WatchOS 6: everything you need to know

watchOS 6 will accompany the launch of iOS 13 and macOS 10.15. Here are all the news announced by Apple for the new operating system that should debut in September

One of the innovations presented at WWDC 2019 was watchOS 6. Relatively little was known about its functions and projects around it (while iOS 13 and macOS 10.15  is spoken quite a lot), but much of the … few things anticipated went to the mark, largely confirming the greater “leak”, an article by Bloomberg published in early May.

Thanks to it that we have been able to make an overall picture of the new operating system and above all to guess, even before the launch that its main purpose will be to make Apple Watch a little more (even if not entirely) independent of the iPhone.

It should also be pointed out that some possible features of watchOS 6 may currently remain hidden, both because they have not yet been introduced, and because they could be linked to the launch of Apple Watch 5 which should debut in the fall.

Download apps directly from the App Store

The most important of the novelties for the Apple Watch operating system, whose release will almost certainly be in September and which has already attracted attention from some designers who have imagined its “face”, is the possibility of downloading directly to the clock applications. In fact, the operating system makes the iPhone accessory more independent, which today depends on everything, including the installation of an App that, as we know, passes through the Watch application. In practical terms, it will be possible to directly download applications from a store designed specifically for Apple Watch, accessible directly from the watch. If they so wish, developers will also be able to create applications only for Apple Watch, something that is not possible now.

To search for applications to download we know that it may be necessary to use Siri. It is unclear whether there will be any system that will allow Apple Watch apps to be downloaded using the Watch app on the iPhone.

It also becomes possible to update the applications by opening the Settings menu, General and then choosing Software Update. The system then checks whether Apple updates are available and, if present, just confirm the operation to start the direct download from the smartwatch.

New applications

Apple in watch OS introduces some new applications and completely redesigns others. The most interesting and extensive news are in Salute

Health supervises the menstrual cycle

Apple has completely redesigned the Health application. The new version concerns the Health app, Apple brings interesting news starting from Activity Trends, a new tab containing all the data related to the user’s activity collected and separated for weeks, months and years. This new section offers a much more complex picture of your physical activity and offers advice on how to keep fit and keep up.

The most interesting aspect is that with watchOS 6 the application allows women to keep track of important information regarding the menstrual cycle and have predictions about the next fertile period. There is also information about the period, the flow, the symptoms.

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Noise application

The noise application serves to keep an eye on noise pollution. With Apple Watch in the correct position, you can check the sound level in the environment, which is especially useful when you are at a sporting event or a concert. When the sound level changes, the system shows it in real time and sends a notification when it touches 90 decibels which is considered dangerous for hearing when you are exposed to this level of pollution for a few hours.

The noise analysis app is also in the faces for WatchOs 6

For this functionality, with Apple WatchOS 6 a Complication directly on the dial of the watch, thus being able to keep everything under control simply by lifting the wrist.

An interesting aspect of the application is the ability to also measure the audio level of the earphones connected to the iPhone. This function will work with all earphones and not only with Apple or Beats.

Improved activity application

Apple has also improved and refined the Activity application with its characteristic circles and its interaction with Salute. It will be possible to have a long-term look at progress. A panel will allow you to see if the trends go up or down on certain periods, the minutes of exercise, the calories consumed and so on. If during the last 90 days (on the average of the last 365) the data have dropped from the average of the year, the application will show an exercise path to recover the averages. Apple says that nine fundamental metrics are taken into consideration that together helps create the media.

Other apps

A second important aspect concerns some applications that, today absent from Apple Watch, will be made compatible with it. One of these is’ Voice Memo. What we will be able to do thanks to watchOS 6 will, therefore, be to record notes directly from the wrist, dictating them, in the same way as we do today with the iPhone. An app will also come to listen to the books and the calculator (equipped with automatic calculation of the tip for when you go to the restaurant…).

Sound in streaming

watchOS 6 will also present important news for those who want to use it to listen to music or audio in general. The operating system will support the audio streaming functions indeed. Specific applications have been shown including one that allows you to hear baseball game commentary. In general it could become possible to have a radio on your wrist following those that have streaming; obviously, if the Apple Watch has the LTE connection this function will be available even without iPhone.

New faces and complications

Apple will also add new faces and new complications.

Complications will include the status of an audiobook reading, the battery level of the ear-aids, external noise level, and rain data.

