Apple Watch 6 could get Touch ID, gesture tracking and more long-demanded features

Apple Watch Series 5
(Image credit: Future)

There are plenty of smartwatches available to buy, with a wide range of useful features, and while Apple Watches have some of these neat tools, there are other tricks they're missing, but a new patent suggests Apple Watches might soon be getting more features users have been asking for.

This patent, spotted by PatentlyApple, and covering health features, gesture controls and more, was only recently granted to Apple, but it was filed back in early 2019. This means Apple has been experimenting with the tech for a while now, and we could see it on an Apple Watch very soon – maybe even the Series 6.

It's not confirmed that we'll see anything from this patent in Apple Watches though; patents only tell us a company is testing features, not that it's definitely going to include them in products. And the patent is a huge one, covering many features, so even if Apple were to use them all in its smartwatches, it likely wouldn't introduce them all in one go.

So let's run through some of the top Apple Watch features mentioned in this patent.

Possible future Apple Watch features

A top security feature the patent shows is Touch ID, which has been in iPhones and iPads for generations now. Enabling this on your Apple Watch would likely make the smartwatch require a fingerprint validation before you view personal data.

Gestures are also mentioned which, similar to 'raise to wake' which is present in plenty of smartwatches, would recognize different arm motions to trigger different functions - but the patent doesn't mention what kind of shortcuts these could be.

Similar to this, the patent mentions a special algorithm which would enable the Apple Watch to recognize which limb it was on. 

There are some health features in the patent too, including blood oxygen monitoring, a feature present on a few different smartwatches now and one that many hoped would come to the Apple Watch.

Otherwise known as Sp02 monitoring, or oxygen saturation, blood oxygen monitoring checks how much oxygen is in your blood (no surprises there), as low amounts of oxygen can be a symptom of various ailments.

Other health features mentioned include medical alerts (so you can set yourself health-related reminders to take medication, for example), dietary and nutritional advice, and other health data, but there's less information on how these would be implemented.

As stated, we don't know when or if we'll see these features in an Apple Watch, but if Apple wants to stay competitive with the slew of other great smartwatches on the market, it will need to keep finding new features to add.

Tom Bedford

Tom Bedford was deputy phones editor on TechRadar until late 2022, having worked his way up from staff writer. Though he specialized in phones and tablets, he also took on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK and now works for the entertainment site What To Watch.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working on TechRadar, he freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist. He also currently works in film as a screenwriter, director and producer.