Apple WatchOS 9 is now out: here are 5 new features to try

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Apple WatchOS 9 is now out: here are 5 new features to try
As of September 12, owners of supported Apple Watch models can finally download the new WatchOS 9 software update, which was announced back in June during the company's annual WWDC event.

This time the update is a substantial one, bringing improvements and new features across the board for regular  users to those who use their Apple Watch for fitness and health tracking. Among the many changes and new additions, however, some stick out more than the rest, which is why we have made a list of 5 that we think are the most noteworthy.

Before we begin, though, it is probably best to check out whether your Apple Watch supports the WatchOS 9 update.

These are all the WatchOS 9 supported Apple Watch models:
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Of course, if you've pre-ordered one of the new Apple Watches, you don't have to worry about updating to the latest software as they already come with it preinstalled.

(Used) Apple Watch Ultra: get at Amazon

The rugged Apple Watch Ultra is available at Amazon. At the moment, no brand-new models are available, but you can get a used Watch Ultra at its standard price on Amazon.

Apple Watch Series 8, 41mm, is available at Amazon

The Apple Watch Series 8 with a 41mm case and GPS is now available at Amazon. The wearable goes at its regular price.

Apple Watch Series 8, 45mm is available on Amazon

The bigger Apple Watch Series 8 in Starlight is now available at its standard price. This is the larger-sized 45mm model.

Apple Watch SE (2022), 40mm is available on Amazon

The Apple Watch SE (2022) is available at Amazon. The smartwatch currently retails at its standard price.

Apple Watch SE (2022) 44mm: save 22% on Amazon

The bigger version of the Watch SE (2022) is also available to order at Amazon. Right now, the GPS wearable arrives at a 22% cheaper price. Don't miss out.

Top 5 new WatchOS 9 features to check out:

New watch faces

For the watch-face aficionados out there, WatchOS 9 is bringing 3 new options in the form of Lunar calendar, Playtime, and Metropolitan. All of these new watch faces make full use of the larger screens on the Apple Watch Series 7 and Series 8.

But it is not all about new watch faces. Apple has improved some of the older options as well, like the Portraits face, which now supports pet portraits. The Astronomy face has also been massively upgraded to match with the one found on iOS 16, now with much more customization options for the font, view, style, and complications.

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Another interesting tidbit about WatchOS 9 is that you can set a particular watch face depending on the focus mode you are in, much like with iOS 16 and your iPhone.

A more powerful Workout app

There is a truckload of new workout features that elevate the Apple Watch's fitness tracking experience by a considerable amount.

First, you have new customizable workout views that offer you more specific at-a-glance information while you are training. You navigate the different pages by turning the watch's crown, or by simply swiping on the screen. You now also have the ability to create your own custom workout and tailor it to your liking.

For runners, WatchOS 9 offers a much richer picture of your performance with data on your stride length, ground contact time, vertical customization (also known as vertical bounce). In addition to those metrics, the Apple Watch can now also track your running power to help you determine the amount of force you are using during your run.

Another fun new feature for running and cycling is the competing against your previous best result with in-the-moment updates to keep you on your toes.

A new Multisport feature also makes an appearance with WatchOS 9. This feature will automatically detect and move between swimming, cycling, and running — a perfect option for triathlon athletes and enthusiasts.

Improved sleep tracking and Sleep Mode

Your Apple Watch is now able to detect specific sleep cycles, i.e. REM, Core, or Deep sleep, by utilizing the gyroscope and heart rate sensor to monitor you while you get your daily dose of shut-eye. You can also check comparison graphs on your iPhone's Health app, to track your sleeping patterns, as well as your heart and respiratory rates.

Direct control over Calendar and Reminder apps

The Calendar and Reminders apps are now more interactive than before, minimizing the need to reach for your iPhone. For example, you can now add a new event via the Calendar app with every detail regarding that event. With the Reminders app you can edit the reminders that you have already set up.

A redesigned Compass app

WatchOS 9 comes with a much-improved compass app. You now get three different versions that change the look and information displayed, easy access to waypoints, but most noteworthy of all is the new backtrack feature.

Backtrack does what you probably already suspect it does — it allows you to keep track of your route and follow the same path back, helping you feel safe when in a new area or in the wilderness.

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