Apple’s New WatchOS 11: Training Load, Turn-by-Turn Trail Routes, and More!

It’s that time of year when Apple announces the majority of new software features for their various platform operating systems, such as iOS, WatchOS, and more. These are announced at Apple’s WWDC (World Wide Developer Conference). While this event is technically targeted at developers, it basically signals and shows the majority of new features coming to the new Watch/etc versions.

That said, the keynote generally only covers a tiny fraction of all the new features. Then over the coming days/weeks, we’ll get to see all the detailed goodness as Apple releases various developer and public betas. The developer betas release today, whereas the public betas tend to release in the early July timeframe. All of which culminate in a production launch, usually in September, alongside when they normally announce new products like iPhone and Apple Watch units.

As always, for my annual WWDC coverage, I’m focused specifically on the WatchOS related items, plus a few others that are appealing to the outdoors crowd. With that, let’s dive into what was announced, with a bit of extra information not seen during the presentation.

Note all these updates will go to Apple Watch Series 6 and higher.

WatchOS Training Load & Vitals App:

By far the biggest new feature here is training load and effort rating, starting with the workout side of the equation. This new Effort Rating feature looks at each workout you do, and then assigns it an effort. This is based on heart rate, pace, elevation, age, height and weight. Cycling power is not taken into account for training load (more on why in a second).

It’ll automatically assign a score from 1 to 10 (10 being hardest), however, you can adjust it after the fact. There are 17 different workout types that get automatic effort assignments, mostly workout types that are highly metabolic. For other workout types that don’t get an automatic effort assignment, you can manually assign the effort (such as Pilates or Strength Training).

Further, you can choose to enable a prompt that’ll ask each type after a workout for an effort assignment. What’s critical to understand here is that your effort assignment is *THE* biggest input into training load, aside from duration.

Here’s the 17 types that are automatically calculated (again, remember you can *always* assign a rating to all other workouts):
– Indoor/Outdoor Run
– Indoor/Outdoor Walk
– Pool/Open water swim
– Indoor/Outdoor Cycle
– Hiking
– Elliptical
– Stair Stepper
– High Intensity Interval Training
– Dance
– Kickboxing
– Indoor/Outdoor Rowing
– Cross Country Skiing

From there, it’ll determine your training load. In the Apple Training Load paradigm, training load is simply a calculation of Effort x Duration. Meaning, by default it’ll take your automatically assigned effort value (1-10), then multiply it by your duration, to figure out training load for a given activity. Again, you don’t see the exact values, but that’s how it’s working behind the scenes.

This is quite different than the rest of the industry, where training load is heavily influenced by time in heart rate zones (typically), along with duration. That works well in many cases, but as anyone who’s done a long hike (or some strength training) can attest to, it falls apart in lower-heart rate efforts. I often see cases on Garmin/Polar/Whoop where a 12-hour massive 30KM hike day (with relatively low heart rates) will have an equal training load value to a moderate 10KM tempo run. Certainly, in reality the 12-hour massive hike day is more impactful, but because most training load algorithms focus specifically on the aerobic side, it overlooks these cases. Apple’s paradigm aims to solve for that. How well that works in reality, is something I’ll be putting through its paces.

As to why cycling power isn’t taken into training load? Well, that’s somewhat simple: It’s not taken into account for Effort Rating at this point (from an automatic calculation standpoint). And since training load is merely a calculation of Effort Rating x Duration, the downstream output of training load will lack it too. Same goes for running power.

Within the watch you can see whether your training load is trending higher/lower/same as your normal baseline. Of course, your baseline changes over time. Below that you’ll also see the blue ‘Vitals’ section, to jump to the Vitals app. This would show if things are typical, or if there’s any ‘Outlier’ vitals (such as high heart rate during sleep). It won’t, however, correlate anything between these two camps (training load vs daily metrics).

The training load is based on comparing your 7-day training load to your 28-day training load. In the above example, you can see the white line showing your 28-day load, and then the squiggly blue line is showing your 7-day load relative to that.

There are five different training load classifiers shown: Well Below, Below, Steady, Above, and Well Above.

And then in the app you can see further detail, including trending against longer timeframes (1-month/3-month/6-month), as well as it’ll show it against all your Vitals app metrics as well (on those same timeframes).

Note that the training load data won’t begin accumulating until you upgrade your phone/watch to the latest version. This ensures the Effort Rating data is correct, and not presumed, for historical data. Also of note, is that any 3rd party app using WorkoutKit will get included in training load related data.

