watchOS 8 expands Always-On display support to more apps including Timers, Podcasts, Mindfulness, and more

Apple Watch Series 5
Apple Watch Series 5 (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple announced watchOS 8 earlier today.
  • One of the new features sees Apple expand support for the Always-On screen to new apps.

Apple's WWDC21 event is now underway and we're digesting the news that came out of today's opening keynote. Now that the wraps have been taken off watchOS 8 we're learning more about what we can expect when the update lands later this year, with some surprising new features coming.

Hidden at the bottom of an Apple Newsroom post is the news that Apple is expanding support for the Always-On display to new apps. Many of which I thought already had it!

Apple is also going to make it easier for developers to take advantage of the Always-On display as well, with a new Always-On API coming for third-party apps.

In watchOS 8, more Apple Watch apps support the Always-On display, including Maps, Mindfulness, Now Playing, Phone, Podcasts, Stopwatch, Timers, Voice Memos, and others. watchOS 8 is also making it easier for developers to keep their apps timely and relevant with a new Always-On API for third-party apps.

The new improvements and APIs will be available to the world when watchOS 8 ships later this fall. The early beta is already in the hands of developers while those on the public beta program will be able to get in on the fun starting next month. As always, Id suggest leaving well alone unless you have a spare Apple Watch to test watchOS 8 on. The early betas are notoriously buggy and you can't downgrade to watchOS 7 once watchOS 8 is installed.

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Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.