Skip to main content

5 features coming to watchOS you may have missed

Cycling on watchOS 7
Cycling on watchOS 7 (Image credit: Apple)

Apple finally gave us our first glimpse of watchOS 7 at WWDC 2020, and significant improvements are coming across the platform. You've likely heard the big announcements coming in the new update — Sleep tracking, cycling upgrades, and new workout types, just to name a few — but you may not have caught some of the smaller features and changes coming to the platform. Here are five changes coming to watchOS 7 that we think you should know about.

Hearing

Apple Watch Hearing

Apple Watch Hearing (Image credit: Apple)

watchOS 6 introduced the Noise app that let the Apple Watch notify you if you were in a noisy environment that could potentially harm your ears, watchOS 7 aims to improve on that with Hearing.

The hearing will allow your Apple Watch to issues notifications for when you're listening to audio too loud or too much through headphones.

"When total listening with headphones has reached 100 percent of the safe weekly listening amount, Apple Watch provides a notification to the wearer. This amount is based on World Health Organization recommendations that, for instance, a person can be exposed to 80 decibels for about 40 hours per week without an impact to hearing abilities."

Through the Health app on iPhone, you'll be able to see how long you've been exposed to high decibel levels during the week, and you can even control the maximum volume limit you're allowed for headphone audio.

As someone who listens to music much louder than I should most of the time, I'm glad that my Apple Watch and iPhone are going to be able to help remind me to cut back on listening to loud music too often.

Shortcuts app

Yes, that's right, you can now access the Shortcuts on Apple Watch. You can't create Shortcuts on Apple Watch, but you can run the ones you have created right from your wrist.

The more simple the Shortcut, the more likely it will run and execute on the Apple Watch properly, but in theory, it should run more complicated Shortcuts you've created as well.

Updates for complications

Complications are a huge part of Apple Watch, and there are a couple of significant upgrades coming to complications in watchOS 7 — here's a quick breakdown.

Multiple complications from a single app

Apple Watch watchOS 7 multiple complications

Apple Watch watchOS 7 multiple complications (Image credit: Apple)

This is likely the biggest and coolest change coming to complications for watchOS 7, which will let you have multiple different complications from the same app on the same watch face.

If you look at the example Apple has provided (the image on the right), you'll see that on the Infograph watch face, it's running all different complications from the Nike Run Club app. This will be a huge boon to people who use specific watch faces for certain activities to display more relevant information. Plus, it should just give developers more options for complications they can offer for their Apple Watch apps.

New complications

watchOS 7 adds complications for Shortcuts, the new Sleep app, and camera remote, giving you even more complications options when you're constructing new watch faces.

Siri can translate on Apple Watch

Apple Watch watchOS 7 Siri Translate

Apple Watch watchOS 7 Siri Translate (Image credit: Apple)

Siri can now translate phrases and words for you right on the Apple Watch, so you no longer need to use Siri on your phone to translate simple sayings for you.

The feature is pretty straight forward, you just need to invoke Siri on your Apple Watch and ask something like, "How do you say Goodbye in German", and Siri will give you the answer right on your wrist. Plus, Siri will even give you a sound bite of how to say the phrase, super handy and useful tool if you're traveling around.

New mobility metrics

Apple has proved time and time again that as much as the Apple Watch is an extension of your iPhone, it's also super focused on health. In watchOS 7, your Apple Watch can help the Health app track all sorts of new metrics including low-range cardio fitness, walking speed, stair-descent speed, stair-ascent speed, six-minute walk distance, double support time, step length, and asymmetry.

These metrics may sound a little weird, or needless to some, but health care professionals use metrics like this to help monitor patients' mobility as they age. Lots of these metrics are typically taken in a lab setting, but now your Apple Watch and iPhone can help track them.

Any hidden gems in watchOS 7 you know about?

Let us know in the comments down below!

Everything about WWDC 2020
○ WWDC 2020 remote lineup
Download the Apple Developer app (opens in new tab)
iOS/iPadOS 14
○ macOS 10.16
watchOS 7
tvOS 14
Discussion forums

Luke Filipowicz
Staff Writer

Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way. 


Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.