Hands-on: top 10 watchOS 7 features for Apple Watch

After spending two weeks with the final version watchOS 7, I’ve landed on my favorite new features for Apple Watch. Although obviously not as feature-dense as iOS 14, watchOS 7 — with new additions like Family Setup, watch face sharing, sleep mode, and multiple complications per app — brings more than enough new additions to the table. Watch our hands-on video as I explore the top 10 watchOS 7 features.

Note: all of these features were tested on an Apple Watch Series 6. If you want to experience the majority of features, you’ll need an Apple Watch Series 4 or higher.

Family Setup

Launching alongside the new Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE, Family Setup is a new feature that allows you to set up family members with an Apple Watch, even if that family member is not an iPhone user. Compatible with cellular Apple Watch Series 4 models and higher, Family Setup is an option that’s configured during the initial pairing process of the Apple Watch.

Apple notes that Family Setup might be useful for children as well as older adults who can benefit from wearing an Apple Watch. An Apple Watch paired via Family Setup gets its own phone number and can be used for telephone calls and messages. It can also be used with other popular Apple Watch features such as Music, Workouts, activity goals, etc.

Family Setup may be a good idea for family members looking after older ones with features like emergency SOS and fall protection. I can also see it being useful for small children thanks to the communication and tracking features built into the Apple Watch. Family Setup allows you to stay in touch with loved ones via Apple Watch without the need for a more expensive dedicated iPhone and corresponding cellular plan.

Video: top 10 watchOS 7 features for Apple Watch

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Siri enhancements

Thanks to watchOS 7, Apple Watch users gain access to a couple of key Siri enhancements that can help make life easier. For starters, there’s the new ability to ask Siri how to say a word in another language. For example, you can ask Siri “How do you say Apple in Spanish” or “How to say goodbye in Japanese.” Siri will reply audibly and present a translation right on your wrist.

The second standout Siri-related feature involves the ability to perform offline on-device dictation. Using Drafts, one of my favorite Apple Watch apps, I found dictation to be fast and precise even while offline.

New Memoji app

I wasn’t expecting the new Memoji app in watchOS 7 to be as deep as it is, but it literally packs in all of the features of the Memoji editor found on the iPhone. That means you can create brand new Memoji characters from scratch or edit existing Memoji right from your wrist. Users can even add their creations to a brand new Memoji watch face.

New watch faces

As usual, the latest major watchOS release comes bundled with several new watch face options. Along with the already mentioned Memoji watch face, you’ll find the following:

  • GMT
  • Count Up
  • Chronograph Pro
  • Artict
  • Typograph
  • Stripes

All of the new watch faces have their strengths, for example, the GMT watch face is nice because it allows you to quickly switch between time zones with just a tap. If you’re someone who travels or regularly corresponds with people in different time zones, it can be an asset.

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