- Ability to have a driver’s license or state ID in Wallet, and to use that at TSA checkpoints
- A redesigned Home app
- A Mindfulness app incorporating Breathe and the new Reflect capability
- Sleeping respiratory rate
- Always-On app support
watchOS 8 has impactful new features that make the world’s most advanced wearable operating system even more essential for users to stay healthy, active, and connected. Updates to the Wallet and Home apps extend Apple Watch as an increasingly useful tool for convenient access across the car and places users live, work, and visit. A reimagined Breathe app and new Tai Chi and Pilates workout types help users lead a fit and healthy life and support mental well-being, while a new Portraits watch face and enhancements to Messages and the Photos app make staying connected to loved ones even easier
.“Apple Watch is the most loved watch in the world, keeping users healthy, active, and connected,” said Kevin Lynch, Apple’s vice president of Technology. “With watchOS 8, we’re bringing more convenient access to places users live, work, and visit with significant updates to Home and Wallet, expanding support for both physical and mental well-being, and enabling richer personal connections with the new Portraits face and updates to Messages.”
MORE ACCESS WITH WALLET
With Apple Watch, it is incredibly convenient to use Apple Pay and Wallet to make secure, contactless payments in stores or ride transit. With watchOS 8, Wallet brings even more powerful contact-free ways for users to access the places and things they care about seamlessly, safely, and securely.
First announced at WWDC in 2020, Ultra Wideband support now arrives for digital car keys on Apple Watch Series 6. Apple Watch wearers can securely unlock their car from a distance and start it from the driver’s seat. This fall, users can also add keys for their home, office, and hotel to Wallet, and tap their Apple Watch to unlock. Later this year, beginning with participating states in the US, users will be able to add their driver’s license or state ID to Wallet. Select TSA checkpoints will be the first place users can begin using their digital ID.
NEW WORKOUT TYPES
watchOS 8 introduces two new popular workout types that are beneficial for both physical fitness and mindful movement: Tai Chi and Pilates. These new workout types are supported by powerful, validated custom-built heart rate and motion algorithms to provide users with accurate metrics.
watchOS 8 supports Focus, a powerful set of tools available in iOS 15 to help users reduce distraction and be in the moment. Apple Watch will automatically align with any Focus set on iOS, so that notifications from people and apps are filtered based on what a user is currently doing. Focus uses on-device intelligence to make suggestions based on usage patterns — for example, when starting a workout on Apple Watch, the Focus for fitness is suggested.
ADDITIONAL WATCHOS 8 UPDATES
- Multiple timers come to Apple Watch and can be given a specific label using Siri (such as “Laundry Timer” or “Cooking Timer”).
- In watchOS 8, more Apple Watch apps support the Always-On display, including Maps, Mindfulness, Now Playing, Phone, Podcasts, Stopwatch, Timers, Voice Memos, and others. watchOS 8 is also making it easier for developers to keep their apps timely and relevant with a new Always-On APIfor third-party apps.
- To support Apple Watch users with upper-body limb differences, AssistiveTouch enables one-arm usage of Apple Watch by sensing simple hand gestures to interact without touching the display. Using the built-in motion sensors, users can answer incoming calls, control an onscreen motion pointer, and surface an action menu that can access Notification Center, Control Center, and more.
- A new Find Items app on Apple Watch helps users locate tagged items using the Find My network, and a new Find Devices app helps users locate lost Apple devices that are signed in with the same Apple ID.
- The redesigned Music app enables users to share songs, albums, and playlists through Messages and Mail, and enjoy music and radio all in one place.
- The Weather app now supports Severe Weather notifications, displaying government alerts about certain severe weather events. The app also delivers Next Hour precipitation alerts and offers updated complications.
- Family Setup introduces the ability to add transit cards from Hong Kong, Japan, and select China mainland and US cities, and Calendar and Mail now include the option to add a Google account.
- Apple Fitness+, the first fitness service created entirely around Apple Watch, expands its offering in watchOS 8 with Picture in Picture support and new filtering options, and users can stop and resume an in-progress workout on any device. Later this month, Fitness+ introduces a new series of workouts featuring Jeanette Jenkins, one of the most sought-after fitness experts, and a new Artist Spotlight Series with workouts featuring entire playlists from Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban, and Alicia Keys.
Apple believes privacy is a fundamental human right. Since privacy is particularly important for Health and identification, Health data is encrypted on device or in iCloud with iCloud sync. For identification, Identity Cards in Wallet are encrypted and securely stored in the Secure Element, the same hardware technology used to keep Apple Pay private and secure. Apple cannot see when or where digital IDs are presented when using a driver’s license or state ID.
watchOS 8 is available in developer beta today, public beta next month, and ships to everyone in the fall of 2021.