We’ve seen several reports this year suggesting that Apple has been working on sleep tracking for the Apple Watch, from the company’s acquisition of Beddit back in 2017 to a report from Bloomberg stating that the company has already been testing the new feature for inclusion in a future Apple Watch model.
Although Bloomberg conceded that a full sleep tracking feature might not be ready until the sixth-generation Apple Watch arrives next year, evidence surfaced last month that Apple could have been preparing to debut a more basic sleep tracking capability with the Apple Watch Series 5 and/or watchOS 6.
While that obviously wasn’t available at launch, it seems that the idea isn’t completely off the table, and could arrive in a later iOS and watchOS point release. Eagle-eyed MacRumors reader Daniel Marcinkowski recently noticed a screenshot on the App Store for Apple’s Alarms app that includes a “Sleep” label and descriptive text that makes reference to a “Sleep app.”
The Alarms app is normally pre-installed on the Apple Watch, and has only recently become available on the App Store as a result of the ability to remove apps from your Apple Watch introduced in watchOS 6.
No other information is provided in the app listing, and actually installing the Alarms app from the App Store doesn’t show any indication of this particular screenshot, so it’s a safe bet that Apple shared this screenshot accidentally from a version of the Alarms app that’s actually still in development, although its presence certainly suggests the feature could be coming sooner rather than later.
Time in Bed Tracking
Sources who spoke to 9to5Mac in early September, just prior to Apple’s fall unveil, revealed an internal project codenamed “Burrito” that was expected to be released as “Time in Bed Tracking.”
While this sounds similar to the Bedtime feature that Apple added to the iOS Clock app in iOS 10, that feature has always been conspicuously absent from the Apple Watch itself — even to the point where the alarm set by the Bedtime feature sounds only on the iPhone.
Even if the new feature does nothing more than extend Bedtime to the Apple Watch, this could be a huge boon for more accurate tracking of how much time you spend in bed. The iPhone version of the feature relies mostly on how you use your iPhone — when you set it down for the night and when you pick it up in the morning — to determine when you’re in bed. This means that unless you’re reaching for your iPhone every time you get out of bed, it won’t track times when you wake up in the middle of the night, or even if you get up before your alarm goes off.
As long as you wear your Apple Watch to bed, however, you’d get much more accurate tracking simply by using those sensors to determine when you actually lie down and when you get up, not to mention being able to factor in data such as your heart rate, and even ambient noise, thanks to the new noise detection features that are already in watchOS 6. This could allow the new Sleep app to provide data on quality of sleep, rather than merely quantity.
Although the versions of watchOS 6 and iOS 13 that are publicly available and in beta testing don’t seem to include any references to a “Sleep” app, MacRumors found evidence of it in an internal build of iOS 13, and it stands to reason that there are similar internal versions of watchOS 6 being developed within Apple’s walls.