Apple’s watchOS 8 adds new mindfulness exercises and workout types

Apple used a portion of its WWDC 2021 keynote to reveal updates and new features coming in watchOS 8. Pre-event rumors didn’t tell us much about what Apple might unveil aside from general software improvements, including those that focus on health tracking and making the Apple Watch a bit less iPhone-dependent. For now, the Apple Watch is still tethered to iPhones as most of what Apple announced falls into the first category: watchOS 8 will bring a number of new mindfulness features, including enhanced guided mediation, plus new data captured during sleep and additional workout modes.

The existing Breathe app is enhanced in watchOS 8 and adds new animations and ways to reflect. The latter appears to be a new spin on guided meditation, asking you to do things like think about something you like to do that brings you joy. Accompanied by unique animations, these reflection moments are designed to help you pause and re-center yourself during busy times.

Last year, the company introduced sleep tracking to the Apple Watch and watchOS 8 expands on the initially limited offerings. Now, if you wear your Watch to bed, it’ll track metrics like time to sleep, heart rate, blood oxygen levels and respiratory rate. This makes native sleep tracking much more useful than it was before, because it previously only tracked the amount of time you spent asleep each night. All of this new data lives in the Health app, so you can check it at any time.

The Workout app isn’t getting a huge overhaul in watchOS 8, but Apple is adding new exercise types and more routines in Apple Fitness+ subscription service. All Apple Watch users will see new Tai Chi and Pilates workout types in the app this fall, and Fitness+ will gain a new workout series lead by fitness instructor Jeanette Jenkins. Fitness+ subscribers will also have access to new “artist spotlight” workouts that follow playlists dedicated to Lady Gaga and other music icons.

Apple did announce a few updates in watchOs 8 that are not related to health and fitness. Key among them is the new Portraits watch face, which puts your friends’ and family members’ mugs front-and-center on your Watch and layers data like the data and time over them. You’ll be able to customize these to a certain extent, choosing photos and the type of data you want displayed.


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Written by bourbiza

bourbiza is an entertainment reporter for iltuoiphone News and is based in Los Angeles.


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