You may be more excited about the launch of iOS 13, but WatchOS 6 is here too — and it also has a lot going for it. The latest and greatest operating system for the Apple Watch is only getting smarter, and Watch users have been treated to a host of new features on their device.
WatchOS 6 is now available to all, and if you have an Apple Watch, you may already have it. If not, you can update your compatible Apple Watch through the Watch app on your iPhone.
Here’s everything you need to know about the new WatchOS 6.
Perhaps the biggest change from Apple is that developers will now be able to create apps specifically for the Apple Watch, and users will be able to browse apps for the Apple Watch through a dedicated Apple Watch App Store. In other words, developers will no longer need to create iPhone apps for Apple Watch apps to pair with — which could help make the Apple Watch a whole lot more functional.
The App Store itself is aimed at making it easy to scroll through popular apps, see screenshots, and more — all straight from the Apple Watch itself. It’s a pretty well-designed iteration of the App Store, especially considering how important utilizing screen real estate is on such a small device.
WatchOS 6 finally brings an Audiobooks app to the Apple Watch, allowing users to listen to their audiobooks just like they could already listen to their music and podcasts. The app looks and acts pretty much the same as the podcasts app, allowing you to scroll through your audiobooks and play them easily
The Voice Memos app has also made it to the Apple Watch, which is handy for taking quick audio notes on the go. Voice Memos on the Apple Watch is specifically aimed at recording, rather than listening to Voice Memos, so you’ll open the app and see a button to record without any other major features. That’s probably a good thing, as it makes using the app pretty easy.
The last new app that has been ported over from the iPhone is the Calculator app, which is exactly what you would expect it to be. The app makes it pretty easy to calculate on the go, and even offers features like calculating a tip amount and splitting a bill with friends.
Some major changes are coming to the Apple Watch’s fitness- and health-tracking features. One of the coolest is the iPhone’s new ability to track and display “Activity Trends,” using data from the Apple Watch. These trends essentially compare your activity over the past 90 days to the past 365 days, allowing you to see whether or not you’re becoming more or less active. Trends compared include basic metrics, like your Stand, Exercise, and Move rings, as well as things like workout, walking pace, and so on.
There’s also a new Noise app for the Apple Watch, which is aimed at helping users preserve their hearing. The app uses the microphone to detect ambient noise levels and can warn users if the noise level is at a point where it could damage hearing. As Apple was quick to point out, the app doesn’t record or save any audio — ensuring that privacy is maintained.
Another long-requested feature is the new Cycle Tracking ability, which allows women to track their menstrual cycle and even alert users when their period is likely to begin soon. Cycle Tracking allows women to log activity, like the beginning of their period, and how heavy their flow is. The data is also viewable in the Apple Health app.
Apple is also bringing a few new watch faces to the Apple Watch, including some that are more basic and beautiful, and others that are more functional and packed with features.
There are some new complications available in WatchOS 6 too, though the complications available to you may depend on your Apple Watch model. Notable new complications include a Wind complication that can show current wind speed, a Noise complication that shows the ambient noise level, an Audiobooks complication, a Cycle Tracking complication, and a Calculator complication.
Siri is getting a little smarter on the Apple Watch too. Now, when you ask Siri a question that will involve a web search, Siri can display the information on the Apple Watch’s screen. Siri can also take advantage of Shazam to identify songs that are playing nearby.
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