A nice little feature of watchOS 8 that has gone a bit under the radar is the new Voice Feedback option in watchOS 8. The toggle can be enabled in the Settings app on the Watch itself or through the companion Watch app on the iPhone; go to Settings -> Workout and look for the Voice Feedback toggle.
The new feature enables the Workout app to generate audible announcements that can be heard through AirPods, or other wireless headphones paired to the Watch. The announcements report workout progress, such as when crossing into the next mile during a run, or reaching the halfway point of a timed goal workout.
The feature is a simple but welcome addition. Rather than always having to look at the screen to get an update on their active workout, Apple Watch users running watchOS 8 can simply hear occasional checkpoints through their headphones.
The Voice Feedback seems to happen anytime the Workout app on Apple Watch would normally buzz the user’s wrist with a status alert shown on-screen. For instance, during a running or walking workout, the user gets a voice announcement every time they complete one mile of distance. Siri will say something like, “Mile two, pace 6 minute 30 seconds.”
You also get audible alerts when Activity Rings are closed during the workout, and when the workout goal (presuming you didn’t start an Open Workout) is met.
If you’re actively listening to something on the Watch while working out, the audio announcements simply duck over the music. The only real catch is that you have to have your headphones paired to the Watch while doing the Workout (at least as of beta 3). If your AirPods are playing music through your phone, the Watch Voice Feedback will simply not play.
Personally, I would like the option for the watch to just play the announcements over the Watch’s internal speaker. Nevertheless, it’s a really nice convenience for the very common case of Apple Watch users who work out while listening to music through their Watch.
watchOS 8 is currently in beta and will be released for everyone in the fall.