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watchOS 8 — this upgrade is a game changer for my Apple Watch

watchOS 8
(Image credit: Future)

While watchOS 8 is still in the beta stages, there’s one communication feature that’s making my Apple Watch 6 infinitely easier to use. 

Though the full version of the software won’t become available until the Apple Watch 7 debuts later this year, you can find me editing my messages on my wrist in the meantime. While some people might appreciate the new Mindfulness app or long-needed option to set multiple timers, I’m most excited by finally being able to fix a freaking typo.

I hadn’t realized just how much I’ve needed this feature until I had the chance to use it with the watchOS 8 beta the past few weeks. I’ve long relied on my Apple Watch to send messages, accepting the occasional frustrations that come with talking to text. While sometimes I lazily cast off texts littered with errors, I usually just end up rerecording and re-rerecording my message until my smartwatch gets right.

And as any regular Apple Watch user knows, depending on Scribble for sending messages simply isn’t an option. Still, when I wind up needing several attempts, I don’t end up saving much time using talk to text compared to clumsily drawing out words and punctuation.

watchOS 8: A much-needed Apple Watch messaging overhaul

Apple beefed up messaging features in watchOS 8. I not-so-secretly hoped we’d get a keyboard, but the refreshed software so far succeeds in making communication from my wrist less of a hassle. 

To edit a message in watchOS 8, all you need to do is rotate the Digital Crown to scroll through the message character by character.

I’m finally able to combine various composition types in watchOS 8, meaning I can use Scribble, emojis and dictation to form the same message. The new software will also let you send GIFs easily, if that’s your M.O. for self-expression. Me? I’m just happy I can send a lengthier text without recording it half a dozen times.

To edit a message in watchOS 8, all you need to do is rotate the Digital Crown to scroll through the message character by character. You can tap on a word to delete it or see a short list of suggested alternatives as well.

Since I’m prone to using unnecessary phrases like “like," especially when I’m distracted or in a rush, being able to delete single words has been a game-changer for me. It’s also less obvious to others when I’m texting from my phone versus speaking into my wrist when I’m messaging them. I'm not saying texting from an Apple Watch should be normalized; it just shouldn’t feel as crude as it has in the past. 

Better yet, this improvement to messages makes me more comfortable freeing my Apple Watch from my iPhone. With cellular support I could already take phone calls from my wrist, but now I can capably text from my smartwatch, too — less talk to text recordings needed. 

Kate Kozuch

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.