Apple just announced watchOS 8, the latest software for many of its Apple Watch models. As expected, the update includes several new health and mindfulness features, improvements to the Apple Watch Photos app, home controls, and other minor updates.
First of all, Apple introduced a new Mindfulness app for Apple Watch. This combines the old breath app with a few other changes and animations to help users remember to “breathe and relax all day.”
While we are aware of our health, the Health app now has an option to measure the respiratory rate while you sleep. In addition, the Fitness app for Apple Watch adds new types of workouts for Pilates and other popular fitness programs, with custom heart rate and movement algorithms for more accurate stats.
The Home app for Apple Watch also benefits from some of the latest Homekit features. You can broadcast messages throughout your home on all HomePod speakers, control accessories per room, or even see who’s at your door from your wrist with a Homekit-compatible camera.
With watchOS 8, Photos and the Photos app in general have been vastly improved. There’s a new watch face that uses portrait mode photos from your iPhone. Then you can add text layers and information to the portrait photo and set it as the background. The Photos app itself has new layouts, new controls, and the ability to share photos on Apple Watch via Messages or Apple Mail.
Many people set timers with their watch, but now you can set multiple timers, and it will understand and save them all. Better yet, you can add specific names to it, such as “Washtimer.”
Your watch can also enjoy several useful new features in iOS 15. Everything from Focus mode, new weather app, improvements to the Find My app and network, and more apps support the Always-on display mode. Later this year, you’ll even be able to add your state ID or license to your Apple Watch wallet and then use that in TSA lines as a digital ID.
Apple says watchOS 8 will be available for all models from Series 3 and up, and developers can try it. Then there will be a public beta coming soon, followed by the official release date of watchOS 8 to the general public later this fall.