5 new features that just made the Apple Watch a lot more useful

Apple's new watchOS 8 makes its case to watchless iPhone users.

An Apple Watch running watchOS 8.

Apple’s WWDC unleashed a deluge of new features for the Apple Watch, and while some may be flashier than others, these might actually be the most useful for your day-to-day.

5. Bigger, better wallet

Like iOS 15, Apple watchOS 8 expounds on the Wallet app, making space to store things like home keys, digital keycards for an office building, and even hotel room keys in a partnership with Hyatt.

Probably the most interesting update to Apple Watch’s Wallet app, however, is the ability to lock and unlock a (supported) car from a distance and even trigger the ignition from the driver’s seat. James Bond would be proud.

4. New messages and contacts

Messages and contacts might not be the sexiest new feature, but when it comes to making Apple Watch more user-friendly, those basics are crucial. In watchOS 8 messages, users can add Scribble, dictation, and emojis in the same message.

Apple Watch wearers also can more easily edit dictated messages after transcription, which is great for quiet-talkers and subway commuters alike.

3. Assistive touch

Apple Watch isn’t naturally the most accessible piece of hardware for those with upper body limb differences, so watchOS 8 add gesture controls through AssistiveTouch that lets wearers control the watch with one arm.

Motion sensors can detect gestures that command your watch to answer calls, interact with the screen, and, most importantly, bring up action menus for the Notification Center, Control Center, and other critical features.

2. Find items

Apple also introduced a new “Find Items” app in watchOS 8 that lets users locate tagged items in their Find My network. To complement that, Apple also included a “Find Devices” app that can locate any device using the same Apple ID. Just don’t lose your Apple Watch, because that makes both of these watchOS additions moot.

1. A homier home app

A critical part of using an Apple Watch is being able to access tools without too many taps. A redesigned version in watchOS 8 attempts to streamline using your watch to control aspects of your smart home by pinning connected accessories like lights or air conditioning to the interface.

WatchOS 8 also suggests “scenes” depending on the time of day, so the pinned accessories will change based on anticipated usefulness.

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