. But that is changing with watchOS 7, as Apple expands the availability of the Apple Watch to those who may not have an iPhone.
To get there, Apple introduced Family Setup this year. It’s a brand new feature that allows you to connect multiple Apple watches to a single iPhone. The company sees this as a way for children and older adults to use an Apple Watch, and take advantage of the device’s features, without having to have their own iPhone.
Family members who use Family Setup will be able to use Messaging, make phone calls, set up activity goals and much more thanks to a dedicated phone number. Parents will be able to approve all contacts before their child can communicate with them.
Each Apple Watch user who configures using Family Setup gets their own phone number, which is linked to a separate mobile plan. With their own Apple ID, they will be able to follow family events in Calendar, view synced photo albums and much more. There is even a new Apple Cash Family, which makes it quick and easy to send money to their child so they can pay with the Apple Watch.
Siri will work with the Apple Watch as expected. And your child or other users can also listen to Apple Music by connecting Bluetooth headphones or speakers to the Apple Watch. And with Apple Maps, each user can configure the navigation to the place they want to go, whether it’s to a friend’s house or the park, while the guardian can keep an eye on real time.
Apple adjusted the experience for the activity feature especially for children. Now, instead of tracking calorie consumption, Activity calling will track Move minutes. Users will be able to create customizable goals for each Apple Watch user, including Outdoor Walk, Outdoor Run, Outdoor Cycle, which are set for children. The experience is set to include more emoji as well. Users can share their activity challenges and accept activity contests as well.
The Emergency SOS feature is available with Family Setup, and supervisors will be notified automatically when enabled. This includes fall detection on supported Apple Watch models. Children will also be able to refer to medical ID. And once permission is granted, users will be able to see complete shared data.
No matter where the student is learning, it is important to stay focused. So, school time will help with that. There is a new feature meant to make it so that children do not have access to the additional features that are baked into the Apple Watch while they study. When school time is activated, a clear yellow circle appears on the face of the Apple Watch. This is intended to indicate that Do Not Disturb is turned on and access to other features is disabled. Parents will be able to set specific hours for school time, which means that the Apple Watch automatically activates the feature when that time comes.
It can also be turned on in the Control Center from the child’s Apple Watch.
Downtime also works on the Apple Watch, as part of the Screen Time feature. Children will be notified Downtime begins five minutes before it is activated.
New dials and complications
As it is in line with the course of a new release of watchOS, Apple also offers a number of new dials. Apple also expands complications in a big way, offering the ability for apps to have more than one option. This means you can get much more relevant information from an app, all in an instant.
It is the Chronograph Pro dial, which has a built-in tachymeter. A new stripe dial. You can now also set your favorite Memoji as the background of your watch, which will be animated when you look at the device.
(see) Face division
watchOS 7 finally allows the ability to share dials to other Apple Watch users. It’s all very easy and fast too. Users can share a clock face either by posting a link online, sending it via email or a direct text message. The text message, which can be read on the Apple Watch, makes it easier to download and install the new dial.
In addition, websites can also build and share dials. So if you frequently check a website for your personal hobby, and they build a dial like the one you see right above for browsing, you can quickly add it to your Apple Watch. And of course, Apple will cure and distribute new dials through the App Store for Apple Watch.
It’s a new sleep button for the Apple Watch thanks to watchOS 7, and it brings sleep tracking to the smartwatch. The app will take advantage of the ability to create a sleep plan and a bedtime routine, and help you keep your routine to get a good night’s sleep and be ready for the next day. In the new sleep mode, the Apple Watch automatically turns on Do Not Disturb, and this will prevent the screen from waking up.
When you use the watch and go to bed more often, you get a sleep table to analyze the sleep pattern in the last week. And the Apple Watch will use the accelerometer to track your sleep. When you wake up, you see the battery level and current weather conditions and a weather report.
Apple adds new workouts that can be tracked with the Apple Watch. These are: Functional strength training, core training and dance. And now the Apple Watch can even track Cooldown after training. The fitness app is also updated, and now shows all your relevant data, including prices, workouts, activity and activity trends.
Apple Activity Competitions help you stay in shape while enjoying a little competition with friends and family.
What Apple says is the result of “many years of work”, the new handwashing feature in watchOS 7 does exactly what the name suggests. Apple Watch will use the built-in microphone and motion sensors to read when you wash your hands. When it detects this, it automatically starts a 20-second countdown. If the Apple Watch detects that you stopped early, it will politely remind you to walk for a full 20 seconds.
And now the Apple Watch can remind you to wash your hands when you get home.
Apple Watch’s update to watchOS 7 comes with much more under the hood for users to enjoy. This includes updates to Siri for dictation support on the device and easier access to shortcuts. Siri on Apple Watch can now translate in 10 languages, with oral translation for good measure.
There are also updates for hearing health, with adaptations to the Noise app with a “safe weekly listening alert”, so that users can specify a maximum volume and even a summary of the weekly listening.
Apple’s watchOS 7 is now available for download and installation as a free update for these compatible variants:
- Apple Watch Series 3
- Apple Watch Series 4
- Apple Watch Series 5
- Apple Watch SE
- Apple Watch Series 6