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Along with iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS 12 Monterey, Apple didn’t mention every new feature that’s coming to watchOS 8 this fall for lack of time. But, among many new features and upgrades for your Apple Watch, Apple’s also looking to improve the Always-On Display.
Now, both first and third-party apps will be able to use this feature to show off their apps all the time, giving users quicker access, instead of just showing a blurred view.
Say Goodbye to Blurred Screens
Currently, the Always-On Display, which is only available on the Apple Watch Series 5 and Apple Watch Series 6, is only capable of showing a blurred view of the app you’re on along with the time. This will change with watchOS 8, because now developers can have the option to rebuild their apps to show the app’s full user interface even in a dimmed state.
What’s cool about this is that apps in a dimmed state will keep showing you all the information you need on your watch without having to touch your Apple Watch to get it out of the always-on state. Likewise, all buttons and actions on an app would remain interactive.
You’ll be able to touch a button immediately instead of waking up your Apple Watch’s display first, similar to how you can tap on complications when your Apple Watch is in its always-on state.
Some First-Party Apps Already Use This Feature
As you’d expect, Apple’s already employing this new update with some of its apps. As of right now, the Music app, Maps, and Calculator feature this new dimmed state, making it easier to change songs, check your directions and see results without having to touch the screen.
Fortunately, third-party developers will also be able to use this feature. Apple made this new API available for all developers, and they’ll be able to add this new feature to their watchOS 8 apps.
More watchOS 8 Features to Come
Along with this Always-On Display update, watchOS 8 will bring many more features, including Improved Sleep Tracking, Messages updates, and a new feature that’ll notify you if you’re leaving your iPhone behind.
The watchOS 8 software update and all the other software updates Apple showed off at WWDC are set to be released this fall.