Apple is preparing the latest version of its operating system for the Apple Watch. In this article we gather together the latest rumours and news that suggest what we can expect in watchOS 7, and when it will appear on your wrist.

When will watchOS 7 be released?

The release cycle for watchOS has been very steady since the Apple Watch was first introduced back in 2015. Updates to watchOS are normally announced at WWDC in June then released at the September event that sees the latest iPhones revealed. This is also accompanied by new models for the Apple Watch lineup, all of which are made available the week after the event.

watchOS7 release date and new features: WWDC

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Apple has wisely decided to abandon the normal routine of holding WWDC before a live studio audience and will instead conduct the whole event online. Hopefully this shouldn't impact any of the intended announcements, especially for software-related products like watchOS 7.

So, we'd predict with a far degree of certainty that you should be able to access watchOS 7 at the end of either the second or third week of September 2020.

Will my Apple Watch get watchOS 7?

After WWDC we should have a better picture of which devices will support watchOS 7, but one thing we already know is that the original series Watch (or Series 0 as it's also known) will miss out as it didn't make the cut for watchOS 6.

There are also widely circulated rumours that both Series 1 and Series 2 will also get left behind this time. Owners of the Series 2 will find this particularly galling, as the devices are still perfectly usable in 2020, but it could simply be a case that Apple wants to move forward in terms of features and the older hardware wouldn't be able to cope with the demands. For more details on this rumour, read Apple to drop support for Apple Watch Series 2.

If this turns out to be true, it will mean that the following devices will receive the update:

  • Apple Watch Series 3
  • Apple Watch Series 4
  • Apple Watch Series 5

These should all be joined by the new Apple Watch Series 6 when it is released in September.

What new features will there be in watchOS 7?

From the rumours doing the rounds at the moment, watchOS 7 could be quite a sizeable upgrade over its predecessor, introducing features that have long been on the wishlist of Apple Watch users.

Sleep Monitoring

Perhaps the most anticipated feature will be the heavily rumoured inclusion of sleep monitoring. There have been various clues building, including Apple appearing to either tease or accidentally reveal an upcoming Sleep app last year when Twitter user Daniel Marcinkowski spotted it mentioned in a screenshot for the Alarms app.

watchOS7 release date and new features: Sleep App

It's thought that watchOS 7 will introduce sleep monitoring that goes way beyond the general time mapping that exists at the moment, where your watch tells you the time you went to sleep and awoke.

The new feature could monitor your heart rate, how much you move and other factors while you slumber. These would then give you an idea of not just the quantity but quality of sleep.

To incentivise you to improve your hours in bed, there will also be a custom sleep goal that will challenge you to reach your daily target, just as it currently does with calories, minutes exercising, and standing. Finally, you'll be able to close one ring by lying down and doing nothing for hours.

Blood Oxygen measurement

Another health-related feature that could make its debut in watchOS 7 is the ability to measure the oxygen content in your blood via the heart monitor. This rumour seems to have originated from 9to5Mac after it saw parts of the code for the upcoming iOS 14.

This could be very important for some, as the measurement would indicate whether the wearer is in danger of cardiac arrest or potential respiratory problems. It's unclear whether the technology required would be limited to the upcoming Apple Watch Series 6 or not, but if older models in the range can access the feature then it will be an impressive, and free, upgrade.

watchOS 7 release date and new features: Blood Oxygen levels

Shareable watch faces

If a friend of yours has their watch face set up in a way that you really like, up until now you'd have to ask them how they put together that particular configuration and then try to emulate it on your own Watch. This could end with shareable watch-faces in watchOS 7 that allows your friend to send the layout to you and have your device duplicate the arrangement automatically.

Infograph Pro watch face

When Apple released the Apple Watch 4 it also introduced a new watch face called the Infograph. This allowed up to eight complications and subdials which could be customised to report everything that you needed to know without having to delve into other menus.

Now, reports state that Apple will provide an upgraded Infograph Pro that will see the addition of a Tachymeter.

watchOS 7 release date and new features : Infograph Pro

This is usually found on analogue watches and used with a chronograph to calculate speed. We're not entirely sure why this will appear on an Apple Watch, but hopefully the device will do the maths usually involved when employing the non-digital method.

Parental controls

Finally, with many parents now passing their older Apple Watches down to their children, Apple is reportedly preparing some parental control features for the new version of watchOS. These should include restrictions on apps, times the device can be used, and age-related access to content. Expect something similar to the ScreenTime feature in iOS.

Will watchOS 7 feature a new design?

Whenever a new version of iOS, iPadOS, macOS, tvOS or watchOS is due, speculation is rife over whether Apple will give the software a makeover in terms of aesthetics. So far, there have been no firm rumours if this is the case, but Apple is capable of pulling back the covers on a sleek new interface whenever if feels the need. With this in mind we'll leave you with some concept art for the watchOS interface created by @mattbirchler.

These feature the sleep app, customisable rings, and more flexible responses in the Messages app. Maybe we'll see something very similar when the new Apple Watch Series 6 arrives in the Autumn.

watchOS 7 release date and new features: Concept Art

watchOS 7 release date and new features: Concept Sleep App

watchOS 7 release date and new features: Concept iOS Watch App

watchOS 7 release date and new features: Concept Custom Rings

watchOS 7 release date and new features: Concept Messages App