While the Apple Watch, didn't get as much attention at WWDC as macOS or iOS, Apple's new watchOS 6 update still introduces a handful of important new features. From new capabilities to apps that have long been "missing" from watchOS, here's how the new wearable operating system update will make your Apple Watch much more capable and independent. Continue reading to learn about the 6 Best New Features in watchOS 6.
New Watch Faces
As is typical, there are also several new watch faces available in watchOS 6. That includes Modular Compact, Solar Dial, California, Gradient and Numerals watch faces. (Similarly, Apple has debuted new pride edition bands to match the existing pride watch face.)
There are some other face-related features, too. Some faces will now support a Taptic chime, which will alert you when the hour’s changed. Lastly, there are some new complications that will allow you to access watchOS apps and features without leaving the watch face.
New Native Apps
Calculator watches have been a thing for many, many years. That makes the lack of a calculator app on watchOS kind of weird. Well, that’s no longer the case in watchOS 6. Apple has officially added its native Calculator to its wearable operating system — which includes a new bill-splitting feature.
That isn’t the only native app coming to watchOS 6. Apple has also introduced Voice Memos, meaning you can quickly record a memo from your wrist without grabbing you iPhone. watchOS 6 will now also support easy Shazam song identification, although it’s a feature baked into Siri rather than a standalone app.
App Store on Your Wrist
One of the most significant changes in watchOS 6 is the addition of the App Store. Yes, that’s right. You can now download apps straight to your Apple Watch, by asking Siri, without even pulling out your iPhone.
This also means that watchOS apps can be standalone, without the need for an iOS companion app. This could open the door for developers to create exciting new apps — and it brings the Apple Watch one step closer to full autonomy.
The Activity app is getting a “trendy” boost in watchOS 6. There’s a new Activity Trends feature in Activity that lets users compare a 90-day period to the rest of a year to see if certain health metrics are on the rise (or declining).
Those metrics include stand minutes, exercise, cardio levels, and more. To help users make sense of the new health data, Apple has also redesigned the Health homepage to be much more intuitive. That way, you can see your progress at a glance.
Apple markets the Apple Watch as a full-fledged health and wellness device. But a long-standing criticism of the platform has been the inability for women to track their reproductive health natively. Apple has heard those concerns and has responded in watchOS 6.
The update now includes a native Cycle Tracking app. In addition to tracking a woman’s menstrual and fertility cycles, the app can also let users log a variety of other metrics — such as daily temperature and period symptoms. Of course, all of this data is secure and protected, too.
Ambient Noise Levels
The Apple Watch also has ambient noise level detection. As long as you have watchOS 6, your wearable will now analyze the noise level in your environment — and can even warn you if that level rises to above 90 decibels.
Any noise above 90 decibels is, according to the World Health Organization, dangerous to your hearing. That means the Apple Watch can now look out for your aural health — whether you work on a construction job site or you just frequent loud concerts and festivals. And don't worry: watchOS won't record or save any audio.