watchOS 7: How to Use the New Apple Watch Handwashing Feature

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In watchOS 7 for Apple Watch, Apple introduced handwashing detection, which helps users wash their hands properly to keep viruses and bacteria at bay.


Washing your hands is one of the most important protections against getting sick and preventing the spread of germs. But only if you do it correctly – and most people don't. One study highlighted by Apple showed that as many as 95 percent of us either wash too fast, use water but no soap, or just don't wash at all.

To increase the chances of proper handwashing, your ‌Apple Watch‌ can display a countdown to help you wash your hands for 20 seconds, which is the recommended duration, according to The World Health Organization (WHO). The countdown will relay haptic feedback when it starts and ends, so you don't even need to interact with or look at your ‌Apple Watch‌ to use it.

What's more, the handwashing timer will appear automatically on your wrist whenever you start washing your hands. That's because ‌watchOS 7‌ can recognize when you rub your hands and will listen out for the accompanying sound of running water and soap being used.

Here's how to enable the Handwashing feature on ‌Apple Watch‌ running ‌watchOS 7‌ or later.

  1. Launch the Settings app on your ‌Apple Watch‌.
  2. Scroll down and tap Handwashing.
  3. Toggle the switch next to Handwashing Timer to the green ON position.
  4. Do the same on the switch next to Handwashing Reminders, if desired. (When enabled, you'll receive a notification if you haven't washed your hands within a few minutes of returning home.)
    settings

How to View Your Handwashing Stats on iPhone

  1. Launch the Health app on your ‌iPhone‌.
  2. Tap the Browse tab.
  3. Search for Handwashing using the Search field.
  4. Tap the Handwashing result.
    health

Use the tabs above the chart to see your handwashing history over the day, week, month, or year.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 6, watchOS 7
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
2 weeks ago
If you need an app to wash your hands, you failed at life.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
2 weeks ago
I'm washing my hands of this feature.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
2 weeks ago


If you need an app to wash your hands, you failed at life.

What about children and adults with learning disabilities or traumatic brain injury? Are they failures at life because they need a tool like this to assist them in their day to day life?

Are young kids failures at life because they are using this app, along with their parents, to get in the habit of good hygiene?

In my opinion, you need to really stop and think before speaking. What you said is wrong on so many levels.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
2 weeks ago


It should be noted that this feature seems to only work on series 4 and later watches.

Yup. No washing for dirty series 3 users.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
2 weeks ago


I'm washing my hands of this feature.

You need to clean up your act.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
2 weeks ago


I don't get this. Can people not count to 20 anymore?

Right? The amount of energy spent on that which could have went to something more innovative. Next up on the innovation list: a “make sure to chew 30 times before you swallow” app that uses EarPods’ accelerometer and a “don’t make that face or it will stick like that” app using facial recognition.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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