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Five watchOS 11 Features Apple Didn't Tell Us About at WWDC

Five watchOS 11 Features Apple Didn't Tell Us About at WWDC

This year’s WWDC was a grand event for Apple, with the company debuting looks at its newest operating systems for the Apple Watch, iPhone, Mac, and iPad. Alongside those new OSes, it also showcased Apple Intelligence, the company’s special AI, which will power various features coming to its devices later this year.

Now that we’ve had a chance to go hands-on with the Apple Watch’s newest update, watchOS 11, there are a few features that Apple didn’t highlight, but that I think are worth discussing.

Nap detection

I’ve already reported more in-depth on this one today, but I think it’s worth double-dipping here because it’s just such a cool feature.


Before watchOS 11, you had to use the Sleep Focus functionality to actually have your Apple Watch track your sleep. Further, it couldn’t track anything like afternoon naps. That’s changing with watchOS 11, though. Hopefully this is just the first step towards a fully automated sleep tracking system.

You can finally change the ringtone

I’m honestly surprised Apple didn’t show off this one, because it’s one that many have wanted since the very first Apple Watch came out. With watchOS 11, you can now change the ringtone on your Apple Watch.

This includes the ringtone, the text tone, and even alerts for reminders, calendar, and your mail notifications. Apple also added some new sounds to the Apple Watch to give you some more customization, too. You can find all those options in Settings > Sound & Haptics.

The Translation app is now native to the Apple Watch

Translation isn’t a new app on the Apple Watch, but before watchOS 11, you had to go out of your way to download it. Now, though, your Apple-powered smartwatch will come with it pre-installed.

That means more people will have access to the Translate app than ever before—I know plenty of people who didn’t even know it existed. What’s even cooler about this one is that Apple plans to offer real-time translation using the app on your Apple Watch.


Smart Stack shows Now Playing info in Live Activities

Apple pointed out that it is finally bringing Live Activities to the Apple Watch in watchOS 11. This includes things like tracking your Starbucks order, scores for sports events, information about your seats at concerts, and other things. What Apple didn’t point out, though, is that it will also affect your “now playing” info.

In watchOS 11, if you’re watching a YouTube video, listening to music, or anything else that would previously bring up the “now playing” screen on your Apple Watch, then you’ll now be treated to a handy new widget in the Smart Stack. You can pause the music or video directly from the widget, or tap on it to go to the Now Playing screen.

It’s a nice little function that I like a lot better than the full-blown Now Playing window—but if you prefer the old way, you can turn off media inclusion in the Live Activities menu.

Apple Watch Ultra gets new training complication

This final hidden gem is for my fellow Apple Watch Ultra users only, unfortunately. If you’re sporting the Apple Watch Ultra or Ultra 2, then you’ll be able to take advantage of a new training complication on the Ultra watchface. The complication appears along the outer rim of the watchface, giving you an easy place to keep track of your current progress.

It’s not a huge change, but it is one that gym-goers and fitness fans will likely find helpful.


As future watchOS 11 betas come out, we’re likely to find more hidden features that Apple didn’t highlight. If you want to try out the new features in watchOS 11, but don’t want to wait until the fall, you can always install the beta right now. I’d recommend most people steer clear of the watchOS betas, though, as you can’t easily downgrade back to the previous version.

If you do want to install the beta, simply access the Watch app on your iPhone, navigate to General > Software Update > Beta Updates and then select watchOS 11 Developer Beta to get started.

Joshua Hawkins

Published: 2024-06-19 00:00:00

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