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As for the “faces” what will be called “Gradient” will show, in fact, a color gradient based on the user’s choice, two “X-Large” faces will show oversize numbers with different colors and sources. We will also have a face called “Solare analogico” which will imitate a sundial. Other complications will present larger complications such as the performance of an action on the stock exchange or the weather.

It should be noted that all the faces will have a function that can be activated with a tap which signals the passing of hours through a vibration. The function will also be able to operate with a kind of “time signal” every hour if the Apple Watch sound is active.

Better integration with the Mac

Mac and Apple Watch according to some sources would have had better integration. At WWDC nothing specific was said about the link between the two devices, but after some tests carried out both on watchOS 6 and on MacOS Catalina, it was confirmed that one of the hypotheses put forward, namely that Apple Watch could be used to authenticate operations, Has been confirmed. In practice with watchOS 6

  • it is possible to authenticate and see Mac passwords by double-clicking on the crown
  • you can authorize the Mac to install an application
  • unlock a protected note
  • unlock access to blocked system preferences
  • modify root file

Another hypothesis is that on Apple Watch a new interface similar to that with which Apple Pay is managed to confirm authentication on macOS could be made available. At this time, however, this function has not yet been heard

Sleep monitoring

We recall that Apple, according to many sources, also had to introduce Apple Watch sleep monitoring features. We have been wondering right from the start if these should be compatible with all the Apple Watch on the market, then be part of watchOS 6, or Cupertino had not chosen to make them compatible only with Apple Watch 5 whose launch is always planned for the autumn when watchOS 6 should debut.

In his report, Bloomberg seemed to favor this second option when he stated that wacthcOS 6 would integrate “with future devices for tracking sleep, like a new Apple Watch”. Excluded, therefore, at least apparently, all the old and present Apple Watch. Currently, it could be so seen that in watchOS no one has said anything about a different sleep tracking system

Other minor features and novelties

  • Automatic update of applications
  • Siri can read the hours each time they are shot
  • Siri recites the name of the songs using Shazam
  • possible
  •  such as Alarm, Breathing, ECG, etc.

The disappointed hopes

Among the things that users would like to see, there are some that would most likely have been possible, others that were completely impossible. Among the things you wanted and that we didn’t see there were

  • Compatibility with Android
  • Screen always on
  • Looking for customizable activities
  • Automatic activation functions for a greater number of sports
  • Face ID
  • Multi-user challenges
  • Faces of third parties
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The beta version

The beta version of watchOS 6 for developers was released along with all other beta versions of the new operating systems. Apple does not release public beta versions of watchOS because there is no way to return to the final version. With watchOS 6, Apple lost started opening the beta to AppleSeed program members. If you are a developer or you have access to the AppleSeed program and are sure of what you do, you can download the beta version by following these procedures

Download the beta version

Before starting, you must have already installed iOS 13 beta. subsequently

  • Go to this address and click on the “Sign in” button.
  • You must log in with your Apple ID and password. If you do not have an Apple ID click on “create one now” and follow the various steps to create a new account (you must indicate name, surname, email, address, choose a password, etc.).
  • After specifying Apple ID and password, click on “Sign in”
  • The user license appears, the agreement between us and Apple that must be read and accepted by clicking on “Accept”
  • At this point, we must choose the beta of our interest. In the specific case, the one for Apple Watch
  • choose a device, then iPhone and then install
  • Put the password of your device, then confirm the installation
  • Touch restart to complete the profile installation

Release date and compatibility

The release date of  WatchOs 6 was not announced but is generally indicated in the autumn. Being tied to the new Apple hardware that could arrive between mid and late September we can imagine that it could debut with Apple Watch 5 of which little or nothing is known and that traditionally (except for the first version) accompanies the launch of the iPhone. We can, therefore, indicate for watchOS 6 an autumn debut in line with iOS 13. The first semi-public beta version was released on June 24, 2019. It is also necessary to have iOS 13 installed on your phone, which is also available in a public beta version.

Compatibility

watchOS 6 supports the same Apple Watch as watchOS 5, so all but the original Apple Watch (which has a too little powerful processor), namely: Apple Watch Series 1 (which is not the original Apple Watch), 2, 3 and 4; for the installation will be required iPhone 6s or following models with iOS 13. However, it is not said that all functions will be available on all Apple Watch; the functions described may be changed and some functions may not be available in all territories.

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