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watchOS 7 tips and tricks: new ways to make your Apple Watch better than ever

Make the most of the new software

watchOS 7 tips and tricks
(Image: © Apple)

While iOS 14 offers a big overhaul of much of the consumer-facing side of Apple's mobile operating system, watchOS 7 is much more of an incremental upgrade.

That's not to say it's not worth it, though, but with many of its biggest features being perhaps a little less "flashy" than it's phone-based counterpart, you might need to dig a little deeper to find what's new. Thankfully, we've been running the watchOS 7 beta, and we've done the hard work so you don't have to.

Before we begin, a quick note on the beta - the current public beta version of watchOS 7 feels impressively stable, especially considering this is the platform's first open beta. 

That said, issues could crop up on subsequent builds, and with Apple needing to repair your device if you want to roll it back, it's hard to recommend jumping right in until we're certain there won't be any issues.

Check out the new watch face

watchOS 7

(Image credit: Apple)

Barring any surprising new additions once the inevitable Apple Watch 6 launches later this year, this year's new watch face is the Chronograph Pro.

This classic design adds a Tachymeter, as well as larger complications (widgets to your or I) for the larger Apple Watch displays. While it won't be to everyone's tastes, it is worth noting that the face itself is just as customizable as any other to help you find the right fit for you.

Share your custom watch faces

watchOS 7

(Image credit: Apple)

On the subject of customization, users can now share their tailored watch faces straight from their wrist. If you get a compliment from a friend on the look of yours, you can just ping an openable link from the watch face selection screen.

If the person downloading the face doesn't have any of the required apps or complications to complete the look, they'll be prompted to download them. It's not quite the third-party watch face marketplace many had hoped for, but it's a fun way of sharing your setup in an easily downloadable manner.

In fact, these links can even be posted online, meaning enthusiast sites can essentially act as a watch gallery of sorts.

Multiple complications per face 

watchOS 7

(Image credit: Apple)

Sticking to watch faces just for a little longer, the Apple Watch can now support multiple complications from the same app.

The options are limited in the current beta, but it means you can have "Battery" and "Mobile Data" from the Controls app on your device. In theory, you'll be able to have multiple to-do lists visible, different weather forecasts, and more.

It's a little limited at present, but it should lead to a much more impressive watch face diversity.

Chat to your new Siri

watchOS 7

(Image credit: Apple)

As with iOS and iPadOS, Siri has gotten a little bit of a rework. Apple's assistant will now respond to your queries more quickly, as well as offering a cleaner appearance.

It's nice to have, but if you're not a fan of Siri, it's unlikely you'll be converted.

Perhaps more impressively is Siri translation, which will now translate words or sentences for up to 10 languages. This is all done on-device, too, so it's more secure as well as faster.

Enjoy a speed boost

Because of some subtle animation tweaks, watchOS 7 feels a lot faster than previous versions. If you pressed the side button before to wake up the screen, before pressing it again to get to your Dock, you'll be pleasantly surprised to find that the watch no longer requires a second button press.

That means you can press your Digital Crown and get straight into a menu, rather than having to press twice to get to the same spot. It sounds like a small change, but it makes a big difference to the fluency of the operating system.

Boogie down 

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watchOS 7

(Image credit: Apple)
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watchOS 7

(Image credit: Apple)

The Activity app has been renamed “Fitness”, and has added a handful of new workout options.

For one, "Dance" is now supported as a workout type. You can also opt for "Functional Strength Training", "Core Training" and a post-workout “Cooldown".

The Fitness app also shows more of your data on the front page of the iOS app, saving you skipping through multiple tabs. 

Get some rest 

watchOS 7

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple has finally added Sleep Tracking to the Apple Watch, and it feeds back into the Health app on your iPhone to show how well you're sleeping based on minor movements while asleep.

It's not as deep as other sleep trackers, though, and is unable to discern REM sleep from light or deep sleep, but it does offer a handy "Wind Down" feature that helps you prepare for sleep, as well as setting a predetermined bedtime to prevent notifications and set your watch up for the night.

Unfortunately, the Apple Watch's battery life, particularly with the always-on display on the Apple Watch 5, isn't the best - particularly when using it overnight, too. Thankfully, it'll now prompt you to charge once your battery is under 30% as you approach bedtime.

Handwashing mode 

watchOS 7

(Image credit: Apple)

In the current climate, washing your hands is incredibly important to prevent the spread of COVID-19. watchOS 7 will allow Apple Watch to detect when you're washing your hands, and begin a twenty-second timer.

You'll also get a notification once you've returned home suggesting you wash your hands, provided your location settings allow.

On your bike

Apple Maps has gotten upgrades across every platform this year, and watchOS is no different. The big feature this time around is the addition of cyclist-friendly routes, as well as improved bike directions.

That means you'll be able to track bike lanes, busy roads, where you'll need to use stairs, and more.