iOS 12.1 gets fourth beta, along with tvOS and watchOS


Now the public can try out the new betas, too.
iOS 12.1 beta 4 is just one of the pre-release versions Apple released to developers today, covering a range of devices.
Photo: Apple

Apple has settled into a steady pace of seeding to developers betas of its operating systems. Near the beginning of each week, expect updated pre-release versions of iOS 12.1, watchOS 5.1, and tvOS 12.1. Today is the fourth round.

These include some hotly-anticipated features, but leave Apple Watch Series 4 users up on the air.

Taking the new Apple Watch Series 4 on vacation [Review]


Mickey Mouse Disney Apple Watch Series 4
The Apple Watch Series 4 made a vacation to Disney World more convenient.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

In 2015, I purchased my wife a stainless steel Apple Watch (series 0) for her birthday. Since then, she’s used it to track hundreds of workouts, reply to thousands of texts, and triage countless notifications. She’s also told me nearly every day for the past year that she hates it and it never works right.

While that might be a bit of an exaggeration, she has a point. The original Apple Watch is slow and unresponsive. Plus, some features have become frustratingly unreliable (looking at you, Siri).

This year, we decided to upgrade her Apple Watch in time for our family vacation to Disney World. It was the perfect opportunity to test Apple’s magical wrist communicator at the most magical place on Earth.

No Apple Watch ECG app in watchOS 5.1 beta 3


Apple Watch ECG
watchOS 5.1 shows no sign of getting the Apple Watch ECG application so many people are waiting for.
Photo: Apple

There’s bad news for Apple Watch Series 4 users: the third beta of watchOS 5.1 is out and it still lacks an ECG application. The hardware to take an electrocardiogram is built into Apple’s latest wearable but the software is still MIA.

There’s also a new beta of tvOS 12.1 today, along with iOS 12.1 beta 3. The latest macOS 10.14.1 pre-release version came out yesterday.

GPS workout maps prove far more accurate on Apple Watch Series 4


We took Apple Watch Series 4 to the running track for the ultimate test of GPS accuracy
We took Apple Watch Series 4 to the running track for the ultimate test of GPS accuracy
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Apple Watch is pretty awesome at doing a lot of things. But mapping workouts isn’t one of them. At least, not until now. Back in 2016, I was pretty disappointed with the maps I got from my Apple Watch Series 2 (the first model that came with built-in GPS). When I tested it at my local running track, the maps it generated looked like random scribbles.

Fast-forward to today, and things look a whole lot better. Last week, I repeated that test with a shiny new Apple Watch Series 4 and got some very interesting results.

watchOS 5.0.1 kills Apple Watch charging bug


apple watch
Anyone running watch OS 5 should update to watchOS 5.0.1, as it fixes a serious potential problem.
Photo: Apple

Apple Watch just got a major operating system upgrade last week and there’s already a “bug fix” update.

Most of the issues watchOS 5.0.1 deals with seem fairly minor, but at least one of them is important enough to rush out this update.

How to use the Walkie-Talkie app on Apple Watch


What a lovely set of talkies walkie.
What a lovely set of talkies walkie.
Photo: Joe Haupt/Flickr CC

One of watchOS 5’s greatest features is the Walkie-Talkie app. If you know other Apple Watch owners, you can just talk into your wrist, like in a 1950s secret agent TV show, and chat to them. It’s way better than having to make a phone call, because the chat is pushed.

Imagine that you’re on vacation camping, or on a bike trip across country, or working in a large (but fairly quiet) job site. You can talk to people as if they are there next to you. And in one way, this is better than a real walkie-talkie: Because it doesn’t use radio, there’s no limit to distance. You can chat to people on the other end of town, or the other side of the world.

Let’s see how to use the Apple Watch Walkie-Talkie app.

Apple Watch fall detection might get you arrested


The Apple Watch Series 4 fall detection feature can distinguish between a fall, a trip and a slip.
If you're doing something illegal, you could take a fall for slipping up.
Photo: Apple

An Apple Watch Series 4 can detect if you’ve fallen and automatically call 911 to get your injuries tended to. Or get you arrested, depending on the circumstances.

That’s the warning of privacy watchdogs, who point out that 911 calls invite in more than just emergency medical personnel.

How to turn Apple Watch into a walkie-talkie


watchOS 5
watchOS 5 turns Apple Watch into a walkie-talkie
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

You don’t need to buy the new Apple Watch Series 4 to get one of this year’s coolest new features on it.

As part of the watchOS 5 update released earlier this week, Apple introduced a new Walkie-Talkie app that lets you chat back-and-forth with other Apple Watch owners. The Walkie-Walkie app works no matter the distance between you and your friend. And it’s so easy to use, it might become your favorite new way to communicate.

Apple’s new video shows exactly how to use it.

The first iOS 12.1 beta is already here


iOS 12
iOS 12 just got a new beta.
Photo: Apple

Apple is not wasting any time making improvements to the huge iOS 12 update that was just released to the public yesterday.

Developers received the first beta for iOS 12.1 this morning along with new betas for watchOS 5 and tvOS 12, bring a host of changes to the software update that already made iOS devices faster and more efficient.

Hands on with the hot new Apple Watch faces in watchOS 5


watchOS 5 Face
watchOS 5's animated faces bring new life to the Apple Watch
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

If you watched last week’s Apple Watch Series 4 unveiling and are dying for those new animated watch faces — but don’t want to buy a new watch — you’ll be happy to know that watchOS 5 brings the best of them to Apple Watch Series 1 and up.

They’re not quite as nice as what you’ll get with the new larger Series 4 watches coming Friday, but they’re still pretty great. Here’s a hands-on look at the new Apple Watch faces.