watchOS 7 public beta is out now – here's what's it brings to your Apple Watch

(Image credit: Apple)

After being announced at Apple’s WWDC 2020 event in June, watchOS 7 is finally available – or, at least, a public beta of it is anyway.

This follows a developer beta which has been available for a while, but the public beta is easier to get and is actually designed for general users (albeit those who can put up with a few bugs and non-final software). Thankfully, you won't need to pay into the Apple Developer Program, but you will need to get the iOS 14 beta on a paired iPhone first.

Grabbing the new Apple Watch software is an easy process, and we've got a step-by-step guide on how to get watchOS 7 beta on your Apple Watch. But is it worth downloading? Well, only you can decide that, but there are certainly some exciting new features.

Will it work with your smartwatch?

As Apple noted at WWDC 2020, only the Apple Watch 3 or newer will be able to upgrade to watchOS 7 (including the beta) – sorry, owners of older Apple wearables. 

But you won't be able to download the watchOS 7 beta unless you're also running the iOS 14 developer or public beta. If you haven't done that yet, here's how to get the iOS 14 beta on your iPhone.

We've got a full guide on how to get the watchOS 7 public beta on your Apple Watch, but here's the short version: you'll need to enroll in the Apple Beta Software Program and click 'Sign Up,' then head to the Beta Program Guide and click on the watchOS 7 tab. Scroll down to the 'Get Started' paragraph, click on the link to enroll your Apple Watch

Once on that page, scroll down to click on 'Download profile' to get the profile on your iPhone, and then your Apple Watch will automatically download the public beta unless Automatic Updates are turned off in Settings > Software Update. If that's the case, manually check for updates in the iOS Apple Watch app, tap the 'My Watch' tab, and go to General > Software update.

Once downloaded and installed, you'll be able to try out some of the new features coming in watchOS 7, which look to be big interface, sleep, and fitness additions.

Sleep, strength and hygiene

While not all of the watchOS 7 features will necessarily make it into this first public beta, we expect more of them to follow in subsequent beta versions. The big new features include sleep tracking – a long-wished-for feature that previously required a third-party app.

There are also improvements to complications, as you can now create multiple complications from a single app, and you can easily share your watch faces in a message, email, or simply by posting a link online.

There are four new workouts that can be tracked too, namely Dance, Functional Strength Training, Core Training, and Cooldown.

Plus, watchOS 7 comes with an automatic hand washing detection feature, the Maps app has added cycling directions, Siri can now handle spoken translations and dictation directly from the Apple Watch, and watchOS 7 will protect your hearing by notifying you when you’ve exceeded safe levels of listening through headphones.

So there’s a lot here and you can try it all out now. That said, being a beta the software may not be totally stable, and if you want to wait for the finished watchOS 7 experience you hopefully won’t have too much longer to go, as it’s likely to launch in or around September.

James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to, and and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.