Apple Watch Guided Audio Workouts Are Likely Coming to watchOS 7.3

Apple Watch Time to Walk Settings Credit: Jesse Hollington
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Last month Apple launched its anticipated Apple Fitness+ service, offering a collection of video workouts led by professional trainers, and now new evidence found in the latest iOS 14.4 and watchOS 7.3 betas suggest that it could be planning to expand that service to help Apple Watch users access these workouts on the go.

While Apple Fitness+ is certainly most enjoyable on a larger-screened device like an Apple TV or an iPad, it’s also possible to access the video workouts on an iPhone, so you can already take your Apple Fitness+ service on the road with you. However, this is obviously intended to let you workout at your gym, office, or when visiting friends and family, since these are still video-based workouts.

Now it looks like Apple may be planning a new “Time to Walk” workout that would allow users to listen to some form of guided audio workout when out and about.

A new option found by developer Khaos Tian in the Workout settings in iOS 14.4 and watchOS 7.3 shows a new “Time to Walk” section with a toggle switch to “Add Newest Workouts to Watch,” suggesting that this involves downloading walking workouts to the Apple Watch so that they can be used when away from the iPhone and offline.

Specifically, the description of the feature notes:

Time to Walk Workouts are downloaded when Apple Watch is connected to power and near your iPhone. Completed workouts are deleted automatically.

While the description seems clear enough, 9to5Mac has dug a bit deeper into the iOS 14.4 code to discover that it refers to actual guided audio workouts, which seems to make sense as it’s hard to imagine what else would need to be downloaded to the Apple Watch — and take up so much space that it would need to be removed when no longer needed.

The fact that the feature uses the same language as “Time to Stand” also hints that Apple could be planning to offer reminders and goals to encourage users to walk at least once per day, similarly to how stand reminders work right now, although it seems unlikely Apple will add a new ring for this, since the Exercise ring somewhat serves this purpose already.

While Apple’s Fitness+ service does offer walking workouts, these are currently designed only for indoor exercises on a treadmill, so offering guided audio walking workouts would likely help encourage more Apple Watch users to get on board with the service, which Apple has generally tried to make as accessible as possible without the need to purchase expensive equipment.

According to 9to5Mac, however, the code found so far doesn’t provide any indication whether “Time to Walk” will be tied to Apple Fitness+ or be available for any Apple Watch user; although the workouts will naturally be contained in the Fitness app (the one formerly known as “Activity”), that’s to be expected as that’s been the home for all of Apple’s self-guided workouts from the very beginning.

It also appears that Apple is preparing an alternative version of the workouts for wheelchair users, dubbed “Time to Push” in much the same way that the “Stand” ring becomes a “Roll” ring and “Outdoor Walk” becomes “Outdoor Push” when the user’s Health Profile indicates that they’re in a wheelchair.

While the “Time to Walk” setting doesn’t yet change in this case, 9to5Mac has found references to it within the iOS 14.4 and watchOS 7.3 beta code.

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