Family Setup in watchOS 7, expand the capabilities to Apple Watch to the entire family by allowing kids and older family members of the household who do not have an iPhone to benefit from the connectivity, safety, and fitness feature of Apple Watch.
Apple Watch can be set up through a parent’s iPhone, so kids can connect with family and friends through phone calls and Messages, stay motivated with personalized Activity goals, and express their creativity through custom Memoji.
Family Setup makes it possible for the entire family to benefit from the important health and safety features of Apple Watch, like Emergency SOS, while Maps, Siri, Alarms, and the App Store provide greater independence without needing an iPhone.
Parents will have peace of mind knowing they can reach their child and identify their location, and that all personal data stays securely encrypted. With watchOS 7, the whole family can also take advantage of optimized features that enhance the overall Apple Watch experience.
“For family members who do not have an iPhone, Apple Watch offers a remarkable set of features that can help them keep in touch with loved ones, be more active, and stay safe,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer. “With Family Setup, we’re thrilled to extend these features to the entire family, so everyone can gain more independence and live a healthier life.”
With Family Setup, family members without iPhone can take advantage of the many features and apps on Apple Watch, from making and receiving phone and FaceTime audio calls, to sending and receiving messages and emails, and even connecting with other Apple Watch wearers over Walkie-Talkie.
The new Memoji app on Apple Watch allows users to customize a Memoji that can be shared while messaging friends or displayed as a watch face. Parents have the ability to approve all contacts, so kids can safely use the communication features of Apple Watch.
Kids and older family members of the household using Family Setup will have their own phone number through a separate cellular plan, and by using their own Apple ID, they can follow their schedule and family events using Calendar, learn to manage tasks with Reminders, view photo albums synced from a guardian’s iPhone, and more. With the new Apple Cash Family, parents can securely send their kids money to spend on their watch using Apple Pay. Parents can choose to receive notifications when their kids pay, and view their child’s purchases right in Wallet on their own iPhone.
Family members using Family Setup on Apple Watch can play their favorite songs on Apple Music through Bluetooth headphones and speakers, and ask Siri for answers to questions or language translations. With Maps, family members can learn to navigate safely and independently, whether heading to another family member’s house or to a park with friends.
A family member’s location can be shared with their guardian through the Find People app on Apple Watch, and location notifications are more customizable, allowing the guardian to receive an update on their family member’s location for one occasion, or on a recurring or time-based schedule.
The Activity rings experience has been optimized for kids to track Move minutes instead of calories burned and provide customizable goals for the Exercise and Stand rings. Outdoor Walk, Outdoor Run, and Outdoor Cycle workouts have been specifically tuned for kids, giving appropriate credit for Move minutes, exercise, distance, and other metrics, while coaching notifications are tailored to relevant reading levels and made more fun with emoji. Kids can also send and receive Activity Sharing invitations directly on Apple Watch, challenge friends with Activity Competitions, and see a new Awards page so milestones can be celebrated right on their wrist.
With Emergency SOS, family members using Family Setup can easily access emergency services using the side button, and guardians will be automatically notified if they are listed as an emergency contact. Kids can also reference their Medical ID, which documents critical information such as medical conditions, allergies, and medications. With permission, guardians can see a full view of their family member’s health and activity through the Health app on iPhone, and kids and older adults can view their shared information through Settings on their Apple Watch.
Family Setup brings a new mode called Schooltime, which will help ensure kids stay focused and attentive while learning at home or in the classroom. During Schooltime, a distinctive yellow circle is displayed on the watch face for teachers and parents to easily recognize, signifying that access to apps is restricted and Do Not Disturb is turned on. For convenience, parents can also set the schedule on their iPhone so Apple Watch automatically goes into Schooltime during certain hours, or turn it on from Control Center on the child’s watch. To support responsible usage of the device, the Downtime feature of Screen Time extends to Apple Watch, with the child receiving a reminder five minutes before it begins.
Kids can take advantage of communication and personalization capabilities, access Emergency SOS at any time, enjoy an Activity rings experience that has been optimized just for kids, and utilize a new mode called Schooltime, which can help kids stay focused and attention while learning at home, or in the classroom. watchOS 7 also offers optimized features for older adults, starting with a simplified onboarding and configuration process, along with a refreshed X-Large face that shows the time and a rich complication at a glance. Older adults can also get benefits from a new Health Checklist in the Health app on the iPhone, which offers the ability to track whether health features like fall detection have been enabled in one centralized view.