Next is the new Vitals App. Interestingly, Apple sees this as a separate experience – tied more to health than training. That said, it’s very similar in concept to what we see from Fitbit/Google, Whoop, Garmin, and others. This will show trends that exist in areas such as resting heart rate, breathing rate, skin temperature, blood oxygen, and sleep. And specifically, how it compares to your existing baseline, as well as to the greater population baselines, pulling data from Apple’s large-scale studies.

The Vitals app will also outline any outliers, bubbling them up to you, to consider (or, ignore). In the examples above/below, you’ll see the ones in pink as being ‘outliers’. Whereas the ones in blue are within your normal range. If you get two outliers within this range, it’ll notify you, prompting you to look more closely at those metrics and possible causes (seen above, right).

At this point there doesn’t appear to be any recovery-type tie-in like you’d see on other sports-focused wearables. Instead, it’s looking at general metrics (sleep/etc) rather than training-induced recovery. But, this is definitely getting things closer to their competition, and again, as is the usual Apple style – covers the vast majority of what most users want. Also of note, at this point there’s no HRV used/shown within the Vitals app components.

Apple Watch Fitness/Health Updates

Next, here’s a potpourri of features that were very quickly covered. First up, you can now pause Activity Rings, which pauses streaks. Apple highlighted that this would be useful if you were injured or sick, or perhaps just want to enjoy that beach vacation properly.

When you choose to pause, you can select pre-canned options including: Today, Week, rest of month, or any date up to 90 days from now.

Likewise, you can now adjust goals on a per-day basis as well. This allows you to accommodate a higher goal for long runs on Saturday (an example), or lower goals if you know each Monday you’ll be slammed at work.

Further on the customization front, within the Fitness app, you can also now adjust the various tiles, customizing them – both which ones you choose, but also a slate of new ones such as running mileage/distance and of course training load and vitals related ones.

Following that, there’s the inclusion of structured swim workouts. When Apple added structured workouts last year, it was just for running and cycling, but not swimming. Given Apple’s focus on swimming features and triathlon support previously, it’s good to see this gap filled. This is both for custom swim workouts you make on the watch itself, as well as ones from 3rd parties. On the swim workout side, there’s the ability to add time-based intervals typically done in swimming (e.g. 100m on 1:40’s), and it’ll automatically track the remaining time in rest as you hit the wall, till the next interval.

Further, 3rd party apps can now give exact names for work/rest/recovery intervals, such as to say what stroke or thing you should be doing, rather than just ‘Work’. Further, there’s a new page now for custom workouts that’ll show upcoming workout targets, so you can see what’s happening next.

Likewise, there’s also new distance and route maps for more workout types, specifically:

Distance only (field sports):
– Outdoor Soccer
– Australian Football
– American Football
– Rugby
– Lacrosse
– Outdoor Hockey
– Disc Sports

Distance and a summary route map:
– XC Skiing
– Outdoor Rowing
– Golfing
– Downhill Skiing
– Snowboarding
– Outdoor Skating

Next, the Apple Watch now supports the safety check-in feature (directly from the watch), but now it’ll actually do so when you start a late-night workout, such as a run:

It’ll offer that at the beginning and ending, to notify your contacts/friends that you’ve started, and got back safe.

Next, when it comes to women’s cycle tracking, it’ll now support gestational age for pregnancy tracking, and notify you along the way to update/tweak things like high-heart rate alerts, but also track various symptoms. So you’ll now see that listed as “Life Factors”, which, at present is just pregnancy.

There’s also new views for pregnancy as well, both within the app and on the watch.

Custom Routes & Turn-by-Turn:

Next, starting first on iOS, there’s the inclusion of hiking/etc routes from the Maps app (Apple’s default mapping app). Up till now, these routes were basically one-way (e.g. from origin to destination). But now, they can be custom, as well as suggested routes. There are specific to hiking and walking activities.

Within that, you can create your own routes by tapping through a map. Interestingly, you can, of course, create a route/course that’s manual or looped, but also have it complete a route by doubling back to the start – or most cool, completing an interesting loop that takes a different route back. You’ll see the elevation profile shown as well:

In addition, in the US, within US National Parks, any published routes that the National Park Service lists, will be included as suggested routes, which is pretty interesting.

