Apple’s first watchOS 7 public beta is now available

The update includes the company's take on sleep tracking.

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Apple has released the first public beta for watchOS 7. You can start the process of downloading the software by visiting the company’s website

While Apple has for years allowed people to check out its tentpole iOS and macOS updates before they’re publicly available, 2020 is the first year that it has done a public beta for a new watchOS release. However, you may not want to jump at the opportunity. To start, you’ll need to download and install iOS 14 on the iPhone you have paired with your Watch. Apple also warns your data may not be backward compatible. Moreover, some features, such as VoiceOver, currently don’t work in watchOS 7. 

But if you’re willing to put up with buggy software, you’ll find nifty new features to check out. WatchOS 7’s most notable enhancement over watchOS 6 is the addition of sleep tracking. The update adds an app that will show you how long you slept the night before — though it doesn’t include a breakdown of sleep cycles just yet. 

Apple has also updated the Activity app. It’s now called Fitness and includes more accurate calorie tracking for activities like functional strength and core training. Other less significant but still welcome additions include new watch faces, as well as a feature that allows you to share them with your friends. Apple Maps now includes support for cycling directions — just in time for the rerelease of Google Maps on the platform. Of course, no wearable update in 2020 would be complete without some kind of handwashing feature. WatchOS 7 comes with automatic handwashing detection that will let you know how much longer you need to scrub your hands. 

As usual, it’s probably best to not install the software on your Apple Watch if you use it every day. But if you’re type who likes to live on the edge, you can also install the macOS Big Sur and iOS 14 public betas.  

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