Apple Announces watchOS 7 With Enhanced Face Customizations, Handwashing Detection, and More

Apple today previewed watchOS 7, announcing new features coming to the Apple Watch like enhanced customization tools, updated health and fitness features, handwashing detection, new workout types, and more.

watchos 7 main image
The first feature Apple talked about today was an update to Faces on Apple Watch. watchOS 7 lets users customize and personalize faces, and then share them via Messages or Mail. New faces can also be discovered through the App Store and links from websites and social media.

New faces include the Chonograph Pro with a tachymeter to calculate the speed based on time traveled over a fixed distance, the Photos face with color filters, and the bold X-Large face with a new option to add a rich complication.

Amid all these updates, developers can now offer more than one complication per app on a single watch face. Apple gave the example that the "Dawn Patrol" app can create a face that shows tide, wind speed, and water temperature for surfers.

watchos 7 sleep
Another area focused on by Apple today was sleep tracking. Apple is focusing on this by allowing Apple Watch to detect micro-movements during sleep with the watch's accelerometer. This captures when the wearer is sleeping and how much sleep they get each night. In Sleep Mode, Apple Watch turns on Do Not Disturb and darkens the screen.

When it's time to wake up, Apple Watch offers a silent haptic alarm or gentle sounds. Apple will also warn users if the battery is too low within an hour of bedtime. This way, they can be sure to charge the Apple Watch before they go to sleep.

All of this data will be fed into the Health iOS app, showing your average time in bed, time asleep, schedule, sleep goals, and more stats over time. To support better sleep, Wind Down mode allows users to create customized routines before bed by connecting to the Home app to dim lights.

watch os 7 hand wash
The next new feature is automatic handwashing detection, which encourages users to keep washing their hands for 20 seconds to prevent the spread of illness. Apple Watch uses motion sensors, microphone, and machine learning to automatically detect handwashing motions and sounds, starting a 20-second countdown with a custom animation.

For Workouts, users will now have access to four new workout types: Core Training, Dance, Functional Strength Training, and Cooldown. Apple has also redesigned the Activity app on iOS, which it's now calling Fitness, with a streamlined view of daily Activity, Workouts, Awards, Activity Trends, and more.

watchos 7 sound
In terms of updates to the Noise app, watchOS 7 will now be able to warn users that loud music can have through their headphones. When they reach 100 percent of the safe weekly listening amount in a week, Apple will send a notification and turn down the volume.

Some more quick watchOS 7 updates include:

  • Cycling directions in Maps
  • Siri translation for many languages
  • SwiftUI graphic complications can be created by developers
  • New complications for native features like Camera Remote, Sleep, and Shortcuts
  • Mobility Metrics in Health app to track walking speed, step length, and more

watchOS 7 will be available this fall as a free software update for Apple Watch Series 3, Series 4, and Series 5.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch Series 9, WWDC 2024
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)

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Top Rated Comments

parseckadet Avatar
52 months ago

I guess all the cool stuff will be tied to the Series 6 as everyone expected.

Curious about the face app store byline - custom faces in App Store? That is kind of a big deal.
Again, not sure where this is coming from. See the two posts right above yours.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kitenski Avatar
52 months ago

Intel Power Gadget while watching YouTube and seeing that Chrome/Microsoft Edge used more than double(!) the amount of package power

Massive wish from me as well - and another big miss... Growing tired of the massive missed opportunity here
check out workoutdoors app for intervals and also pacing support...
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MacAddictPM Avatar
52 months ago
I like it. Reminds me there are many talented people at Apple collectively pumping out these great technologies.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Jmausmuc Avatar
52 months ago

What the heck is up with the million hand offs...Tim: Here is Craig, Craig here is x, x here is y, y here is z
For christs sake, its getting out of hand. I miss the days of just Jobs
They are doing something new because of corona. I like it.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
lmcrael Avatar
52 months ago
I really want them to add group activity challenges to the watch. I use the activity challenges weekly on my apple watch, but I have groups of friends that i would like to compete with. Thats the only workout function I wish we had.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jhfenton Avatar
52 months ago

sleep tracking looks great, but when will you charge the watch if you use it day and night?
I sleep with my Watch now, and I charge it when I'm sitting at my desk or driving. It charges pretty fast.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)