How to Turn on the New Apple Watch Handwashing Timer (and More)

Apple Watch watchOS 7 handwashing feature Credit: Rafael Zeier
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If you told people a few years back that Apple would release a feature that helps Apple Watch users wash their hands properly, most of them would’ve laughed. However, in this day and age, washing your hands could quite literally save your life, even if it still sounds a little silly.

Regardless of the current situation in the world, washing your hands should always be a top priority, even if some of us didn’t see it that way previously. We constantly get germs in our hands because of everything we touch. And even if most of the time our bodies can fight these germs, washing your hands helps with other germs your body might not be ready to handle.

The World Health Organization, or WHO for short, suggests that you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds to kill most of the germs you’ve been in contact with. It seems easy, but many of us overlook this advice without giving it a second thought.

That’s why Apple came up with a simple solution for all Apple Watch users and introduced a new handwashing feature that’s available with watchOS 7.

How Does the Handwashing Feature Work?

Just like you would expect from Apple, the new handwashing feature is pretty simple to use.

Once you start washing your hands, your Apple Watch will use its motion sensors and microphone to detect your hand movements, hear the sound of water and soap, and will automatically start the handwashing feature.

A countdown timer will pop up on your Apple Watch, letting you know when you reach the 20-second mark. Once you’re done, your Apple Watch will congratulate you and will save that information in your Health app.

And, in case you were wondering, Apple states that the sounds used to detect handwashing are not recorded or saved on your Apple Watch or Health app.

If you want, you can go check the Health app and see the frequency and duration of your handwashing in any given day, week, month, or year.

Plus, you can also set your Apple Watch so it gives you a reminder to wash your hands as soon as you get home.

Granted, the handwashing feature isn’t perfect yet, since watchOS 7 is still in beta version. Nevertheless, it works well and is worth trying it out.

How to Enable Handwashing Detection on Your Apple Watch

Even if you’ve already installed watchOS 7 on your Apple Watch, the Handwashing feature is disabled by default. Luckily, turning it on is really easy. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. On your Apple Watch, open Settings.
  2. Scroll down and select Handwashing.
  3. Turn the Time and the Haptics options on.

You’re all set. Now you can give it a try by washing your hands and it’ll automatically start working.

How to Check Your Handwashing Routine on Your iPhone

As I mentioned before, you can also check your handwashing daily, weekly and monthly routine on your iPhone. The Health app shows how many times you’ve washed your hands and how much time it took you to do it. The Health app will give you some information about the importance of washing your hands as well.

Here’s where you can find all of this:

  1. On your iPhone, go to your Health app.
  2. Tap on the Browse tab.
  3. Search for Handwashing.
  4. Select Handwashing.

Here you’ll see all your handwashing information. Keep in mind though, you’ll also need iOS 14 on your iPhone for this to work.

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