WatchOS 8 rumors, coolest new Apple Watch features, release date and more

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The Apple Watch is getting new messaging tools, a Mindfulness app and a new portrait-mode watch face. It's a preview of the new WatchOS 8 that could be released alongside the new Apple Watch Series 7.
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Apple Event

Apple's big event is today, and alongside the rumored iPhone 13, we could also get a new Apple Watch Series 7. That also means we may see the release of WatchOS 8, which has been available in public beta since the end of June.

Expect extra workout modes, more flexible messaging tools and a portrait watch face, among other new features. While there are no big interface surprises in the new OS, Apple has refined the Watch experience to bring many features in line with iOS on the iPhone.

Read more: Apple Watch SE vs Series 6 vs. Series 3: How to choose?

WatchOS 8 will run on all Apple Watches starting with the Series 3 and later. Apple released the final version of WatchOS 7 just one day after its September keynote in 2020, so if tradition holds you may be able to update your Apple Watch to WatchOS 8 as soon as Wednesday. We'll update this story with the timing as soon as Apple announces the official release date for WatchOS 8.

Here are the best new Apple Watch features we've found so far.

WatchOS 8 puts portrait photos on your wrist

The new Portraits watch face can use any portrait mode photo taken on the iPhone. But rather than displaying a static image, the watch uses segmentation data from the photo to separate the foreground from the background. This means the time appears just behind the head of your subject and if you raise your wrist or fidget with the Digital Crown, the subject pops in and out, too.

Lexy Savvides/CNET

I've found it works best with photos that have a lot of distance between the foreground and background, plus ample headroom above your subject so you can really see the effect. Some complications are also supported, so you can put elements like battery level or heart rate on the watch face as well.

The Photos app itself gets some new tools like surfacing your memories and featured photos, so new content is synced with the Watch daily. Plus you can now share photos straight from…
Lexy Savvides
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