No matter whether it’s a custom route, or a suggested route, these routes are saved to a route library of your saved routes. At that point, Apple Maps will sync the route to your watch, as well as sync an offline map area for that particular route. This is notable because up till now, there weren’t true offline maps on the Apple Watch. Last year’s offline map update required your phone be present (thus, it was offline to your phone, but not your watch). Now, it’s fully offline to your watch and isn’t limited to being in the US for those offline maps.

Also of note, is that you can create the route on Mac, iPad, or iPhone. In the case of both iPad and iPhone, it’ll do the automatic offline sync pieces, whereas Mac route creation will require you to manually offline the maps from your phone.

In any case, once you’ve got the route on your watch, you’ll use the Maps app to navigate that route with turn-by-turn prompts just as before. That’s somewhat notable though because it doesn’t change the paradigm that you have to be in two apps at once: The first being the ‘Workout’ app to record your hike, and the second being the ‘Maps’ app to navigate the hike. While you can double-tap the Digital Crown to switch back and forth quickly, it still seems a little clunky compared to their competitors.

At this point there isn’t an API for 3rd parties to push routes into that custom route library unfortunately. I had really hoped we’d see something like that, akin to what they did last year with the structured workouts API. But hey, always next year.

WatchOS General Updates:

Next, a slate of updates that are more general, focused on the WatchOS platform, but aren’t limited to fitness/sports/health. They include:

1) More Intelligent Smart Stack: This will automatically show new widgets in the Smart Stack based on various factors, such as showing the precipitation widget when it’s about to rain

2) New updated ticketing/passes: These can show added information within the ticket directly on the watch, for things like sports/concerts

3) New translate Smart Stack option: When traveling to new countries, that can offer audio translations on the fly. This is entirely offline, and there are 20 languages available offline, which will show up when you arrive in a country that has a language that differs from your device language.

4) Added new interactive widgets for things like smart homes

5) Added Double Tap API for apps to start leveraging it

6) New watch faces: This is actually fairly big, and if using the photos app for watch faces, they’ll now sift through your photos using machine learning to find photos that pop best on the watch. Then from there, it’ll apply styling to it, to make more dynamic watch faces.

Again, these are just the ones highlighted in the keynote, there are undoubtedly a gazillion more little features we’ll stumble on over the coming weeks/months.

iOS Text Messaging via Satellite:

The biggest update for outdoors folks is going to be the inclusion of satellite messages from your iPhone 14/15, which will allow you to send both iMessage and SMS messages in locations without cellular or WiFi service. This builds upon the existing emergency SOS features that Apple rolled out nearly two years ago, now expanding it to regular messages (previously it was emergency related only):

This feature uses low-earth orbit satellites, and has you hold your phone in a specific orientation to get satellite coverage. Meaning it’s great for getting a quick message out to friends/family to check-in on a long hike in the wilderness, but wouldn’t be great for texts inside a secluded cabin, as it requires direct line of sight oriented in a certain direction (which it gives guidance for). This works for both iMessage and SMS, as seen here:

Either way, for the vast majority of consumers, this is a massive deal, as it bridges the gap between what we see in personal satellite devices like Garmin’s inReach devices, which have both messaging and tracking capabilities, as well as emergency capabilities. Of course, there are still plenty of features on the inReach side, but again, for most casual consumers, what Apple is providing will get about 90% of the way there.

Final Thoughts:

As I’ve said for the last three years of Apple WatchOS updates, Apple continues to expand more and more into their rivals’ territories. However, as with the past, Apple isn’t necessarily trying to hit every edge case, especially as it relates to performance users. Instead, as is often the case for Apple – they’re trying to stick the landing on a broadly appealing feature set that’s easy to use. In many ways, these updates continue to check those boxes.

If we look at their training load, Apple’s implementation is obviously easy to understand and appears easy to use. That can’t often be said about most other training load paradigms that are out there, at least for those unfamiliar with high-performance sport. Decoding things like Acute Load or TRIMP can be challenging, and this removes that complexity. At the same time though, it also means it’s harder for those performance-minded athletes to have the level of detail that they (or I) might want. I personally like to see the exact training load values for a given workout (and my week). Yet concurrently, Apple’s implementation solves for one of my biggest gripes: Absurdly low training load values on very-long duration treks/hikes (because the aerobic component is less).

