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watchOS 8 brings new health and messaging features to the Apple Watch this year

watchOS 8 brings new health and messaging features to the Apple Watch this year

On Monday, Apple detailed its plans for watchOS 8, the next major software update for the Apple Watch. The operating system will introduce improved texting and photo sharing, new HomeKit integrations, and some smaller updates to health and fitness features.

The Apple Watch’s Breathe app gets new animations and adds “Reflect,” which pushes you mindfulness prompts to accompany a calming animation while you reflect. These features are housed in the new Mindfulness app.

In Fitness, Apple is adding two new workouts: Tai Chi and Pilates. Apple Fitness+ adds another set of workouts focused on HIIT (high-intensity interval training); the feature will also include Artist Spotlights, which suggests music to aid your workout. watchOS8 will also add respiratory-rate tracking to sleep, but not to workouts.

Watch faces come with a new option for portrait pictures that lets you scroll in on the subject in a sort of parallax effect. A new mosaic layout in the Apple Watch’s Photos app allows you to more easily browse photos on your wrist. From there, you can tap to send photos in a text or email. Text selection and a cursor have also been added; you can replace or edit text, using the crown to move the cursor and your finger to tap and select. Emojis are also now more easily accessible.

New HomeKit integrations can send a notification when a package arrives or let you see who’s at your door when the doorbell rings.

watchOS 8 beta will be available starting in July and will come to supported Apple Watch devices this fall.

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