When Apple gave us a sneak peek at watchOS 8 during the main presentation at WWDC 202, it probably heard the big headlines. A new Mindfulness app to help you focus and practice mindfulness, a redesigned Home app to control your Home much better from your wrist, updates to the Wallet app, and much more. However, the keynote went through the watchOS 8 sections so quickly, and you may have missed some new features. Here are some features that you definitely don’t want to miss out on.
Apple occasionally offers updates for iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, tvOS, and macOS as previews closed to developers or public betas. While the beta versions contain new features, they also contain pre-launch bugs that can prevent normal use of your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, or Mac, and are not designed for everyday use on a primary device. This is why we highly recommend staying away from developer previews unless you need them for software development and using public beta versions with caution. If it depends on your devices, wait for the final release.
Full-length GIF (and other message updates)
While Apple spent a bit of time reviewing the enhancements to messages in watchOS 8, I don’t think they were enthusiastic enough about some aspects, specifically GIFs.
That’s right, in watchOS 8, you’ll be able to send GIFs directly from your wrist via the Messages app just like you can on the iPhone. This means you can search to find the best reaction GIF to all situations with just a few quick taps on your wrist. Maybe it’s just me, but GIFs are an essential part of my texting habits; whether it’s with my partner, my family, or in group chat, they really keep the conversation moving.
Besides GIFs, you can also use Scribble, Dictation, and emoji all in the same message on Apple Watch. So you can quickly type, speak or use emojis as you like to compose your message without leaving the main message screen.
Yes! It finally happened. watchOS 8 will allow you to set multiple timers at once so you can keep a countdown for different things. You can even tag the timer with Siri so you can keep track of which timers are going to go off and when. It’s a small feature but a huge improvement in the quality of life in my books.
Find Items and Find Devices apps
Two new apps are coming to the Apple Watch in watchOS 8 that plan to help you track your lost things. The Find Items application helps you locate tagged items using the Find My network. That AirTag on your keys? Now it can be found from your wrist.
The second application is called Find Devices, which will allow you to find other Apple devices that you have signed in to with the same Apple ID. Super useful for a forgetful person like me, who constantly places his iPad in inexplicable places.
Lastly, I always love when Apple adds new accessibility features to their devices because not only should we always strive to make everything more accessible, accessibility features allow everyone to benefit.
AssistiveTouch in watchOS 8 will drastically help people with upper body limb differences (as Apple says) because it allows single-arm use on the Apple Watch. This will allow the Apple Watch to detect simple hand gestures instead of interacting with the Apple Watch screen. With the built-in motion sensors, you’ll be able to answer calls, control an on-screen pointer, and open a menu of actions that you can access the Notification Center, Control Center, and more on your Apple Watch.
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