WWDC22: watchOS 9 adds Customizable Watch Faces, updated Workout App and Medication Reminders

Apple Watch users will now have more watch faces to choose from, with richer complications that provide more information and opportunity for personalization. In the updated Workout app, advanced metrics, views, and training experiences inspired by high-performing athletes help users take their workouts to the next level. watchOS 9 brings sleep stages to the Sleep app, and a AFib History feature provides deeper insights into a user’s condition. The new Medications app makes it easy for users to conveniently and discreetly manage, understand, and track medications.

Workout App Updates
The Workout app has been updated to provide richer metrics for measuring performance, as well as new training experiences to help users reach fitness goals. The familiar in-session display now uses the Digital Crown to rotate between Workout Views, so users can see important metrics for different training styles. Heart Rate Zones, which can be manually created or automatically calculated using personalized Health data, can be used to monitor the intensity of a workout. Interval training is an important part of any training plan, and in watchOS 9, the Workout app introduces Custom Workouts, which can be used to create a structured workout that can include work and rest intervals. New alerts, including pace, power, heart rate, and cadence, can be added to guide users throughout the workout.

Sleep tracking in watchOS 9 provides even more insights with the introduction of sleep stages. Using signals from the accelerometer and heart rate sensor, Apple Watch can detect when users are in REM, Core, or Deep sleep. Users will see sleep stage data on Apple Watch in the Sleep app and can view more detailed information, like time asleep, alongside additional metrics, like heart rate and respiratory rate, in sleep comparison charts in the Health app on iPhone.

Currently, the ECG app and irregular rhythm notification on Apple Watch can identify potential signs of atrial fibrillation (AFib).
With watchOS 9, users who are diagnosed with AFib can turn on the AFib History feature and access important information, including an estimate of how frequently a user’s heart rhythm shows signs of AFib, providing deeper insights into their condition. Users will also receive weekly notifications to understand frequency and view a detailed history in the Health app, including lifestyle factors that may influence AFib, like sleep, alcohol consumption, and exercise.
Users can download a PDF with a detailed history of their AFib and lifestyle factors, which can easily be shared with doctors and care providers for more informed conversations.

The new Medications experience on Apple Watch and iPhone helps users manage and track their medications, vitamins, and supplements, allowing them to create a medications list, set up schedules and reminders, and view information on their medications in the Health app. The Medications app on Apple Watch makes it easy for users to conveniently and discreetly track medications.
Custom schedules can be created for each medication, whether it needs to be taken multiple times a day, once a week, or as needed, and users can set up reminders to help keep them on track.

Additional watchOS 9 Updates
Notifications have been redesigned to be less interruptive, arriving with new slimline banners when Apple Watch is being actively used.

With Quick Actions on Apple Watch, users can do even more with a double-pinch gesture, including answer or end a phone call, take a photo, play or pause media in the Now Playing app, and start, pause, or resume a workout. This builds on the technology used in Assistive Touch on Apple Watch, which gives users with upper body limb differences the option to control Apple Watch with gestures like a pinch or a clench without having to tap the display.

Availability
The developer beta of watchOS 9 is available to Apple Developer Program members at developer.apple.com starting today. A public beta will be available to watchOS users next month at beta.apple.com. watchOS 9 will be available this fall as a free software update for Apple Watch Series 4 or later paired with iPhone 8 or later and iPhone SE (second generation) or later, running iOS 16.

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Eddy Ndungu
Eddy Ndungu

Just another papercut survivor.

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