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Huge Apple Watch upgrade will change the way you work out

Apple Watch
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The Apple Watch is getting a new fitness feature that will enhance walking workouts for users, according to the wearable's latest beta software. 

Twitter user Khaos Tian (via 9to5Mac) shared a screenshot of the iOS 14.4 beta settings, one of which indicates "Time to Walk" workouts are coming soon. In the software, which isn't available to the general Apple Watch-wearing public yet, it appears there's a toggle for "Add Newest Workouts to Watch" that should automatically initiate this new walking feature.

9to5Mac correlates Tian's tweets with its independent code investigation, suggesting "Time to Walk" is a part of a guided audio workout feature Apple has been working on for a future Apple Watch update. The site reportedly found a tool labeled ‘WORKOUT_GUIDED_WALK’ in the beta source code.

The beta screenshot shows that the walking workouts can only be installed when an Apple Watch is connected to power and the companion iPhone is nearby, and are deleted when a session is complete. Since a sound element would eat up storage, it's possible this odd download-then-delete dance applies to audio guidance.

If 9to5Mac's hypothesis is correct, we could see guided audio workouts arrive for Apple Watch as soon as the subsequent watchOS and iOS update. Similar to the existing "Time to Stand" nudge, "Time to Walk" could be designed to encourage users walk on a daily basis. 

There's a chance guided audio workouts will be tied to Apple Fitness Plus, the company's proprietary workout class service that launched in December. Although Fitness Plus offers 10 different workout types, none are for the outdoors as all require a screen for following along with coaches, such as on an Apple TV, iPhone, or iPad. We could see that change with walking workouts.

Kate Kozuch is a senior writer at Tom’s Guide covering wearables, TVs and everything smart-home related. When she’s not in cyborg mode, you can find her on an exercise bike or channeling her inner celebrity chef. She and her robot army will rule the world one day, but until then, reach her at kate.kozuch@futurenet.com.