watchOS 11: Everything We Know

watchOS 11, the latest version of the operating system that runs on the Apple Watch, is on the horizon. This update introduces several new health, fitness, and communication features aimed at enhancing the user experience.

One of the significant additions to watchOS 11 is the improved Smart Stack. This feature now incorporates new widgets like Shazam, Photos, and Distance, offering users access to app functionalities directly from the Smart Stack. Additionally, it supports Live Activities and suggests widgets based on various factors such as time, date, location, and daily routines, ensuring relevant content is always accessible.

watchOS 11 also introduces Check In, allowing users to start a process from the Workout app for friends or family members to monitor their workouts. This feature is also accessible via the Messages app.

A notable feature of watchOS 11 is the Vitals app. It offers insights into key health metrics like heart rate, respiratory rate, wrist temperature, sleep duration, and blood oxygen, helping users understand their health status better. The app uses these metrics to generate a daily report on whether the data is within typical ranges for each user. Notably, when two or more metrics deviate from standard ranges, the Vitals app can alert users and suggest potential factors, including alcohol consumption, illness, and changes in elevation.

Cycle tracking has also been updated to provide more comprehensive support to pregnant users, showing gestational age and accommodating symptom logging.

Training load, a new method of assessing the impact of workout intensity and duration on the body, has been introduced in watchOS 11. This feature offers users insights into the strain on their bodies over the last seven days in comparison to the last 28 days. It can aid in training decisions when preparing for events like a 5K or a bike race.

After every workout, users receive an effort rating that reflects the workout’s difficulty level. This rating considers factors such as age, height, weight, and workout data like GPS, heart rate, and elevation. Users can manually adjust the rating to factor in additional elements like stress and soreness, and it can also be manually added for workouts like strength training. The Fitness app provides users with information on possible impacts if they continue to train at a certain level, such as changes in fitness or the risk of injury.

Additionally, the Workout app now supports more workout types that can track distance, including Soccer, American Football, and Golf, among others. Custom Workouts can also be created for pool swims.

watchOS 11 offers more customizable Activity rings, including rest days and changes to activity needed to fill the ring each day based on the user’s preference. Users can also customize the Summary tab to show the most relevant information to them.

Apple has revamped Apple Fitness+ with watchOS 11, incorporating a personalized For You space, Explore and Library spaces, improved search features, and better rewards.

watchOS 11 has updated the Photos watch face to help users choose the best photo options based on aesthetics, composition, and facial expressions. The Dynamic mode presents a new image each time the user lifts their wrist.

Translate has been extended to the Apple Watch, providing direct access to translations on the wrist. watchOS 11 also integrates Apple Maps with hiking routes for all U.S. national parks.

watchOS 11 adds several convenient features like Double Tap (available on Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2), which enables scrolling through apps with one hand, summarized notifications that can be forwarded from iPhone 15 Pro models, and the Wallet app’s support for enhanced ticketing to provide information about the venue and show being attended.

A new Apple Pay feature, Tap to Cash, allows users to send and receive Apple Cash by holding Apple Watch near another Apple Watch or iPhone, without exchanging contact information.

watchOS 11 is currently available to developers, with plans to release a public beta in July and the official launch this fall.

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