Alongside “Peek Performance” event in March, is primarily focused on , , heart rhythm detection and ., which brought , anti-stalking features for AirTags and a gender-neutral Siri voice (plus a in the subsequent iOS 15.4.1 release), the company also released a software update for its Apple Watch. The software, which wasn’t highlighted during the company’s
Called WatchOS 8.5, the software is the fifth major update Apple has provided for free to Apple Watch owners.
When was the WatchOS 8.5 release date?
WatchOS 8.5 was released on Monday, March 14, alongside iOS 15.4 and iPadOS 15.4.
How do I download WatchOS 8.5?
You must download iOS 15.4 onto your phone before you can upgrade your Apple Watch. You can download iOS 15.4 by going to Settings > General > Software Update > Download and Install. Once that’s finished, the software will restart your phone. Then you can go to the Watch App > General > Software Update. Apple Watch updates are typically scheduled for the evening, when people tend to take them off for charging.
Heart rhythm detection improvements
One of the most popular features of the Apple Watch is its. There are many stories of the Apple Watch before they feel symptoms. Apple said with WatchOS 8.5, it improved software to detect atrial fibrillation, the , which can indicate major risks for stroke. The new detection software is available in the US, Chile, Hong Kong, South Africa and, Apple says, “many more regions where the feature is available.”
More Apple TV
Another popular feature of the Apple Watch is its ability to serve as a password device, authorizing sign-ins for apps like. Now, Apple says, WatchOS 8.5 users will be able to authorize purchases of TV episodes and movies through .
Better Apple Fitness Plus
Apple’s also bulking up its $10-per-month Apple Fitness Plus service with new features for users with disabilities. It’s already added health features to the Apple Watch like . Now Apple Fitness Plus will have optional audio commentary describing visually demonstrated moves in a workout.
COVID-19 vaccination cards in Europe
One tool that’s helped the world slowly adjust to life in the pandemic has been vaccine cards, which allow businesses to identify people who’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19 when entering an establishment. Over the past year, tech companies have gotten involved, offering easy ways to . The Apple Watch will now support a new format, called the , which has become an important part of travel in Europe.