Apple is reportedly developing the next version of its Apple Watch operating system, thought to be called watchOS 7, and it appears to be loading the software with big changes and features, including sleep tracking.

Here's everything you need to know.

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Apple watchOS 7: Release date

  • Preview expected at WWDC in June
  • Official release later in the year

Apple usually details its iOS and watchOS updates at WWDC in June, but given the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak is causing tech conferences of all sizes to be canceled this year, it's not certain Apple will hold an event this summer to preview iOS 14 and watchOS 7.

It's therefore unclear how this will impact each software update and its release schedule. But one can assume they'll still be ready to deploy this autumn, as we can't imagine Apple launching the next iPhone or even the next Apple Watch without new software features. 

1/5Sleep goal (9tto5Mac)

Apple watchOS 7: Leaked features

View the gallery above for photos of the features below.

Sleep tracking

  • Custom sleep goal in Health app
  • New Sleep app also expected

Leaked iOS 14 code (via 9to5Mac) is providing fresh details about watchOS 7, including that it will work with a new custom sleep goal in the Apple Health app on an iPhone, for the purpose of improving your sleep duration and quality.

Keep in mind a new Sleep app from Apple leaked last autumn, as did a sleep-tracking feature called Time in Bed tracking. At the time, reports said this sleep-tracking feature would be able to monitor sleep quality via sensors within the Apple Watch. It would log a user's movement, heart rate, and noise, and then all that data would be delivered into the Health app and made available in the new Sleep app for the Watch.

The Sleep app is supposed to serve up an overview of sleep patterns with bedtime reminders. When it releases with the Time in Bed feature, a new watchface might also become available. Originally, Apple was supposed to roll this all out by 2020. But that, of course, never happened.

Infograph pro watchface

  • New Infograph face
  • Includes tachymeter feature

9to5Mac said watchOS 7 will introduce a new watchface called Infograph Pro, and it will have a tachymeter feature. This is used to measure speed and distance based on travel time. It's typically an analog watch feature, so it'll be interesting if Apple really adopts it for Apple Watch.

International watchface

  • Set a flag as your watchface
  • Might not be able to tell time

9to5Mac has revealed another new watchface. It's called International (see the gallery above for images). Users can select their favourite country as a watchface, which will show a version of that flag as a background. It’s not yet clear if it shows time or has any complications.

Photos watchface

  • Create custom watchfaces with your photos
  • Set individual photos or albums

watchOS 7 may even let you create custom watchfaces with images from the Photos app on the iPhone or Apple Watch. Leaked iOS 14 code suggested you'll be able to set individual photos or groups of photos that cycle each time the watchface is activated with a tap, click, or wrist raise. You can even use a shared family album as a watchface, with photos added by other family members. 

Share watchfaces 

  • Share watchfaces with friends
  • Sharing is done via Watch app

The leaked iOS 14 code (via 9to5Mac) also suggested watchOS 7 will let you share watchfaces with friends via the Watch app on iOS. 

Parental controls and Schooltime

  • Set up and manage Apple Watches for kids
  • Schooltime feature will let you limit phone use during school

9to5Mac said Apple is developing the ability to set up and manage Apple Watches for kids using a parent’s iPhone. This will also offer parental controls, such as managing trust contacts and what's available for music. Another new parental control feature, called Schooltime, will even let parents manage which apps and complications can be used during certain hours of the day, like at school.

Blood oxygen level detection

  • Apple Watch will be able to detect blood oxygen levels
  • Might be exclusive to Apple Watch Series 6

Apple is working on a feature that will allow the Apple Watch to detect blood oxygen levels, according to leaked iOS 14 (via 9to5Mac). The Apple Watch could then help you see if you're at risk of respiratory or cardiac arrest. Or, if you're an athlete, you could see how you're body is coping.

It’s unclear if this blood oxygen level detection feature will be part of watchOS 7 or be exclusive to the upcoming Apple Watch Series 6.

Currently, Apple Watches Series 1 and later can notify wearers when they detect irregular heart rhythms via an ECG feature. The Apple Watch can also send alerts when a wearer's heart rate remains above or below a BPM.

Control Center toggles

  • New Sleep mode toggle maybe coming
  • Noise detection toggle too

Lastly, the leaked iOS 14 code (via 9to5Mac) suggested Control Center could get new toggles for Sleep mode and Noise detection.

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What's happened so far?

Here's everything we've heard about the watchOS 7 so far.