watchOS 9 Upgrade Released Today: Here's What Apple Added

​​Apple has begun the rollout of watchOS 9, its latest smartwatch operating system update that brings a host of meaningful new features such as a dedicated system for managing medications, enhanced sleep tracking, and more granular workout metrics, among others. Before we dig into the details, here's what you should know beforehand. The watchOS 9 update is only available for the Apple Watch SE (both generations), Apple Watch Ultra, and the Apple Watch 4 alongside its successors. Plus, it requires an iPhone running the iOS 16 update, which was also released alongside watchOS 9 earlier today.

It's also worth noting here that not all watchOS 9 features will be available on every compatible Apple Watch model. For example, the ability to mirror the smartwatch's UI to an iPhone's screen is only available for Apple Watch Series 6 and later. Moreover, accessing the new multilingual keyboard is a perk that's exclusive to the Apple Watch Series 7, Series 8, and the rugged Ultra model owing to their larger screen size.

Coming to the most notable features in watchOS 9, there is a whole smorgasbord of fitness-centric upgrades. For example, the Sleep app now lets users keep track of sleep stages including REM, deep, and core. The Health app prepares a sleep chart history to compare how sleep patterns evolve based on the wearer's activity patterns over time. Of course, there are a handful of new watch faces, too, setting the tone for a major OS upgrade.

More granular health insights

watchOS 9 also introduces a new Medications appm that lets users keep a tab on their medication routine and also supports reminders so that you don't miss out on a scheduled dosage. For fitness enthusiasts, accessing details such as heart rate zones, elevation figures, and activity rings is just a twist away on the digital crown. Running fans will be glad to know that the smartwatch will now record metrics like stride length and ground contact time, and the update also adds tracking support for Kickboard as an additional form of swimming workout.

One of the most impressive features that the Apple Watch has had to offer ever since ECG measurement arrived is AFib (atrial fibrillation) tracking. With watchOS, Apple is introducing a new FDA-cleared AFib History featurem that tracks heart rhythm irregularities and offers weekly insights into how sleep, workout, and alcohol routines are having an impact on AFib risks. As part of Apple's focus on menstruation, there is also a Cycle Tracking update that warns users if there are chances of any inconsistency, and which might be a symptom of issues like PCOS.

On the accessibility side of things, Quick Actions in watchOS 9 allows smartwatch screen mirroring to a connected iPhone for selected models. Moreover, a double pinch gesture will instantly click a photo or start a workout session. Apple is also taking care of the notification clutter with watchOS 9: following the update, when users are interacting with a feature, notifications will reduced to a slim banner at the top of the screen. You can find the watchOS 9 update option in the Watch app on an iPhone running iOS 16.