Apple Watch keeps proving to be the best smart watch on the market and watchOS 4 does not disappoint. By no means is watchOS 4 a huge overhaul, but it does add some great new improvements and features.
Since I am apart of Apple’s Developer Program I have been using watchOS 4 since it was announced at WWDC in June, and I’m excited to share with you my review of Apple’s next generation wearable software.
Apple is now including three new watch faces in watchOS 4. There’s a new kaleidoscope watch face that makes a kaleidoscope based on any photo. There’s also new Toy Story watch faces that put little animated Toy Story characters on your watch. My personal favorite is the new Siri watch face which adds a display of Siri intelligence right on your watch face, and displays information when you need it. For example if a Reminder is about to be due, it’ll display on my watch face. It’ll also show your next calendar appointments, weather events, news, photo memories, Now Playing audio, and much more. It’s really helped me get things done in my day.
Workouts has been completely overhauled and now there’s a brand new app with so many new workout modes. If you have wireless headphones attached, Apple Watch will start playing music automatically when you start a workout and you can control your music playback right from the workout app. There’s also new activity coaching notifications and new monthly activity challenges. There’s also the ability to change your workout type during a workout. There’s also a bunch of new workout animations and Apple Watch will turn on Do Not Disturb during a workout (this can be changed in Settings). Here’s a complete list of all the new workouts:
- High Intensity
- Cross-Country Skiing
- Equestrian Sports
- Jump Rope
There are new Heart Rate features in watchOS 4. Apple Watch will now be able to display resting heart rate, average walking heart rate, work out heart rate, breathing heart rate, and lastly elevated heart rate. Elevated heart rate on Apple Watch is seriously my new favorite feature of watchOS 4. I have an anxiety, and one of the big signs that I’m having an anxiety attack is that my heart rate will elevate to around 120bpm. Now my Apple Watch will be able to alert me when my heart rate beings to elevate (when not working out). When I’m having an anxiety attack, I don’t always have the best mental health to remove myself from the situation. These new notifications will help me get myself out of the situation and into a safer environment. It’s worth mentioning that new resting heart rate functionality requires an Apple Watch Series 1 or above meaning the original Apple Watch will not be receiving this feature but everything else mentioned above should work.
There’s a brand new Music app in watchOS 4 that automatically syncs your favorite music to your Apple Watch and will allow you to have multiple playlists synced over (finally).
There’s now a new News app on the Apple Watch that lets you skim headlines and save them so you can read them fully on your iPhone and iPad.
Apple seems to have an obsession with improving the Docks on their devices. This one I am not as happy with as I am on the iPad. The watchOS Dock now displays apps like a rolodex instead of the WebOS card style layout. I don’t feel this is as intuitive and I find it quite hard to use. I also don’t like how you can’t remove apps from your Dock now.
There’s now a new Flashlight in Control Center which cranks up the brightness all the way on your Apple Watch (but dims it slightly when you bring the watch back to your face). There’s also the ability to change your iPhone’s camera settings (such as photo, square, portrait) from the Apple Watch camera app. One of my favorites is the ability to display your home screen icons in an alphabetical list mode (instead of the honeycomb). This makes it much easier to find apps. For developers, watchOS 4 apps can now have new background modes just like on iOS. This means that app launch times could get even faster! Lastly you can now send Apple Pay Cash through iMessage on your Apple Watch. This will add money to an Apple Pay Cash card in the Apple Wallet on your Apple devices.
While watchOS 4 isn’t a huge update, it improves just about every area of your Apple Watch experience. watchOS 4 is compatible on all of the following devices:
•Apple Watch Series 1
•Apple Watch Series 2
•Apple Watch Series 3
iOS 11 - Overall Impression