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What to expect from watchOS 6: New watch faces and apps, deeper macOS integration, more

Last week, we broke down all of the new features you can expect to see in iOS 13 at WWDC next month. iOS 13 won’t be the only major update unveiled at the event, however. Read on as we roundup some of the new features coming to Apple Watch with watchOS 6.

watchOS 6 release date |

Apple will offer its first look at watchOS 6 in just a couple of weeks at its Worldwide Developers Conference. From there, we can expect a same-day beta release for developers. Apple does not offer watchOS public betas, but everyone will be able to give watchOS 6 a try when it’s released to the public in September.

New watch faces + complications |

One of the most popular changes with every watchOS update is the addition of new watch faces. Apple just added a new Pride face as part of watchOS 5.2.1, and watchOS 6 will include even more new options for Apple Watch users.

Bloomberg reports that Apple has a handful of new watch face designs coming with watchOS 6. A new Gradient face will allow a user to pick a color and have a gradient colored watch face design based on that color. Two new watch faces, referred to as “X-Large,” will show “jumbo numbers in different fonts and colors.”

There’s also a new “California” watch face design in the works that mixes Roman numerals with Arabic numerals for the look of a classic watch face design. The popular Solar Analog face will also reportedly be redesigned this year, while a new “Infograph Subdial” face will feature “larger complication views like a stock market chart or the weather.”

In addition to the new watch faces, Apple is also purportedly planning new complications for watchOS 6. These new complications include ones for audiobook playback, battery life of hearing aids, external noise measure, and rain data.

Expanded Apple Watch authentication on Mac |

watchOS 6 features

This new feature will come thanks to both watchOS 6 and macOS 10.15. 9to5Mac reported earlier this year that macOS 10.15 will include improved integration with Apple Watch.

The Apple Watch has long been supported for unlocking a nearby Mac, but that authentication support is expected to expand with macOS 10.15 and watchOS 6 this year. Apple Watch users will be able to authenticate other operations on the Mac other than simple unlocks.

Details remain somewhat unclear, but it’s possible that all authentication mechanisms that currently rely on Touch ID on the Mac could be authenticated with Apple Watch as well. There might also be a new interface on Apple Watch, similar to the Apple Pay interface, for confirming authentication on macOS.

App Store for watchOS |

One of the other new watchOS 6 features will reportedly be a new App Store app directly on the Apple Watch itself. Currently, the watchOS App Store is hidden in the Apple Watch app on iOS. With watchOS 6, however, users will be able to access the watchOS App Store directly from their wrist.

This should ideally help spread the adoption of third-party watchOS 6 applications. Many watchOS users are unaware that the watchOS App Store even exists, and having to install applications via a paired iPhone is somewhat of a buggy and overcomplicated process.

Other new apps |

Bloomberg has also reported that watchOS 6 will feature a handful of other new applications. Apple is said to be planning a Books app for Apple Watch focused on audiobooks. This would theoretically function similar to the Podcasts app, allowing users to download audiobooks and listen directly from their Apple Watch.

watchOS 6 is also expected to feature two new health applications: One called “Cycles” for tracking menstrual cycles, and one called “Dose” for managing pill dosage and reminders. Apple will also bring the Voice Memos app from iPhone to Apple with watchOS 6, allowing users to make quick recordings from their wrist.

Last but certainly not least, watchOS 6 is expected to finally add a Calculator app to the Apple Watch, as well as support for Animoji and Memoji.

Sleep Tracking |

watchOS 6 features

Apple Watch users will likely have to wait another year before Apple adds native sleep tracking functionality to watchOS. A report from February suggested that Apple employees have been testing Apple Watch sleep tracking for several months, with Apple currently targeting a release for 2020. While it’s possible the feature could be moved up to this year, 2020 seems like a solid bet for now.

In the interim, if you’re looking to track your sleep using your existing Apple Watch hardware and software, we have a detailed guide for doing just that.

watchOS 6 features wish list |

While these are some of the features that have been rumored for watchOS 6, there are lots other possibilities. Be sure to check out Zac Hall’s full wish list for other possible watchOS 6 features. What are you hoping to see in this year’s Apple Watch update? Let us know down in the comments.

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Avatar for Chance Miller Chance Miller

Chance is an editor for the entire 9to5 network and covers the latest Apple news for 9to5Mac.

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