Likewise, we see Apple taking baby steps when it comes to the Vitals app. They’re essentially showing the same stats that almost all other activity trackers on the market do, and in a very simple/clean matter. I see this as catch-up work, rather than moving the industry forward or leapfrogging it. And it’ll be interesting to see if/how they expand the Vitals components in the future, such as potentially including HRV data, or even tying components to training load around recovery.

In any case, there’s tons of other features above, which I’ll dive into over the next little while, and then circle-back with a deeper look at them down the road.

With that – thanks for reading!


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  1. Paul S.

    I assume Training Load doesn’t include 3rd party devices? As in, if I record a ride on my Edge 1040 using my HRM-Pro, Apple Health/Vitals on my Ultra/iPhone will never see it?

    Did they promise topo maps again (phone or watch)? That never actually happened where I live, except for a small, pretty useless, patch in Rothrock State Forest.

    • Pavel Vishniakov

      If everything is configured correctly and the workouts from your third-party devices / software are saved to HealthKit – you will be able to assign Effort Score to third-party workouts manually and have them impact your Training Load.

    • Roughly speaking, Training Load can actually take into account 3rd party workouts, via Effort Score, if that workout provider/platform uses WorkoutKit.

      I need to get clarity on where topo maps stands these days, since as you noted things never really materialized there for most areas. Non-topo maps are different of course.

    • Paul S.

      So I guess since Connect reports to Health, that the answer may be yes. I’ll find out in September.

      I’ve panned around for miles in Maps on my Ultra, and there’s only that one small patch. But that’s the only patch that shows an actual trail. Maybe the addition of trails would be enough, if trails include the “double track” trails, former roads/railroad cuts that they keep passable for emergency vehicles to get through but are usually gated to keep motor vehicles out. Those are completely missing from Maps but are an important part of the loops I and others do in the mountains.

  2. Bob

    Apple’s mostly annual feature update cycle is working against them.
    This stuff should have been rolling out quarterly since last WWDC.

    But I guess they don’t have to hurry since they are the market leader in smart watches and they can afford to slowly catch up to Garmin.

  3. hurry

    Enhanced GPS positioning?

  4. acousticbiker

    “any 3rd party app using WorkoutKit will get included in training load related data”

    Which apps use WorkoutKit? Garmin Connect Mobile?

  5. Jackson

    This also marks one of the shortest support time frames for one of their watches. As an Apple Watch SE (1st gen) user I am pretty steamed that were not included in this upgrade. It will be a watch that was actively supported only for 3 years and 11 months.

    In protest I plan to keep it another year or two.

  6. Nathan M.

    How about cycling VO2 max? My Apple Watch has always been a full 5-7 ml/kg/min off of my Garmin and lab tested values. It was a full 10 ml/kg/min off once. Running VO2 has never been good in the health app. I’d love power based VO2.

  7. pm

    You mentioned a discussion on power, but there “ain’t no discussion on power.” ;-)

  8. Stuart

    “Cycling power is not taken into account for training load (more on why in a second).”

    Did I miss it, or did the why not make it into the final article? (Or perhaps it was more implied than stated outright.)

  9. Rob

    Genuine question, is a 12 hour, 30 km hike at low heart rate even comparable to a 10 km run? What does it even mean to look at the “training load” for the two and see that one is higher than the other? What would you do with that information?

    • Good question.

      So, if we look at the context of Training Load (usually a TRIMP calculation), it’s roughly looking at time in HR zones and calculating out total effort (load) from there.

      Ironically, my pancake-flat 10KM run this morning was such an amazing example. This was a chill Z2 run for me. I then went back and grabbed an 11hr/24KM/2,600m (8,500ft) elevation day from two months ago (with a 40lbs pack). Both today’s run, and that day, was mind-boggling the exact same value. Thus, from a Garmin Training Load perspective, both of these were equal, and both had equal recovery times.

      Of course, at the end of this morning’s run, I went about my day without any impact. At the end of that 11hr day, I was completely shot. Attached a screenshot showing the two sets of data. Had I realized it was that exact, I’d probably outlined that example more. It continues to be a huge gap in all of the HR-driven load components, be it Garmin, Polar, COROS, Suunto, and even Whoop.

    • Donna

      With a recovery heart beat of 3 bpm are you even alive? :)

    • Martin

      And what’s your max HR when a chill Z2 averages 157 bpm, I’m forced to stay in the 130:s :(

  10. Tim Burns

    Not having cycle routes seem a bit odd (especially as running and walking are included)?

    • Things under that camp are really more “Apple Map Team” than “Apple Watch Team”.

