Apple is making watchOS 7 available via public beta starting today. It’s the first time that Apple has released a public beta for its smartwatches that you can try out before the final release. It joins a couple other operating systems that Apple currently has in public preview, including iOS 14, iPadOS 14, and macOS Big Sur.
We’re going to walk you through getting the new software on your Apple Watch.
What to know about watchOS 7 before installing the beta
Before you even start, you must install the iOS 14 public beta preview on your iPhone to get the watchOS 7 beta software, and you can follow instructions to do that here. The watchOS 7 beta requires using a phone with the latest beta software, and you’ll need to execute the steps below from that iPhone.
Now, more about the actual software. Apple’s watchOS 7 for Apple Watch brings the much-anticipated sleep tracking feature, along with a redesigned Fitness app that supports more kinds of movement, including dancing. Regarding sleep tracking, it will apparently let you set a bedtime and wake-up alarm, and a new Wind Down mode will work with your iPhone to start snoozing notifications and activate smart home presets to help get you into a more relaxed mood.
To name a few more highlights, the new watchOS 7 update will support cycling directions, and watchfaces can now receive richer complication combinations. The software can also automatically detect hand-washing (by motion and the sound of water) and begin a timer for you.
Can my Apple Watch run watchOS 7?
The new watchOS 7 software isn’t available on every Apple Watch model. Notably, Apple has ended major software updates for the Series 1 and 2 watches. This public beta is available only on Series 3 or newer smartwatches.
How to download the watchOS 7 beta
- First, you’ll need to make sure that your iPhone is running the iOS 14 public beta, so follow these instructions if you need to catch up. (Note: You’ll also need to perform the following steps from the iPhone to which your Apple Watch is paired.)
- If you aren’t signed in at Apple’s beta portal on your iPhone, you can sign in right here, but make sure you’re using the Safari web browser. A reader reported that a necessary prompt doesn’t show up if you’re using Google Chrome.
- Click “watchOS,” the right-most option on Apple’s Guide to Public Betas page. From there, click the drop-down menu at the top of the page and select “Enroll Your Devices.”
- The next step is to download the beta profile for your Apple Watch from your iPhone. As the site mentions, you can activate this downloaded profile by then opening Settings > General > Profiles & Device Management. Once you find that new profile, click “Install.”
- If your Apple Watch has automatic updates turned on, you’ll be notified that the public beta software is ready for download through Watch app on iPhone. Otherwise, to manually check for the update, open the Apple Watch app on iPhone, tap My Watch, then navigate from General to Software Update to initiate the install.
Update 5:30PM ET August 10th: Updated a step to indicate that you need to perform these steps from an iPhone using the Safari web browser. A reader noted that Google Chrome fails to provide a prompt that’s necessary for completing the install.