watchOS 8

Wait is over for iOS 15.5, macOS 12.4 and watchOS 8.6

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iOS 15.5, macOS 12.4, iPadOS 15.5, watchOS 8.6 and tvOS 15.5: If you have an Apple computer, no matter the shape or size, there's a good chance it just got a software update.
If you have an Apple computer, no matter the shape or size, there's a good chance it just got a software update.
Photo: Szabo Viktor/Unsplash License

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 resumes beta testing upcoming iOS and macOS versions [Updated]

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Apple resumes beta testing upcoming iOS and macOS versions
Developers got their first look at macOS 12.4, iOS 15.5 and more on Tuesday. And the public could join in starting Wednesday.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

After a three-week hiatus, Apple seeded to developers beta versions of all its operating systems on Tuesday. That includes macOS Monterey 12.4, iOS 15.5 and more. On Wednesday, the public was also given the option to test these.

These pre-release versions for iPhone, Mac, iPad, Apple Watch, etc. first came out on the same day Apple announced the date for its WWDC Developers Conference. Beta testing for the five just-released OS versions is expected to end around the same time as the conference.

Charging problems return for Apple Watch Series 7 owners

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Twelve South HiRise Duet iPhone Apple Watch charging dock
Not again.
Photo: Lyle Kahney/Cult of Mac

Apple Watch Series 7 owners are suffering more charging problems just two months after earlier issues were eliminated. Some owners report that fast charging is broken after installing the latest watchOS 8.5 update.

Faster charging is one of Apple Watch Series 7’s biggest selling points. Top-ups are supposed to be around 33% quicker than on previous models — but only if you’re using the right charging accessories.

Apple Maps gets a major upgrade in Canada

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Apple Maps gets a major upgrade in Canada
Enjoy a more detailed city experience, with 3D buildings and landmarks.
Images: Apple

Apple Maps users in Canada can now enjoy a more detailed mapping experience, as well as enhanced navigation, in several big cities.

Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver are the latest to get Apple’s most recent Maps upgrades — which first debuted in London, Los Angeles, New York City, and the San Francisco Bay Area in iOS 15 last September.

iOS 15.4 lets you restore Apple Watch from iPhone for the first time

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You can now restore Apple Watch with iPhone
Only Apple could restore an Apple Watch until now.
Image: Apple

If you encounter firmware issues on Apple Watch, you can now wirelessly restore its software yourself using an iPhone — provided you’ve updated to iOS 15.4 and watchOS 8.5, which made their official debuts on Monday.

Is it the first time Cupertino has given Apple Watch owners this functionality. Until now, firmware issues often required users to take their device to Apple to be restored, since there is no way to connect the device to a Mac.

iOS 15.3.1 closes risky security hole and fixes Braille display bug

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iOS 15.3.1 closes risky security hole and fixes Braille display bug
Apple seems to think the security hole closed by iOS 15.3.1 is a serious one.
Photo: Lewis Wallace/Cult of Mac

Apple recommends iPhone and iPad users install a system software update released on Thursday. It removes a security hole on all web browsers, and also includes an accessibility fix.

There are also fresh updates for watchOS as well as macOS available.

watchOS 8.4.1 is out with Apple Watch bug fixes

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watchOS 8.4.1 is out with mystery Apple Watch bug fixes
Get some bugs out of your Apple Watch with the watchOS 8.4.1 update.
Photo: Cult of Mac/Brandon Phan /Pexels

Apple introduced watchOS 8.4.1 on Wednesday, and promised that it offer “bug fixes.” It didn’t reveal what these are, but Apple Watch users are hoping it takes care of a nasty problem with the Wallet app.

The update definitely includes no new features.

Apple’s latest updates break Wallet on Apple Watch, Bluetooth on Mac

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Driver's licenses and IDs in Apple Wallet
Syncing Wallet changes just isn't happening for some.
Image: Apple

Apple rolled out a new crop of software updates last week, and you probably (sadly) won’t be surprised to learn that they bring yet more bugs.

