watchOS 7.4 is now available with ability to unlock iPhone while wearing a mask

Apple has released watchOS 7.4 with the ability to unlock an iPhone with Face ID while the user is wearing a mask, option to classify Bluetooth devices, support for streaming audio and video content from Apple Fitness+ workouts to AirPlay 2 devices, and ECG and irregular heart rhythm notifications support in Australia and Vietnam.

watchOS 7.4 release candidate

What’s new in watchOS 7.4?

The most important feature in this update is the ability to unlock iPhone X or later models using an Apple Watch, while wearing a mask. This feature works in tandem with iOS 14.5, and removes the need to take off your mask or entering a passcode just to unlock your iPhone. However, to use Face ID for App Store, Apple Pay, and third-party apps such as banking, users still have to enter a passcode or take off their mask to use authentication. While this is not as convenient as a fingerprint scanner in the current pandemic, it is still a step up from having to enter a passcode.

Other updates include the ability to classify Bluetooth device type in Settings, audio and video streaming from Apple Fitness+ workouts to AirPlay 2 enabled TVs or set-top boxes, and ECG and irregular heart rhythm support in Australia and Vietnam.

Here are the complete release notes from Apple:

watchOS 7.4 includes new features, improvements, and bug fixes, including:

  • Ability to unlock your iPhone X and later with Apple Watch when you attempt to use Face ID while wearing a face mask
  • Option to classify Bluetooth device type in Settings for correct identification of headphones for audio notifications
  • Ability to stream audio and video content from Apple Fitness+ workouts to AirPlay 2-enabled TVs and devices
  • Support for the ECG app on Apple Watch Series 4 or later in Australia and Vietnam
  • Support for irregular heart rhythm notifications in Australia and Vietnam

For information on the security content of Apple software updates, please visit this website: https://support.apple.com/HT201222

watchOS 7.4 compatible Apple Watch models

watchOS 7.4 is compatible with the following models:

How to upgrade to watchOS 7.4?

To upgrade to the latest watchOS 7.4 update, open the Watch app on your iPhone and go to Settings > General > Software Update. Make sure your Apple Watch has at least 50% battery charge and is placed on its charger throughout the update process.

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