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The Apple Watch is finally getting a built-in sleep-tracking feature. 

During its Worldwide Developers Conference virtual keynote on Monday, Apple announced plans to add the highly requested feature to the wearable as part of watchOS 7. The updated smartwatch operating system will also include automatic hand-washing detection and coaching, cycling directions, and a new dance tracker in the Workout app. 

You can already get third-party apps that turn the Watch into a sleep tracker, but Apple doesn’t currently offer this feature natively. Many were hoping for Apple to include sleep tracking as part of watchOS 6 last year, but that didn’t happen. Now, Apple is finally planning to add an official sleep-tracking feature, a welcome addition considering sleep is such an important element of your overall health. 

Apple Watch sleep tracking in watchOS 7 (Images: Apple)

When it’s time for bed, your Apple Watch screen will dim, so as not to disturb your shut-eye. You can have the watch ring an alarm in the morning, or vibrate to wake you up without disturbing your partner. When you wake, the Watch will display a greeting screen that shows its battery level, so you remember to charge it. The Series 5 only gets around 18 hours of battery life, so you’ll need to find some time to charge it during the day if you use it to track your sleep. That could mean sacrificing some activity tracking during the day. Here’s hoping this is an indication that Apple is planning to up the battery life on the Series 6. 

Apple Watch hand-washing countdown (Images: Apple)Apple Watch hand-washing countdown (Images: Apple)

Besides tracking your sleep, watchOS 7 will be able to automatically detect when you wash your hands, and show a countdown timer. That should help you reach the recommended 20 seconds without having to sing “Happy Birthday” in your head twice. Sensors will determine when you’re washing your hands, based on how you move them. The Watch will confirm the action when it hears the sound of running water. 

Meanwhile, in the era of TikTok, Apple is adding a new dance tracker to the Workout app. It will be able to track your calorie burn and other metrics for many different styles of dance, from Hip Hop to Bollywood, Apple said. Plus, the Activity app is getting a new name: Fitness, and it will feature a new summary tab showing your activity history, workouts, and trends. 

The new cycling directions feature will make it easy to navigate from point A to point B on your bike. It will show elevation changes so you know what kind of ride you’re in for, direct you when to walk or take the stairs, and help you navigate to a bike repair shop if you get flat tire or your chain comes loose.

Also among the new additions to watchOS 7 is a Face Sharing feature that will make it easy to create watch faces and share them with others. Apple is also planning to add a chronograph (aka stopwatch) face with a tachymeter, a speed-measuring tool used by pilots and race car drivers.

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