In addition to experiencing Wallet sync problems between iOS 15.3 and watchOS 8.4, early updaters also report Bluetooth issues in macOS 12.2 that cause battery drain on some MacBook models.

watchOS 8.4 squashes frustrating Apple Watch charging bug

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watchOS 8.4 squashes frustrating Apple Watch charging bug
Apple Watch users can return to happily charging with watchOS 8.4.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

Apple Watch wearers can now install watchOS 8.4. And many will want to do so soon because the new version removes an irritating bug that prevented some third-party chargers from working.

This is just one of a slew of system software updates from Apple on Wednesday, including macOS Monterey 12.2, iOS 15.3 and iPadOS 15.3.

Apple Watch’s frustrating charging bug finally gets a fix in watchOS 8.4

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Spigen-S350-Apple-Watch
Everyone will get the update soon.
Photo: Spigen

The watchOS 8.4 release candidate that rolled out to beta testers on Thursday eliminates an Apple Watch charging bug that first surfaced around a month ago.

The issue, which mostly affected Apple Watch Series 7, prevented devices from charging when using third-party accessories from a wide range of brands. But with the latest watchOS 8.4 update installed, everything is back to normal.

Release candidate shows iOS 15.3 will be just bug fixes

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Mac malware is real. Watch out.
Bug fixes aren't exciting, but they're necessary.
Graphic: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple seeded the iOS 15.3 release candidate to developers on Thursday, along with the iPadOS equivalent. Surprisingly, the updates appear to include nothing but bug fixes and security updates. There are no new features. Still, I t’s possible these will take care of a headline-making WebKit bug that leaks user information.

Release candidates for macOS Monterey 12.2, watchOS 8.4 and tvOS 15.3 are also out on Thursday.

Apple Watch owners face charging issues after updating to watchOS 8.3

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watchOS 7.3.1 squashes a bug inApple Watch’s Power Reserve feature.
Not again!
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Some Apple Watch owners are experiencing charging problems after installing Apple’s newest watchOS 8.3 update.

The bug mostly appears to affect Apple Watch Series 7 and third-party charging accessories from a range of brands. However, some users have reported similar problems with older Apple Watch models. There is a temporary fix if you need it.

iOS 15.2 brings new privacy features, Apple Music Voice Plan

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Apple tests Legacy Contacts to allow loved ones access your data after you pass on
Legacy Contacts are among the features debuting in iOS 15.2 and iPadOS 15.2.
Photo: Cult of Mac

iPhone users can now upgrade to iOS 15.2. The update adds a cheaper Apple Music option, plus there’s a new App Privacy Report, and parents will be alerted if their children send or receive nudes.

iPadOS 15.2 is also available with these same updates. And there’s overlap with the just-released watchOS 8.3 and macOS Monterey 12.1.

watchOS 8.3 brings gesture controls to older Apple Watch models

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Apple Watch AssistiveTouch gesture controls
Apple Watch Series 4 and Series 5 support on the way.
Photo: Apple

The new watchOS 8.3 release candidate, rolled out by Apple on Wednesday, brings AssistiveTouch gesture controls to older Apple Watch models.

The feature made its debut back in May, but could be used only on newer devices, like Apple Watch SE and Apple Watch Series 7. The release candidate expands support to Series 4 and Series 6 devices for the first time.

watchOS 8.1.1 removes charging bug on Apple Watch Series 7

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watchOS 8.1.1 removes charging bug on Apple Watch Series 7
watchOS 8.1.1 is out, but it might not be for you.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Apple Watch Series 7 wearers should install a small “bug fix” update that debuted on Thursday. If you don’t have that model, don’t waste time looking for the new version — watchOS 8.1.1 is apparently only for the recently released Series 7.

iOS 15.2 beta brings App Privacy Report to track activity of third-party apps

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Apple begins testing iOS 15.2 with new App Privacy Report
Developers can start testing iOS 15.2 beta 1, iPadOS 15.2 beta 1 and watchOS 8.3 beta 1 on Wednesday.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

iOS 15.2 beta 1 and iPadOS 15.2 beta 1 have been seeded to developers. When available to everyone, the updates will bring an App Privacy Report for tracking what third-party application are doing. It’ll show users, each app’s sensor, data and internet usage in a simple chart.

