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watchOS 11 introduces improved health tracking & Smart Stack widgets

New features coming to watchOS 11

Last updated

Apple unveiled watchOS 11 at its developer conference, bringing advanced AI features, improved health and fitness tracking, and a new app.

New features in watchOS 11 aim to transform the way users work out and track their health. The update introduces a new method to measure workout intensity using heart rate, age, and weight, allowing users to receive an effort rating estimate.

Users can also customize fitness goals by day of the week and take advantage of rest day options.

New Vitals app

A new Health app, Vitals, enables users to monitor daily health metrics, explore past data, and receive notifications for out-of-range values.

It lets users monitor their daily health status and identify metrics that are out of their typical range. If two or more metrics are out of whack, users receive a notification with potential links to lifestyle factors like elevation changes, alcohol consumption, or illness.

More features for pregnancy

When pregnancy is logged in the Health app, the Cycle Tracking app on Apple Watch displays gestational age and tracks pregnancy-related symptoms. Users are prompted to adjust high heart rate notification thresholds due to increased heart rates during pregnancy.

A smartphone and smartwatch display a pregnancy tracking app showing 8 weeks 1 day pregnant, logs of symptoms, and data visualization.
More features for pregnancy

Additionally, the Health app offers monthly mental health assessment reminders and Walking Steadiness alerts on iPhone, notifying users of increased fall risk during the third trimester.

Measuring effectiveness with Training Load

The watchOS 11 update introduces Training Load, a new feature that measures the impact of workout intensity and duration on the body over time. It compares the strain from workouts over the last seven days to the previous 28 days, helping users make informed training decisions.

iPhone and Apple Watch displaying fitness tracking data including training load, recent workouts, and health metrics in graphs and text.
Training Load

After each workout, users can rate the effort on a scale from 1 to 10, with an algorithm providing automatic estimates based on data such as age, height, weight, GPS, heart rate, and elevation. The feature ensures users can adjust for factors like stress or soreness.

Customizable fitness features

With watchOS 11, users can pause their Activity rings for a day, week, month, or more without impacting their award streaks, whether planning a rest day, dealing with an injury, or simply needing a break.

They can customize their Activity ring goals by the day of the week for tailored motivation. Additionally, the Fitness app on iPhone allows users to personalize the Summary tab, displaying new metrics for activities such as running, hiking, swimming, and mindfulness.

More personalization

The Smart Stack in watchOS 11 has become even more intelligent, offering quick access to important information from any watch face. It includes new widgets like Shazam, Photos, and Distance and can suggest widgets based on time, date, location, and daily routines.

For example, a severe weather alert widget can appear before a storm. Interactive widgets now allow direct interaction from the Smart Stack, and Live Activities are also available.

A smartwatch with a blue band displaying the date June 10, the time 10:09 AM, an analog clock, and a yoga schedule.
Smart Stack offers more suggestions

Additionally, the Photos watch face uses machine learning to recommend the best photos based on aesthetics and composition, optimizing for the subject's position and creating depth. Users can personalize the face with various time sizes, layouts, and font choices, and the new Dynamic mode displays a different image each time the wrist is raised.

Other updates to watchOS 11

The Workout app in watchOS 11 now supports more workout types with enhanced GPS tracking, including sports like Soccer, American Football, and Skiing. Users can view route maps for additional workouts and create Custom Workouts for Pool Swims with interval-based support.

Next, Apple Maps offers offline hikes in U.S. national parks and user-created walking routes with turn-by-turn guidance. Notifications are forwarded from iPhone 15 Pro to Apple Watch, and enhanced ticketing in Apple Wallet includes event details.

Finally, Tap to Cash allows Apple Cash transfers by holding Apple Watch near another device.

Which Apple Watch models support watchOS 11

The watchOS 11 update is compatible with the Apple Watch Series 6, 7, 8, and 9, the 1st and 2nd generation Apple Watch Ultra, and the first and second generation Apple Watch SE. However, the Apple Watch Series 4 and Apple Watch Series 5 won't receive watchOS 11.