Apple released software upgrades for all its computers Monday. After finishing weeks of beta testing, macOS Monterey 12.4, iOS 15.5, iPadOS 15.5, watchOS 8.6 and tvOS 15.5 are available for anyone to download.
Many of them include an update to the Podcasts application to keep it from taking up too much storage space. And the webcam in the recently released Apple Studio Display will work better after a firmware update.
Apple software updates
While each of the new versions offers only tweaks to iPhone, Mac, iPad, Apple Watch or Apple TV, installing them nevertheless remains important. Apple patches security holes in its devices with operating system updates like these. And while you might not be interested in any of the new features in macOS Monterey 12.4 or iPadOS 15.5, you surely don’t want your computer hacked.
What’s new in iOS 15.5 and iPadOS 15.5
Apple’s official release notes state that, “iOS 15.5 includes enhancements to Apple Cash card, Apple Podcasts, and other features and bug fixes.” The notes also say:
- Wallet now enables Apple Cash customers to send and request money from their Apple Cash card
- Apple Podcasts includes a new setting to limit episodes stored on your iPhone and automatically delete older ones
- Fixes an issue where home automations, triggered by people arriving or leaving, may fail
iPad users are getting a subset of the update. The release notes say, “iPadOS 15.5 includes enhancements to Apple Podcasts and other features and bug fixes.” They go on to say, “Apple Podcasts includes a new setting to limit episodes stored on your iPad and automatically delete older ones.
What’s new in macOS Monterey 12.4
As noted, the biggest change in the macOS 12.4 is a fix for Studio Display’s disappointing webcam, which drew intense criticism when screen launched. This is separate as its own Studio Display Firmware 15.5 update.
The Mac version of the Podcasts application gets the same new setting as the iPhone and iPad versions do.
As the macOS 12.4 release notes put it:
- Apple Podcasts includes a new setting to limit episodes stored on your Mac and automatically delete older ones
- Support for Studio Display Firmware Update 15.5, available as a separate update, refines camera tuning, including improved noise reduction, contrast, and framing
What’s new in watchOS 8.6
The watchOS 8.6 changelog indicates that this version only expanded the ECG capabilities of Apple Watch Series 4 and new to users in Mexico:
- Support for the ECG app on Apple Watch Series 4 or later in Mexico
- Support for irregular heart rhythm notifications in Mexico
How to install macOS Monterey 12.4, iOS 15.5, iPadOS 15.5, watchOS 8.6
Anyone with a compatible Mac can download macOS Monterey 12.4 now. Go to Apple menu > About This Mac. Then click Software Update. Alternatively, you can install the new version from the App Store. (Note: At the time of this writing, Apple had not yet updated the version of macOS Monterey in the App Store. But it should happen soon.)
iPhone users can install iOS 15.5 or iPadOS 15.5 with an over-the-air update. That’s accomplished by opening the Settings app and going to General > Software Update. Alternatively, connect the device to a Mac, or to a PC running iTunes.
The watchOS 8.6 update can be installed directly onto and Apple Watch, as long as the wearable is connected to Wi-Fi. From the Settings app just navigate to General > Software Update. Alternatively, it can be installed from an iPhone by opening the Apple Watch app and going to My Watch > General > Software Update.