    • Tim Burns

      Aye but as a potential purchaser of an Apple Watch, I would buy a product, not an understanding of Apple Corp organisational responsibilities. Still strikes me as an odd omission

    • Salva

      Does that mean that you believe that routes will be workout-agnostic? If this is driven by the apple map team and separate from the workout app, it should work regardless of the workout you are doing, right?

    • Tim Burns

      Seems logical? Garmin routes are activity specific (I think), but the same features are used to create a route, with a drop down list to specify the activity type. If Apple can now create a route, why restrict it to to certain types only? Or are they embarrassed that the roll out of cycle routing in Maps is glacial?

  11. Pavel Vishniakov

    I think ideally the workout effort should be two-part: one is aerobic exertion and the other is muscle fatigue. When I’m doing the four-day march in Nijmegen (50km per day), my legs are destroyed every evening, but the aerobic exertion is minimal (as the route is flat and I’m not carrying a lot of stuff), so all Garmins of the world give me a very low training load and suggest a threshold run after all four days which I can’t possibly do as my legs are totaled.

    Regarding maps I have a feeling that Apple has a dedicated team actually doing all the trails themselves, otherwise I can’t explain why does it take them so long (they started last year with 2 national parks in the US, 6 months later it’s all parks in the US). I mean they buy mapping data for general Apple Maps, why can’t they simply buy trail data the same way?

    Satellite messaging looks legit cool and makes me think about selling my InReach (or, at least, not changing my first-gen Mini for a GPSMap unit). Sure, I’ll lose emergency SOS and weather forecast, on the other hand – it will be easier to message my parents / my SO when I’m away (as the messages will go to their phones directly from me instead of into their emails and from a random address) and I’ll ditch another subscription.

    Still don’t understand why can’t we get a general “GPS On/Off” toggle for every workout type.

    Last but not least – the “check in after workout” feature is shown only for running workouts. Ray, do you know if it’s a running-exclusive feature or will it be available for other workouts as well?

  12. Jonathan Rial

    At last they have got structured swim workouts! You mentioned third parties customising names, do you know if TP can do this as part of the beta as this would be so helpful! Do you know if they have added the lap feature to swimming, its so frustrating not having this?

  13. Xabbar

    Does a web based analyzing tool exist? ( Garmin, Polar)
    Without that, it’s not serious.

    • Pavel Vishniakov

      Not really, but HealthFit is there on iPhone and, if you want a bigger screen, on an iPad as well. And for even more flexibility HealthFit can export the workouts in a standard FIT format, so you can load them into a web analyzer of choice.

    • Noel Hibbard

      Just use HealthFit to sync to any of the gazillion web services out there like Strava, SmashRun, intervals.icu, TrainingPeaks, etc. You don’t even have to launch an app for it to sync. It’s fully automatic. Maybe one day Apple will make their own web service but considering how long it took for them to develop a web UI for Apple Music, I wouldn’t hold my breath.

  14. ted

    most of this is irrelevant to most off us, most of the time, PAI and the very simiiar google fit’s ‘heart points’ are the way forward for the average user, though i would love to see a definitive link between WHO exercise intensity levels used and actual heart rates, % or otherwise, never mind MET’s !

  15. firsthuman

    Maybe additional features will be added for the Apple Watch X/10. We will see…

  16. Oskars

    Except the training load thingie isn’t unique, Polar has this Perceived raining load for a few years already.

    • Pavel Vishniakov

      On Polar (and other) devices Perceived Load is, AFAIK, for your information only – it isn’t taken into account when calculating your Training Load (as you input it postfactum). I do see it being factored in by Garmin into the Daily Suggested Workouts – if you mark the workouts as “easy”, it will re-think the follow-ups and make them harder.

    • Craig

      I’m not sure what new or “unique” things Apple can introduce at this point in the game. I think giving is what is already out there with maybe a few unique ways to package the data are good for me at this point. My main interests are in the running space. Give me garminesque features with Apple smart watch without the need for third party apps and I’m a satisfied customer. I am genuinely interested in how this whole blood oxygen piece shakes out in the courts.

  17. Cheryl M.

    Still no HR broadcasting to other devices?