These beta releases come only two days after iOS 15.2 and the iPad equivalent were released to the general public.

iOS 15.1 with SharePlay moves a big step toward release

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Don’t install the iOS 15.1 beta if you plan to get an iPhone 13 ASAP
iOS 15.1 could be only a week away.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple seeded Release Candidates for iOS 15.1, iPadOS 15.1 to developers on Monday, adding the long-awaited SharePlay feature. The release candidates for watchOS 8.1 and tvOS 15.1 were also seeded. This means the beta testing process for all of these is almost over.

In addition, developers also got access to the macOS Monterey Release Candidate. Apple promised to introduce the final version to Mac users on October 25.

Apple Watch Series 7 owners report mysterious third-party app glitches

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Apple Watch 7 app glitches
There should be app icons in those empty spaces.
Photo: James Thomson

Users setting up brand-new Apple Watch Series 7 units today report a number of strange glitches with third-party apps. In addition to missing app icons, many see problems rendering complications, the tiny widgets that surface info from various apps on the watch face.

It seems the glitches may be related to the App Store. Apple has not yet publicly acknowledged the problem, and there is apparently nothing users can to do set things straight.

First iOS 15.1 beta resumes testing missing features

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First iOS 15.1 beta resumes testing of missing features
That didn’t take long.
Image: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple seeded the first beta of iOS 15.1 to developers on Tuesday, just a day after the general public got access to iOS 15. The company also gave devs access to the initial betas for iPadOS 15.1, watchOS 8.1 and tvOS 15.1. These are expected to include some of the features promised earlier but removed from the versions that debuted on Monday to give additional development time.

In addition, Apple released to macOS Monterey beta 7 to developers.

There’s plenty to enjoy in iOS 15, iPadOS 15 and watchOS 8 [Updated]

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There’s plenty to enjoy in iOS 15, iPadOS 15 and watchOS 8
iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch just got a heap of new features.
Photo: Apple

If you’ve been eagerly waiting for iOS 15, iPadOS 15 and watchOS 8 since June, then rejoice! Everyone can finally install them. iPad gets plenty of new features, while iPhone and Apple Watch get a handful of nice improvements.

Here are the cool enhancements you can look forward to, whether you jump on the updates Monday or decide to wait.

iOS 15, iPadOS 15 and watchOS 8 take giant step toward release [Updated]

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iOS 15, iPadOS 15 and watchOS 8 take giant step toward release
The OS upgrades for almost every Apple device are nearly ready. But an important one is missing.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

The moment we’ve been waiting for since June is almost here. Apple seeded Release Candidates for iOS 15, iPadOS 15, watchOS 8 and tvOS 15 to developers on Tuesday. This means the beta testing process is almost over.

The final versions will reach users in under a week. Apple promised the iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch updates will launch on Monday, September 20. And the Apple TV one could be out the same day.

Latest iOS 15 beta is stable enough to try, but hold off on macOS Monterey

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9 great features you might have overlooked in iOS 15, iPadOS 15 and macOS Monterey
Feeling brave? You can try the latest betas for iOS 15 or iPadOS 15. But stay away from testing macOS Monterey.
Graphic: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

It’s been a very weird summer for Apple’s beta program, with major changes happening months after the initial unveiling of the operating system upgrades. But iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 have finally reached the point where they’re stable enough for average users to try them out. The same goes for watchOS 8.

But that’s not true of macOS Monterey.

iOS 15, watchOS 8 let you install updates with less than 500MB of available storage

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iOS 15 brings welcome enhancements to FaceTime, Notifications, more
Great news for Apple Watch Series 3, in particular.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s newest iOS 15, iPadOS 15 and watchOS 8 betas, rolled out to registered developers on Wednesday, allow you to install software updates with less than 500MB of available storage.

The change means that devices with lower storage capacities — like Apple Watch Series 3, which has only 8GB — will now be a lot easier to update.

Apple explains how ID cards will work on Apple Watch in watchOS 8

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Virtual ID cards are coming to Apple Watch
You can leave your iPhone in your pocket.
Photo: Apple

Virtual ID cards are coming to Apple Wallet this fall, and you’ll be able to access them on your Apple Watch. In a new interview, two Cupertino executives explain how the feature will work in watchOS 8.

Deidre Caldbeck, director of Apple Watch marketing, said the update is another step toward replacing your physical wallet entirely. Kevin Lynch, Apple’s VP of technology, highlighted its convenience.