Apple released watchOS 8. The new version of the watch operating system runs on all models from Apple Watch Series 3. The prerequisite for installation is an iPhone on which iOS 15 has already been installed, which Apple also released for download on Monday evening.
The update significantly expands the functionality of the always-on display (from Series 5): Apple has not only adapted other apps of its own – including maps and the stopwatch – but also allows third-party apps to access them. In the future, you can also continue to display information without having to manually activate the screen by moving your arm or tapping the screen.
Health, fitness and communication
WatchOS continues to focus on health, fitness and communication: watchOS 8 can also record the user’s breathing rate during sleep tracking. In addition, the watch informs about noticeable changes in the health data collected – in conjunction with the new trends function in the iOS 15 health app. The operating system supports Tai Chi and Pilates as new workout types, and cycling should also be automatically recognized as a workout will. For e-bike activities, Apple is promising a better calculation of calorie consumption.
Photos can be shared on the watch for the first time, and Apple has also improved text input using the scribble function and made it more flexible. A complete keyboard seems to be reserved for the Apple Watch Series 7 announced for autumn.
Fall detection for workouts
In the future, fall detection will also be particularly effective during workouts. In the event of a serious fall, it can then automatically trigger an emergency call and inform emergency contacts – including the transmission of the location. The function requires at least an Apple Watch Series 4. The breathing app is being replaced in watchOS 8 by a mindfulness app, which, in addition to breathing exercises, also guides you through “reflections”.
In the first US states, users can save their driver’s license in a wallet, and the watch can also serve as a key for houses, hotels and cars. In addition to the near-radio technology NFC, the digital car key will also support ultra-broadband (from Series 6) according to the digital key specification 3.0 in the future.
New apps allow you to manage contacts and find objects and devices via Apple’s “Where is?” Network. With the AssistiveTouch operating aid, the watch can also be controlled using gestures without having to touch the display. When it comes to dials, there are only two new additions to be made, with a world clock based on Patek Philippe and portraits.
- Practical tips for watchOS 8 can be found in Mac & i issue 5/2021, which will be available from October 7th.