Apple provided a preview of watchOS 8 at WWDC 2021. It will include greater access with Wallet, a more powerful Home app, new workout types in Fitness+, and an updated Breathe app.

New and Updated Features Coming to watchOS 8

When watchOS 8 is released in the fall, Apple Watch 6 users add keys for their home, office, and hotel to Wallet, and tap the wearable to unlock. Identity cards will also be available in Wallet. Those with HomeKit-enabled cameras will be able to see the picture from it on their wrist as part of the updated Home app. The Intercom feature will let users broadcast a message throughout the home or to individual rooms via HomePod, HomePod mini and other devices. Users will be able to combine Scribble, dictation, and emoji within the same message in watchOS 8. Furthermore, they can edit the presented text in dictated messages, and enter a word or phrase. There will also be the option to pick from hundreds of trending GIFs. The Contacts app is coming to Apple Watch too.

Fitness+ and Mindfulness in watchOS 8

Tai Chi and Pilates workouts are being added to Fitness+ in watchOS 8. There is also going to be a new series of workouts featuring Jeanette Jenkins, and the Artist Spotlight Series will have workouts featuring entire playlists from artists likes Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban, and Alicia Keys. Breathe is becoming Mindfulness, offering new ‘Reflect’ sessions containing invites for a positive frame of mind. Staying on health and wellbeing, watchOS 8 uses the built-in accelerometer to measure respiratory rate while sleeping, with the data available to view via the health app. Focus will work on the Apple Watch too

More Features

The photos Watch face has been updated with Portraits. This is an immersive, multilayered effect, that recognizes faces in photos and crops them to highlight the subject. The previously announced AssistiveTouch for people with limb differences will also be part of watchOS 8. There is also:

  • Multiple Timers
  • A new Always-on API for Third-Party apps
  • Find Items and Find Devices to help find lost tagged or devices using the same Apple ID
  • Redesigned music App to allow sharing over messenger and mail
  • Severe Weather notifications and Next Hour precipitation alerts
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