Alongside iOS 15, iPadOS 15, tvOS 15, and macOS Monterey, Apple also unveiled the next iteration of the operating system for Apple Watches—watchOS 8—at WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference) 2021 back in June. watchOS 8 brings a host of new features such as Focus Mode, Mindfulness, ID Card and Keys in Apple Wallet, Portrait Photos watch faces, and a full-fledged Contacts app. Along with these new features, watchOS 8 also brings a redesigned Home app, new workout modes, and sleep tracking updates. watchOS 8 is expected to roll out sometime later this month to compatible watches.
In this article, we will walk you through all the new and exciting features that you will be able to use right on your wrist with watchOS 8. We have also listed all the wactchOS 8 compatible Apple Watches in this article.
Best watchOS 8 Features Coming To Apple Watches
1. Portrait Photos as Watch Faces
With watchOS 8, Apple is adding a new Photos watch face that uses images captured by the iPhone/iPad using the Portrait mode. Using these portrait mode photos, Apple Watch can create dynamic and multi-layered watch faces. Apart from portrait photos, watchOS 8 can also fetch Memories and Featured photos to generate a grid, and users can tap on any picture to view it in full-screen mode. In full-screen mode, users will also see an option to share the photo via Mail or Messages.
2. Focus Mode
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Apart from iPhones (with iOS 15) and iPads (with iPadOS 15), the Focus Mode feature will also be enabled on Apple Watches (with watchOS 8). Focus Mode will sync across devices, which means that a user enabling Focus Mode using the Apple Watch won’t receive unnecessary notifications on their iPhone and iPad.
3. Mindfulness Improves Upon Breathe App, Adds New Features
Apple is rebranding the Breathe app as Mindfulness with watchOS 8. The company renamed the app as it brings more functionality to the table. The new Mindfulness app offers a Reflect feature that helps users in establishing a meditation practice by focusing on a thought-provoking theme along with some beautiful animation. For breathing exercises, the company has also added some new visualizations that will help users to focus. With the help of Reflect and Breath features, the watchOS 8 will generate Mindful minutes to help users understand the mind-body connection.
4. Use Apple Watch Series 6 As Your Car Key
The Apple Watch Series 6 (and newer models) can now be used to unlock vehicles that have the digital key feature, thanks to UWB (Ultra Wideband). The Ultra Wideband technology helps Apple watch series 6 devices to recognize and unlock the car’s door. Users can also add digital keys for HomeKit compatible locks. These digital keys can also be shared with family members and friends for one-time use or multiple times.
5. Home App For Smart Home Controls
watchOS 8 also brings a redesigned Home app for the Apple Watch. When someone rings a connected doorbell, the Apple Watch will show some options such as unlock the door or turn on the entry lights right away. Apart from this, this redesigned Home app can also present users with the live feed from the HomeKit-compatible security cameras on their wrist. With the live feed, it also offers two-way audio communication.
6. No Need To Reach Out To Your iPhone To Make Calls
With watchOS 8, Apple is bringing a full-fledged Contacts app to the Apple Watch. Users can make a voice call, drop a message, or email anyone without reaching out to their iPhones. The contacts app will also allow users to add or edit contacts from the smartwatch itself.
List Of watchOS 8 Compatible Apple Watches
Apple Watch models released over the past four years are eligible to get the watchOS 8 update, and the list includes the following smartwatches:
- Apple Watch SE (2020)
- Apple Watch Series 6 (2020)
- Apple Watch Series 5 (2019)
- Apple Watch Series 4 (2018)
- Apple Watch Series 3 (2017)
watchOS 8 Release Date
Apple has already released four public beta builds of the watchOS, and we can expect the company to release the first stable build of watchOS 8 sometime in the second half of September 2021 to compatible Apple Watch models. However, those who are impatient always have an option to install watchOS 8 Public Beta on their Apple Watch, provided it is compatible with watchOS 8.
How To Install watchOS 8 Public Beta On Your Apple Watch?
The first thing to note about installing beta watchOS updates on Apple Watches is that the company doesn’t allow downgrading to previous versions of watchOS, so make sure if you want to do it. To gain access to watchOS 8 Public Beta, users must install iOS 15 Public Beta on their connected iPhone. iPhone users running iOS 15 Public Beta on their handsets need to follow the procedure mentioned below.
- Head over to this link and enroll for watchOS 8 Beta.
- Donwload the Beta profile (on the iPhone that is paired to the Apple Watch)
- As soon as the profile is downloaded, head over to Settings > General > Profiles & Device Management > Profile > Install and follow the onscreen instructions.
- In case automatic updates are turned on, the Apple Watch will automatically receive the watchOS 8 Public Beta update. Otherwise, head over to the Apple Watch app on iPhone, tap the My Watch tab, and then go to General > Software Update.