Apple's watchOS 9.2 finally delivers Automatic Track Detection and Race Routes

There's also a hidden battery life improvement available on the Apple Watch UItra
Wareable apple watchos 9.2
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Apple has begun the rollout of watchOS 9.2, with the latest software update adding Automatic Track Detection and Race Routes to the wide collection of compatible smartwatches.

These are both features we knew were in the pipeline - we reported last month that Apple had begun to tease upcoming smartwatch features on individual product pages - but the arrival of the second major update to watchOS 9 has finally brought them to users' wrists. 

They're also relatively self-explanatory. Automatic Track Detection uses Apple Maps and GPS to pin down the exact lane of a running track you're using, and will kick in as soon as you arrive at any 400-meter outdoor track.

Lap alerts will be supported when using the feature, and, if for some reason it doesn't automatically kick in, you're able to add the track data later in the Fitness app.

Race Routes, on the other hand, allow runners, cyclists and wheelchair users to go head-to-head with previous efforts on typical outdoor routes. 

This feature pairing will be coming to all three of Apple's newest smartwatches - the SE 2, Series 8 and Ultra - as well as any other device compatible with the latest software.

Sneaky battery boost for Apple Watch Ultra

Hidden among the hubbub is also a new battery life claim by Apple in the support notes of the Ultra.

Though not dependent on watchOS 9.2, an apparent improvement to Low Power Mode means users can now expect up to 17 hours of tracked multisport activity (with GPS and LTE) when the battery saver is turned on.

It's not totally clear the extent of this improvement, given that the previous descriptions were worded a little differently, but it does appear significant.

Per 9to5Mac, Apple previously indicated that the Ultra was capable of delivering up to 12 hours of outdoor workout tracking with GPS or up to 10 hours of outdoor workout tracking with GPS / LTE.

Either way, it's good news for those who are trying to squeeze a bit more life out of the device.

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Conor Allison


Conor moved to Wareable Media Group in 2017, initially covering all the latest developments in smartwatches, fitness trackers, and VR. He made a name for himself writing about trying out translation earbuds on a first date and cycling with a wearable airbag, as well as covering the industry’s latest releases.

Following a stint as Reviews Editor at Pocket-lint, Conor returned to Wareable Media Group in 2022 as Editor-at-Large. Conor has become a wearables expert, and helps people get more from their wearable tech, via Wareable's considerable how-to-based guides. 

He has also contributed to British GQ, Wired, Metro, The Independent, and The Mirror. 

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