    • TedP

      thank you! HR broadcast the final thing I am waiting on from Apple (and maybe a black Ultra with longer battery :)

  18. Frank

    What about precision start for non-ultra watches? Any update on that? It baffles me that this not a standard thing across all Apple watches…

  19. ted

    i’m with you on this, maybe training load means a lot to a pro, or wannabe, etc, etc, but for most of us the 10km run far outweighs a 30km hike, which would barely register as a fitness activity under the WHO health guideline’s, albeit, we know anything that burns calories is good for most of us, but unless you aim to complete the hike ‘briskly’ then it wouldn’t contribute much at all to your cardiovascular fitness

    • TomTom

      I don’t consider myself a great runner, mostly run 5K to 10K in less than 30 and 60 minutes respectively but I assure you that after a 10K run I feel super fresh compared to a 30K hike in the mountains.

  20. Hugh

    Thanks Ray. Do you happen to know if, with the new turn by turn, it’s possible to upload a gpx file into the maps app for use later e.g. the route for a race…?

  21. Jonathan Wheaton

    Still no bluetooth heart rate transmit?!

  22. Julian

    As an Watch SE 1st gen user, I’ll stick to the TSB model training load in HealthFit then. I hadn’t really expected Apple to drop my watch and the 4/5 this year already. The hardware is still going strong and the battery is good enough for all my rides. At least I’ll also get the new Fitness app summary on the phone, yay.

    Would be a different story if Apple had introduced a proper cycling routes feature, but luckily that’s not the case, phew.

  23. Steve

    Do you suppose that the inclusion of Training Load and better views of Vitals make the AW more of a Garmin Competitor? I only as as I am considering swapping out my Fenix 6 and cannot decide between AW and Forerunner 965, I get an OLED screen with both, but on the one hand I get a better smartwatch experience, but one the other Garmin has 100’s of my historical workouts and has the ability to look at a topo map whilst running.

    I’m not a pro sportsperson (even less so in recent months) but do like to know if what I am going is good for me, or if I am doing too much which the ‘readiness’ features on Garmin seems to cover. But I much prefer some of the gym apps available on the AW for strength training.

    I really cannot work out all the pros/cons of either and it seems a win/lose on features either way.

    • Paul S.

      You could do what I do and have both. I’ve been using an Apple Watch since the original, and a Garmin watch since the original Fenix. The AW (currently an Ultra) is my smartwatch, the Garmin (currently an Epix 2) is my sports watch. Usually I’m wearing my Ultra, but at the moment the Epix is on my wrist since the Ultra is charging. (I’ve been using it for sleep tracking for a few months. Meh.) They both suck for cycling, so I use a Garmin Edge (currently a 1040) for that. (Well, OK, the Epix can do almost the same things as the 1040, and is my emergency backup for the 1040, it’s just smaller and in the wrong place. The AW simply sucks at cycling.)The Epix is for cross country skiing and hiking, which the Ultra is ridiculously bad (xc skiing) or just bad (hiking) at. But the Epix makes a lousy smart watch compared to the Ultra.

      So if you have to choose between one and the other, do you want a smartwatch or a sports watch?

    • Roff

      You can mount an Epix or Fenix on your bars with a Garmin QuickFit mount, so it’s in the correct place – you’re just left with the much smaller screen.

    • CoryG

      How are you managing all of the workout data / training data with both watches?

    • Paul S.

      Basically by just ignoring whatever the Apple Watch and Health are showing. I never record any activities on my AW besides an occasional short hike with the Strava app (with the dog, so not really a hike). (Why the Strava app? Workoutdoors didn’t record my HR the one time I used it, and getting data from Workout to Strava takes more effort.) Everything I want to record for real is recorded on a Garmin device, besides Zwift activities which are run and recorded on my iPad, and it all, including Zwift, winds up in Garmin Connect and Strava. Apple Health learns about them from Connect and Strava, but I pay little attention to anything in Health. I use Health to record my medications, and it gets blood pressure (I take it once a day since I have high blood pressure) and weight from my Withings devices and the Withings app. Weight also independently flows from Withings to Connect and supposedly Strava via smartscalesync.com. So basically everything I want to pay attention to is on Garmin Connect and Strava, so that’s where I look. The new Connect makes things harder to look, but it’s all still there somewhere.

  24. Mark

    Ray, since they support importing structured bike workouts, any word on if they will add indoor trainer control to the native workout app?

  25. Brian VP

    Does the effort score/data get written out to the FIT file if that workout is exported?

  26. David Rosi


  27. AC

    GPS and HR lock before activity start? 3…2…1…no more, please!

