Apple’s watchOS 9 brings a number of new features to Apple Watch users, such as an improved Workout app, more data from the Sleep app, and a new Medicine app.
But there’s more than meets the eye with the new update for Apple Watch users. Here are some hidden features of watchOS 9 that you may not have heard of.
1. Energy saving mode
While Apple has improved the overall hardware and software experience with each generation, the battery life has always remained the same at 18 hours of use before needing a recharge. But the new Low Power mode in watchOS 9 changes that.
With the feature turned on and your iPhone nearby, you can use up to 36 hours. To enable power saving mode, swipe up to see the Control Center. Select the battery percentage and then turn on Low Power Mode. There’s a lot more you can access in the Control Center, be sure to take a look at how to use and customize the area.
Note that some Apple Watch features such as the Always-On Display and background heart rate monitoring will be disabled.
Beginning in late 2022, Low Power Mode will be coming to the Apple Watch Ultra, offering up to 60 hours of use. That’s almost double the rated 36 hours of use in normal mode.
2. A new look for the Compass app
To coincide with the Apple Watch Ultra, Apple has also unveiled a redesigned Compass app in watchOS 9. When you launch the app, you’ll quickly notice the hybrid display that shows both an analog compass dial and digital information. Turn the Digital Crown to see more data, including altitude, longitude, elevation, and slope.
On the same screen are the new Compass Waypoints and Backtrack. Waypoints allow you to mark a location or point of interest in the app to access later in the app. For example, you can mark the location of your car in a parking lot. Selecting the waypoint displays its direction and distance.
Backtrack uses GPS data to create a path that shows where you’ve been. It is perfect to use during a walk and to retrace your steps.
3. An improved Apple Watch dock
Pressing the side button once opens the Apple Watch dock, where you can easily access apps to use. And watchOS 9, the dock will promote apps that are currently in use. That makes it easier to return to.
Make sure you see everything the Digital Crown and the side button on the Apple Watch can do.
4. Apple Watch Mirroring on an iPhone
Making Apple Watch more accessible to users with physical and motor disabilities is a new Mirroring feature. On your iPhone, you can control any Apple Watch using the iPhone’s features, including voice control and switch control.
5. A new quick action
In addition, Apple has also added a new accessible Quick Action for Apple Watch users on watchOS 9. A simple double squeeze gesture can answer or end a phone call, mute a notification, take a photo, play/pause media and start, pause or resume a workout.
6. More languages on the Apple Watch keyboard
Apple has added a built-in keyboard from Apple Watch Series 7. Instead of scribbling or dictating, you can type a message and much more. QuickType’s predictive engine will suggest possible words and phrases you were typing.
In watchOS 9, the keyboard has added support for additional languages: French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish.
7. More Features for a Family Setup Apple Watch
With Family Setup, kids or another family member can use an Apple Watch with cell phone without needing an iPhone.
With watchOS 9, kids can now access the Podcast app. From the end of 2022, children can also be invited to the Home app to control HomeKit accessories and HomePod speakers. They also have access to keys stored in Wallet.
Enjoy all the new watchOS 9 features
While they don’t get much attention, these lesser-known improvements in watchOS 9 continue to make the experience even better.
Whether you’re using Low Power mode, enjoying the revamped Compass app, or something else, your Apple Watch is a great way to enjoy the Apple experience on a wearable device.