watchOS 7 FAQ: Everything you need to know about the Apple Watch operating system

It’s not just the iPhone and the Mac that are getting sweet new features in the fall. Apple also unveiled the newest watchOS features that are coming to the Apple Watch, and there are some major changes in store. Here’s everything we know so far.

The latest: watchOS 7 Public Beta now available

Apple has opened up the Public Beta Software Program for watchOS 7. If you are interested in installing the beta, you have to sign up at the Apple Beta Software Program website, using the iPhone associated with your Apple Watch. We have a seaprate article that details the beta and how to get it.

What are the new features?

Complications

Apple hasn’t unveiled any new watch faces just yet—we assume those are coming with the Series 6 update likely due later this year—but there are major changes coming to the existing faces. You’ll be able to set more than one complication per app, so developers will be able to offer more than just a single option. For example, a weather app could offer complications for temperature, conditions, UV index, and wind speed, which would all be available on the same face.

watchos 7 faces Apple

Watch face complications are getting a major upgrade in watchOS 7.

To get things started, Apple has added a couple of new complications of its own, including a tachymeter on the Chronograph Pro and a single giant complication on the minimal X-Large face. We expect more will be added before watchOS 7 launches in the fall.

Watch faces

Apple still isn’t allowing for custom faces, but we’re getting the next best thing in watchOS 7: watch face sharing. You’ll now be able to share your favorite faces—complete with all of your complications and color choices—with your friends, either directly or through social media. Developers will be able to offer specialized faces based on their own apps that you can download right to your watch.

Sleep tracking

If there’s one feature we’ve wanted since the days of the original solid-gold Apple Watch, it’s sleep tracking. And we’re finally getting it in watchOS 7. Sleep tracking is part of a larger focus on sleep health in iOS 14 that works with your iPhone to develop habits that will help you sleep longer.

watchos 7 sleep Apple

The Apple Watch will finally be able to track sleep natively in watchOS 7.

Sleep tracking on watchOS 7 is part of the iPhone’s new Sleep Mode, which will limit access to chosen apps so you can begin preparing for sleep. Once your set bedtime is reached, your Apple Watch will enter Do Not Disturb mode and the screen will no longer wake when raised or tapped. Additionally, a new Wind Down feature assists you in establishing a bedtime routine with shortcuts that help you relax, such as opening a meditation app or dimming your Hue lights. It’ll even play a short lullaby when it is time for bed, and haptics when you want to wake up.

In addition to helping you get to sleep and wake up, watchOS 7 will also keep track of how much you sleep. Each morning you’ll get a chart showing your time in bed and your time asleep, and your watch will offer charging reminders both before you go to sleep and after you wake up, in case your levels are too low. You’ll also see weekly and monthly trends, and heart-rate data to get a complete picture of your sleep health.