Apple’s watchOS 9 brings a number of new features to Apple Watch users such as an improved Workout app, more data from the Sleep app, and a new Medication app.
But there’s more than meets the eye with the new update for Apple Watch users. Here are some hidden watchOS 9 features that you may not have heard of.
1. Low power mode
While Apple has improved the overall hardware and software experience with each generation, battery life has always remained the same for 18 hours of use before needing a recharge. But watchOS 9’s new Low Power Mode changes that.
With the feature turned on and your iPhone close to you, you can squeeze in for up to 36 hours of use. To turn on Low Power Mode, swipe up to see Control Center. Select the battery percentage and then switch Low power mode. There is a lot more that you can access in the Control Center, be sure to take a look at it How to use and customize the area.
Just for reference, some Apple Watch features like Always-On Display and background heart rate monitoring will be disabled.
Starting in late 2022, Low Power Mode will arrive on the Apple Watch Ultra and provide up to 60 hours of use. This is nearly double the estimated use of 36 hours in normal mode.
2. New look for compass app
For compatibility with the Apple Watch Ultra, Apple has also revealed a redesigned Compass app in watchOS 9. When you start the app, you’ll quickly notice the hybrid display that displays both the analog compass dial and digital information. Rotate the Digital Crown to see more data including altitude, longitude, elevation, and inclination.
On the same screen are the new compass waypoints and backtracking. Using the coordinates, you can select a location or point of interest in the app to access it later in the app. For example, you can locate your car in a parking lot. Selecting a track point will show its direction and distance.
Backtrack uses GPS data to create a track that shows where you are. It’s perfect for hiking and tracking your steps.
3. Optimized Apple Watch Dock
Pressing the side button once opens the base of your Apple Watch, where you can easily access the apps to use. and watchOS 9, the dock will promote apps currently in use. This will make it easier for them to return to.
Make sure to see it all The Digital Crown and the side button can do this on Apple Watch.
4. Mirror Apple Watch to iPhone
Making the Apple Watch more accessible for users with physical and mobility impairments is a new mirroring feature. On your iPhone, you can control any Apple Watch using iPhone features including Voice Control and Switch Control.
5. New Quick Action
Additionally, Apple has also added a new quick action accessible to Apple Watch users on watchOS 9. A simple double-tap gesture can answer or end a phone call, dismiss a notification, take a photo, play/pause media, start, and pause. or resume exercise.
6. More languages on Apple Watch keyboard
Apple added a built-in keyboard starting with the Apple Watch Series 7. Instead of Scribble or Dictation, you can type a message and more. QuickType’s predictive engine will suggest possible words and phrases you’ve been typing.
In watchOS 9, the keyboard added support for additional languages - French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish.
7. More Features for Apple Watch Family Setup
Family Setup allows children or other family members to use a cellular-enabled Apple Watch without the need for an iPhone.
With watchOS 9, kids can now access the Podcast app. Starting in late 2022, kids can also be invited to the Home app to control HomeKit accessories and HomePod speakers. They will also have access to the keys stored in Wallet.
Enjoy all the new features of watchOS 9
While they don’t get much attention, these lesser-known improvements to watchOS 9 continue to improve the experience.
Whether you’re using Low Power Mode, enjoying the revamped Compass app, or something else, your Apple Watch is a great way to enjoy the Apple experience on a wearable.