If you’ve been eagerly awaiting the day when your Apple Watch could track your sleep, it’s time for a watchOS 7 beta install and an early bedtime. Freshly released today, the first Apple Watch watchOS 7 public beta gives a taste of the new features announced at WWDC 2020 earlier in the year, of which sleep tracking is just one.
There are new watch faces, for example, with more space for customization on some and larger, more info-rich complications on others. It’s not just aesthetic improvements, either, with the ability now for a single app to power multiple complications rather than just one.
Customized faces can now be shared, too, either through a Messages link or online. There’ll be curated Apple Watch faces in the App Store, too.
For fitness, there’s now support for new types of workout including Dance, Functional Strength Training, and Core Training. Apple has also added Cooldown tracking. The iPhone Fitness app has been updated to go along with all that, with a new visualization layout for Activity, Workouts, Awards, and Activity Trends on one screen.
For cycling, there’s now integration with Apple Maps for Apple Watch. You can get bike-friendly routes – complete with information on changes in elevation, which roads or paths have bike lanes available, and which roads are busier than others – and cycling focused points-of-interest like cafes and bike shops along the route. Directions are pinged to your wrist, complete with instructions for when you might want to walk your bike or carry it up or down stairs.
It’s probably sleep tracking which is the most eagerly-anticipated feature of watchOS 7, though. Something rival smartwatches have been offering for some years now, Apple’s version of the technology not only builds a custom schedule – including putting your iPhone into Do Not Disturb mode – but adds a Wind Down phase to try to calm you down before sleep.
While you’re in bed, it tracks different phases of sleep, and then puts that data into a record of the week, month, or longer in your Apple Health folio. When it comes time to wake up, meanwhile, there’s a weather report and other information.
That’s not the only health-related change. The Apple Watch can now remind you to wash your hands when you get home and for the recommended 20 seconds, using the motion sensors and microphone to automatically run a timer.
Signing up to the watchOS 7 public beta is free, though Apple does warn that this is non-final software and so there could well be some bugs. If you want to give it a try all the same, you can sign up at Apple’s beta software program site. That also has instructions on how to install the new version to your Apple Watch.