Apple has just released watchOS 9 to the public alongside the iOS 16 update for iPhone models. The new software for the smartwatch offers a ton of new features for Apple Watch users.

First announced during WWDC 2022 and released on September 12, watchOS 9 is the next generation of the Apple Watch UI. It looks to improve the core experience with several updates to various major apps, while also introducing entirely new apps to the ecosystem.

There are also new features we saw revealed last week during the Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch SE 2 and Apple Watch Ultra reveal, which are coming to owners of compatible Apple Watch models.

To know more about what watchOS 9 delivers for Apple Watch users, take a look below.

When is watchOS 9 available?

watchOS 9 is available to download now following a period in beta thus summer. The release date of September 12 comes on the same day as iOS 16 for your companion iPhone. The launch date also prefaces the release of new Apple Watch hardware later in September 2022.

watchOS 9 features

Low Power Mode

Anyone with an Apple Watch Series 4 and up will now benefit from a Low Power Mode you’ll recognise from the iPhone. It promises to stretch battery life up to 36 hours compared to the 18-hours Apple Watch owners currently rely upon. You can read all about the Low Power Mode here.

Heart rate zones

Taking a cue from the likes of Garmin and Myzone, the Apple Watch will soon be able to show you heart rate zones during a workout. This will let you know if you’re underperforming during a specific workout, or reaching a BPM rate that’s too high and needs to be brought down.

For cardiovascular activities, the heart rate zones could be quite handy for allowing you to stay within the regions of your performance levels, without overexerting yourself and risking injury.

Custom workouts

Working in tandem with the new heart rate zones, it’ll soon be possible to create custom workouts on the Apple Watch. These bespoke workouts will allow you to set specific goals including distance and performance, so that the Apple Watch can let you know mid-workout if you’re hitting the goals you’ve set.

For regular running routes, the Apple Watch will also be able to register your previous performance and let you race against yourself in the hopes of reaching a new personal best.

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Medications app

Giving users a means of tracking their intake of medications, vitamins and supplements, the new medications app will let you digitise your prescriptions.

In addition to providing reminders for when you need to take any ongoing medication, the app (which will also be available on iOS) will let you know of any drug-drug interactions where conflicting medications might work to dampen the effects of one another.

New watch faces

As we anticipated, Apple will be introducing several new watch faces as part of watchOS 9. This collection includes wholly new designs as well as updates to existing watch faces.

For example, it’ll soon be possible to use pictures of dogs and cats in the portraits watch face, and background colours can now be added to watch faces that would previously only let you have a black background.

Sleep stages

Apple will finally be bringing a much needed update to the Apple Watch’s sleep tracking, bringing in sleep stages to give users a better insight into their circadian rhythm. These sleep stages will break down the REM, Core, Deep and Awake portions of your sleep.

Afibrilation history

For any folks suffering from atrial fibriliations, the new AFib History tool will let you know how irregular your heart beat as been over the last week, letting you know of any improvements or deteriorations.

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