New WatchOS 9 Update Brings Upgraded Fitness Features

 Announced today at WWDC, the new Apple Watch software offers more advanced metrics to track running and sleeping.

watchOS 9 introduces new operating metrics for Apple Watch

watchOS 9 brings new ways to stay connected, active, and healthy

Introducing more customizable watch faces, an improved exercise app, sleep stages, a first-of-its-kind AFib History feature, and an all-new medication app

Apple has announced WatchOS 9, its next major software upgrade for the Apple Watch. The company previewed the update during its annual Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday, where it showcased new fitness features for runners, better sleep tracking, an app for tracking medications and new watch faces.

The announcement underscores Apple's focus on health and fitness as key selling points for the Apple Watch. The new features aimed at tracking sleep and new running metrics should help Apple close the gap in capability between its smartwatches and rival devices like those from made by Fitbit, Samsung, Garmin and Oura, among others. The update will debut in the fall for the Apple Watch Series 4 and higher.

A developer preview is available immediately, while a public beta will launch next month.

Apple Unveils watchOS 9 with New Faces + Health and Fitness Features


With WatchOS 9, the Apple Watch will gain new metrics to help runners better understand their performance and reduce risk of injury. These new statistics include vertical oscillation, stride length and ground contact time. A new workout view will let you see more information at a glance, such as segments, splits and elevation.

Heart rate zones will give you deeper insight into the intensity of your workout in WatchOS 9. And a new multisport workout option will let triathletes easily switch between run, bike and swim. Apple is adding a custom exercise option too, that makes it possible to create an interval workout that incorporates rest.

Apple is also improving its sleep analysis by bringing Sleep Stages to its smartwatches. As the name implies, Sleep Stages will tell you how much time you spent in REM, core and deep sleep. Fitness trackers from Fitbit, Samsung and other companies have previously offered this feature, so this addition should bring the Apple Watch up to speed.


WatchOS 9 will bring some improvements to atrial fibrillation detection. Your Apple Watch will now be able to provide more context with a new feature called AFib history, which tracks frequency and other trends related to your heart's condition.

A new medication app is coming to WatchOS 9. The app aims to make it easier to record medications and set regular reminders to take certain medications and vitamins, even without an Apple Watch. You'll be able to add medications by scanning a label or typing the name manually. The app will display information about drug interactions as well.

The update will bring four new watch faces and support for six new keyboard languages. The new watch faces are called Lunar, Playtime, Metropolitan and Astronomy. Other features include less cluttered notifications when the Apple Watch is in use, new quick actions to answer calls or take a photo with a dual-dial gesture and a redesigned dock that prioritizes apps currently in use.


New software updates for major Apple products are usually the cornerstone of WWDC. Apple is using the opening word as an opportunity to get excited about new features and updates before the software arrives later in the year. Although most of the conference takes place virtually, Apple is hosting a special event for developers and students on Monday at its Apple Park campus.

The announcement comes as Apple maintains its leading position in the smartwatch industry. Apple accounted for 36.1% of smartwatch shipments in the first quarter of 2022, which is an increase from 35.9% in the same period last year, according to Counterpoint Research. Apple accounted for 28.9% of core and smartwatch shipments in the first quarter of 2022, according to a report from research firm Canalys.

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