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Apple Watch can finally track your sleep automatically, with watchOS 11 (Update: Maybe not)

Now you can count the Zs you hadn't penciled into your schedule without a sleep focus mode.

Published onJune 12, 2024

An Apple Watch SE 2 rests on a white surface displaying a user's sleep stages.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority
  • Apple’s latest watchOS brings automatic sleep tracking to users’ wrists.
  • Thanks to the update, users no longer need to be in sleep focus to track key overnight metrics or naps.
  • This is just one of many upgrades to the ecosystem’s health tracking suite, including a new Vitals app.

Update, June 13, 2024 (06:50 AM ET): There’s a chance that this functionality is unintentional and unrelated to the watchOS 11 update. We haven’t been able to verify this behavior on our Apple Watch Series 9 running watchOS 11 beta 1.

Original article, June 12, 2024 (11:13 PM ET): Sleep is one of the most popular health metrics eagerly tracked by smartwatch users, and for some time, Apple Watches have been frustratingly behind the ball. Specifically, the devices would not track sleep unless utilizing Apple’s Sleep Focus mode. Now however, watchOS 11 makes it possible for users to automatically track sleep regardless of what mode their device is in.

Update: Can confirm, does auto track naps
— Max Weinbach (@MaxWinebach) June 11, 2024

The small but significant change was first spotted by Max Weinbach, who tweeted about the automatic sleep tracking capabilities. He later confirmed that the watch will automatically record naps in addition to overnight rest. This means if you crash out before your prescribed sleep schedule or oversleep your intended wake-up, the watch will continue to collect your stats undeterred. It also allows users who prefer not to use focus modes to still track their sleep. Of course, if you want to utilize the do-not-disturb features of Sleep Focus, we recommend continuing to set up a sleep schedule.

This is far from the only health-tracking improvement users will find via watchOS 11. The all-new Vitals app, announced at WWDC 2024, will provide a closer look into a variety of crucial metrics, including temperature, respiratory rate, heart rate, and, yes, sleep tracking. Activity rings can also be customized to accommodate days off, suggesting an overall emphasis on adequate rest and recovery.

Though a beta version of the update is available now, a stable watchOS 11 build will officially roll out this fall, most likely in September, with a new generation of devices.

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