    • Noel Hibbard

      This is called Precision Start on the Ultra’s. It’s so stupid they do not allow precision start on non-Ultra’s. An alternative is the WorkOutDoors app which will let you get a HR and GPS lock before starting the run.

  28. Niki

    Mam od wczoraj. Dzisiaj biegałem i jestem bardzo rozczarowany. Liczyłem, że dodadzą Recovery, ale nie ma. Nie ma map, które mógłbym wyświetlać na ekranie w czasie biegu. Niestety, ta aktualizacja systemu nic dla mnie nie zmienia, nadal niezbędne są: WorkOutDoors, Athlytic, Training Today oraz HealthFit.

    Do Garmina nadal AWU daleko.

  29. Jonathan W

    ….and no heart rate.

  30. CB

    Nobody pointed out the obvious typo yet. Commenters are slacking.

  31. Geordan

    Literally the only WatchOS update I want is for Strava to f*cking figure out how to integrate data fields from the 2023 WatchOS update

    • Noel Hibbard

      Strava seems to hate Apple. They ignore the elevation, power and all that. If you use HealthFit to sync your runs to Strava, it doesn’t drop any of this stuff. HealthFit will sync in the background too, so you don’t even have to launch an app to get your data to Strava.

  32. gc1091

    I just hope that this moving towards the fitness aspect will push Garmin to stop the segmentation between the different watches with no real reason. Venu3 and 265 should have the same features basically (to be honest training loads should be on all the watches, or at least estimated on the app)

  33. David

    At this rate of map development when are we likely to see routing/offline maps for RoW? Very US focused company…
    Health/Health kit need some updates eg allowing expansion of metrics like HR/pace and ability to align views of them.

    • Routing/offline maps *IS* the rest of the world with this update. It’s the topo-specific feature that’s US for some reason.

      Can you clarify what you mean on expansion of HR/pace metrics?

    • David

      My bad. Health shows you very little information about an activity. HealthKit (which I mistaken thought was from apple) will only show you a graph of each metric eg pace, heart rate etc in turn with no ability to zoom or overlay like Garmin does. Are there better tools.

    • For viewing activities though, you should be using the built-in “Fitness” app. The default/built-in HealthApp is very very deep, but more from a data point standpoint. The HealthFit app (which is 3rd party) does have quite a bit of detail there, though, I don’t see a way to overlay two different metrics (but you can tap the thingy above each chart to change distance/time).

    • Noel Hibbard

      The best solution for detailed analysis is from 3rd party websites like Strava or intervals.icu. Intervals.icu has an overwhelming amount of analysis that is possible. The HealthFit app can sync your HealthKit data to just about any of these services seamlessly in the background without any user interaction.

  34. Ian

    Glad to see addition of structured swimming workouts! Did they add the ability to do RPE-based structured workouts??

  35. Benjamin

    This is an update that’s but an AWU2 in contention for me (see what AWU3 looks like in September), as a potential replacement to my FR745.

    But have they finally started showing trending data that doesn’t take 180 days? I still don’t get that in the current fitness app on the phone. If I do 2 runs, one at 6:00/km and one at 5:45/km, I’m trending faster… It’s not a reliable trend, but it’s still a trend….

  36. Alan Wynn

    I will ask again, do you feel that Apple is improving faster in fitness than Garmin is in everything else? :-) In reality, my question is: “Do you think that Apple’s improvements in fitness tracking and metrics has gotten it to the point that it has become reasonable for more potential Garmin users, than Garmin’s watches have improved enough to convince Apple users to switch?”

    • Apple isn’t increasing/improving in fitness features faster than Garmin. I think even Apple would probably privately admit that.

      Instead, they’re increasing their scope fast enough to capture/convert more mainstream users who might have been looking at Garmin. Specifically, they’re going for the “broadest” possible realm of the fitness side, rather than the pointy’er end.

      I think both approaches are interesting, as Garmin has realized that they shouldn’t be shy about going for the pointy end – because everyone likes to be faster and wants fancy tech. And Apple concurrently is bringing some of those pro-like features (Training Load) to the masses, via more broad metrics.

      Unsurprisingly, both companies are gaining customers – mostly at the expense of other competitors.

  37. Ah

    Pausing workout streaks – also good for multi time zone travel, which Apple still hasn’t figured out how to calculate sensibly. (27h stand days if I cross the IDL W-E; 5 hours to meet move goals if E-W).

  38. Luca

    When topographical function come to Italy, or Europe…I still waiting since 2023