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watchOS 7 preview – health and fitness come to the fore

Apple has long had an interest in healthcare, with Apple Watch uniquely positioned as an “intelligent guardian of your health.” With its activity tracking, heart rate monitoring, fall detection, and even ECG capabilities, the popular wearable is something of a health and fitness powerhouse.

But new features in the upcoming watchOS 7 update take this even further, with a suite of new health-based features (and some long-awaited personalization additions). Let’s take a look at what’s coming in 2020.

New workouts

Apple is adding more activities to its popular Workout app. You’ll soon be able to accurately track core training and functional strength training workouts, plus dance sessions and even cooldowns. Dance tracking in particular is a real technical feat, using a combination of advanced sensors for accurate stats.

Fitness app

All those stats need somewhere to go, and with this year’s software updates the companion Activity app for iPhone is just the place – only now, it’s called Fitness. The name change accompanies a data-rich redesign to better track your activity and workouts.

Sleep tracking

Apple is building on the existing Bedtime function in iOS with full-on sleep tracking for Apple Watch. Wear the device overnight and it can tell you in the morning – through slick visualizations – exactly how well you slept. Over time this can build up useful sleep trends, which can be used in conjunction with a new “Wind Down” pre-sleep feature to improve your rest.

There’s also the option for a silent haptic alarm, for anyone who wants to wake up early without disturbing their partner. All great additions for Apple Watch – the only question that remains is when you’ll find time to charge the thing.


In the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic, Apple Watch can now remind you to wash your hands properly. If it detects a handwashing motion, it will start a 20-second timer, nagging if you stop early. You’ll also get location-based reminders to wash your hands when arriving home after a trip outside.

Face sharing

Customization is king this year, with new ways to pimp your watch face. You’ll soon be able to include more than one complication per app, meaning if you want a dedicated watch face for surfing trips or baby tracking, you’re no longer restricted.

For the first time, you’ll also be able to share your watch face designs with other Apple Watch users via Messages and Mail – and discover new combinations from apps and brands through the App Store or social media.

It may not be health-related, but for some people, this will be the most exciting change coming to Apple Watch.

watchOS 7 is due for public release this Fall.