WatchOS 11 is coming soon to your Apple Watch with these big changes

Smart Stack on the Apple Watch Series 9.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

It’s WWDC 2024, and that means we’re getting a lot of Apple news. From iOS 18 and iPadOS 18 to the latest watchOS 11 software, there’s a lot to dig into.

WatchOS 11, just announced at this year’s WWDC, is the latest and greatest software update for the Apple Watch. Apple is expected to roll out watchOS 11 to every Apple Watch model, starting with the Apple Watch Series 6 and beyond. If you have a supported Apple Watch, here’s what watchOS 11 has in store for you.

watchOS 11 training load

The new watchOS 11 update is packed with features that help you stay on track with your fitness journey while ensuring better chances of recovery. A key highlight of watchOS 11 is the new Training Load feature that tracks the intensity of your workouts and quantifies them based on your physical age, weight, and other calorific metrics from the exercise. This intensity is represented by a number between 1 and 10, and you can adjust the rating based on how effective or tiring you felt the workout was.

With watchOS 11, these trends will show up in the Health app on your iPhone. Based on how you rate your efforts, your Apple Watch will also inform you whether this was above or below average and tell you if you need to push harder or take a rest. In the iPhone’s Health app, you will also be able to customize Activity tabs when watchOS 11 rolls out to your device.

Since customization is the theme of the event (iOS 18 is getting many new customization options), the same will apply to the Apple Watch and your fitness regime. Depending on the day of the week, you can set different values for the activity rings, including shutting them off on days when you’re resting or taking a longer break to recover.

watchOS 11 Vitals app on Apple Watch

On the Apple Watch, this data will now be shown holistically through a new Vitals app. In addition to key health metrics such as your workouts, sleep, heart rate, etc., the Vitals app will show a weekly trend and compare it to a baseline range to highlight areas that need more or less of your attention.

Apple Watch watchos 11 gestation tracking.

The watchOS 11 update also brings important updates to track pregnancy throughout the entire period of gestation. Your Apple Watch will also note any out-of-the-ordinary health changes, such as sudden heart rate increases.

Apart from the health-and-fitness-related improvements, watchOS 11 brings improvements to the Smart Stack functionality that adds widgets to the watch face. Now, with watchOS 11, these widgets will improve with live activities, such as weather alerts during an unexpected change. These live widgets will automatically add to the home screen, and Apple is opening support for third-party apps such as Uber to help you get updates without having to fiddle with apps or notifications.

Smart widgets will also help you control smart-home appliances and the like. Meanwhile, another smart widget is a live translation feature that automatically pops up when the Apple Watch determines you might need it.

Apple Watch watchos 11 smart stacks.

Similarly, the Check In feature will be available on the Apple Watch with watchOS 11 and will be easily accessible from the Smart Stack. It will allow you to alert trusted contacts when you are out in the open burning calories at an unusual (probably less safe) time. You can broadcast an update when you safely reach home to let the contacts know.

Apple is also expanding Double Tap, which it introduced last year with the Apple Watch Series 9, to more developers so that it can be used with third-party, non-Apple apps.

Apple Watch watchos 11 Photos watch face AI.

Furthermore, an upgraded Photos watch face will now automatically narrow down the best photos you can use on the Apple Watch. The new sorting algorithm prioritizes images with the most optimal facial expressions, colors, and aesthetics. All of this is powered by machine learning.

Lastly, turn-by-turn navigation is available for previously uncharted (or unrecorded) hiking routes you have created to help you trace your way back safely.

All of these features are coming to watchOS 11 later this year alongside the iPhone 16 and the next generation of the Apple Watch. However, if you wish to try any of these already, you can install watchOS 11 beta on your Apple Watch 6 and later.