Your Apple Watch just got a surprise new sleep feature in watchOS 11 — here’s what we know

Apple Watch Series 9 on wrist
(Image credit: Future)

It appears that watchOS 11 will include automatic nap detection, though there is some confusion about what this means.

Recently, an Apple Watch user trying the watchOS 11 beta posted on Reddit that their Apple Watch recorded their sleep data in the Health app when they took a nap, even though the watch hadn’t been put into sleep mode. This would mean that Apple Watches running watchOS 11 could support sleep tracking even when its dedicated Sleep Mode is turned off. However, the nap feature does not appear to track the different sleep stages like Sleep Mode can.

One of the features of the Apple Watch helps to track sleep habits through the Sleep app. The app makes it possible to create sleep schedules, which allows users to reach their sleep goals. All you have to do is wear your watch to bed and it will estimate the time you spend in each stage of sleep. However, the feature needs to be turned on to work, or at least did before watchOS 11.

Apple Watch sleep tracking a nap

(Image credit: Reddit user jahshua06)

Although the new nap feature wasn't mentioned during watchOS 11's WWDC presentation, Apple highlighted several new features that are part of the new software. Users can now pause their Activity rings, making it much easier to take a break without affecting your activity streak. There's also the addition of a new Vitals app that will allow users to view their heart rate, respiratory rate, skin temperature and more. 

While this new napping feature is certainly one that people have been looking forward to, it won't be offered to everyone. Apple recently announced that it was cutting support for three Apple Watch models: the Apple Watch Series 4, Apple Watch Series 5 and the original Apple Watch SE (2020). If you have one of these models you'll need to upgrade to a more recent Apple Watch model to use watchOS 11.. 

If you want a breakdown of all the announcements made during Apple's software-focused event last week, check out our WWDC recap. And if you're in the market for a new wearable, check out our best smartwatches guide. 

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Staff Writer

Josh is a staff writer for Tom's Guide and is based in the UK. He has worked for several publications but now works primarily on mobile phones. Outside of phones, he has a passion for video games, novels, and Warhammer.