All the New watchOS 9 Features

BY Parth Shah

Published 10 Jun 2022

Apple officially introduced the next-generation Apple Watch OS – watchOS 9 at WWDC 2022. While the watchOS 9 update doesn’t sound as exciting as iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS Ventura on paper, dig deeper and you will plenty of changes and improvements to look forward to this fall. Here are all new watchOS 9 features.

1. New Watch Faces

Let’s start the list with the biggest in-your-face (pun intended) change. Apple is offering four new watch faces – Lunar, Playtime, Metropolitan, and the original Astronomy to choose from. Once you install watchOS 9, don’t forget to check out the new watch faces on your Apple Watch.

2. Check More Information During Workouts

With watchOS 9, the Workout app isn’t limited to showing basic information only. Use the Digital Crown on your Apple Watch and check metrics including Activity Rings, Heart Rate Zones, Elevation, and power.  

3. Customize Your Workouts

Not everyone follows the same training style. You might want to take five minutes to reset after a heavy workout. You can now customize workouts to your preferences. The system will also send real-time alerts for pace, heart rate, power, and cadence.

4. Heart Rate Zones

No exercise is worth giving your heart more stress than necessary. watchOS 9’s Heart Rate Zones will give an indication of your intensity level. The system uses your health data and calculates it automatically.

5. Better Distance and Time Detection

This is quite useful for regular runners. The system will notify you if you are on pace to meet your goal. If you are running slower or faster, the dynamic pacing will help you achieve the goal in time.

6. Race Against Your Personal Best

If you do outdoor runs or cycling frequently, you have an option to beat your last best score. Once you enable the option, watchOS 9 will send real-time alerts to help you set the new score.

7. Running Form Metrics

To better understand your running style, you can now add stride length, ground contact time, and vertical oscillation to Workout Views and check all the data using the Digital Crown. You can check how efficiently you run and whether you need to tweak your running style or not.

WWDC 2022 WatchOS 9 Vertical Oscillation Running

8. Reminders for Medications

Since Apple Watch is laser-focused on health, it was about time the company introduced reminders for medications. While most people prefer to use a dedicated reminders app to track medicine intake, the same integration with the Health app in watchOS 9 is a step in the right direction.

9. Sleep Stages

The sleep tracking functionality in Apple Watch is basic at best. Apple is finally adding more features to it with watchOS 9 update. Sleep stages help you better understand your sleep patterns at night. You can check how much time you were awake, your deep sleep data, and other interesting tidbits about your sleep.

10. Portrait Face Enhancements

watchOS 9 offers new watch faces but most people simply prefer a personalized experience by putting their photos on it. If you are among them, you now have an option to add a hint of portrait mode effect to blur the background and keep the main subject in focus.

11. New Podcast App

With watchOS 9, you no longer need to rely on your iPhone to play and listen to podcasts. Thanks to a new Podcast app, you can discover and follow new podcasts right from your wrist.

12. Invite Your Children to the Home App

You can now invite your little ones to the Home app as members and they can take control of HomePod speakers and smart accessories like door locks, security cameras, fans, thermostats, and more. You can also add essentials like home keys, hotel keys, and car keys, to the Wallet app and let your kids access them to get in.

13. Notifications Improvements

This one is straight from iOS and iPadOS. When you are actively using Apple Watch, new alerts won’t take up the whole screen. Instead, they will appear at the top as a banner. If you aren’t interacting with your Apple Watch, you will receive the same old full-screen notifications.

14. Better App Management in the Dock

watchOS 9 will prioritize apps running in the background over other apps in the Dock. It’s a quality of life improvement that you won’t notice at a first glance but surely will appreciate over time.

15. Create New Events in the Calendar App

As the headline suggests, you can now create new events in the Apple Watch Calendar app. The improved interface also makes it easy to navigate to specific days or weeks on your wrist.

watchOS 9 is full of small enhancements such as new customization options for selected watch faces, accessibility improvements, new language support for the keyboard, trailer callouts, and more. It is shaping up to be an ideal upgrade for compatible Apple Watch models. Which features are you excited to try out this fall? Share them in the comments section below.