For watchOS5, Apple doubled down on the fitness features that have helped to make the wearable the top-selling smartwatch in the world (and possibly the bestselling watch, period) and an inseparable workout companion for many of its wearers. The new additions will make it easier to log workouts, expand the Watch's tracking capabilities, and give wearers a chance to compete with their friends to find out who can be the most active.
Remember, this isn't actually a new version of the Watch itself; this is the system that the different generations of the device, like the current Series 3, depend on to function. You'll still want to get excited about the new improvements, so here are some more details about the four best new fitness features coming to the Apple Watch when the new software drops later this year.
Auto Workout Detection
Watches running watchOS5 will automatically track activity, a feature already offered by other wearables Fitbit and WHOOP. If you start doing one of "the most popular workouts" tracked by the Watch (i.e. running or cycling), the device will notice, and send you an alert to set up a formal recorded session. Once you stop moving, you'll get a reminder to end the session if you forget.
Take on another Watch wearer in a weeklong contest to see who can close the most Activity Rings. You'll get coaching prompts and extra reminders to move from the Watch, so you can be at your best to crush the competition.
Yogis and outdoorsmen will be happy about the newest workout modes coming with watchOS5: Yoga and Hiking. The modes bring the total number of trackable activities to 12.
New Running Features
Runners have some cool new bells and whistles that will give them even more info about their workouts, too. They'll be able to track cadence (steps per minute) for both indoor and outdoor runs and walks, and set alarms for outdoor runs that will help to keep them moving within their target pace. A new rolling mile pace metric will also allow runners to track their progress from one mile to the next more easily.