watchOS 8.1 release candidate is now available to developers

Apple has released watchOS 8.1 release candidate for Apple Watch Series 3 and later. The software update features enhanced fall detection during workouts, COVID-19 vaccination card support in Wallet app, and SharePlay for Fitness+.

watchOS 8.1

What’s new in watchOS 8.1?

The new update contains just a few improvements which include enhanced fall detection during workouts, COVID-19 vaccination card support in Wallet, SharePlay for Fitness+, and a fix for Always On display.

watchOS 8.1 includes the following improvements and fixes for your Apple Watch:

  • Enhanced algorithms to detect falls during workouts and option to enable fall detection during workouts only (Apple Watch Series 4 and later)
  • COVID-19 vaccination card support allows you to present verifiable vaccination information from Apple Wallet
  • Fitness+ supports SharePlay to allow subscribers to invite up to 32 people to workout together through a FaceTime call using iPhone, iPad or Apple TV
  • Always On may not display the time accurately for some users when their wrist is down (Apple Watch Series 5 and later)

watchOS 8 was released with a number of new features including built-in apps and workouts:

  • Wallet
  • Home
  • Mindfulness
  • Sleeping respiratory rate
  • Fitness+
  • Portrait Watch Face and Photos app
  • Messages and Contacts apps
  • Find Items app
  • Redesigned Music app
  • Updated Weather app
  • Always-on support for more apps

Check out our detailed coverage of watchOS 8 features for more information.

Is your Apple Watch compatible with watchOS 8.1 RC?

watchOS 8.1 RC is compatible with the following Apple Watch models:

How to upgrade Apple Watch to watchOS 8.1 RC?

If you are not a developer or a tech-savvy user, it is not recommended that you install watchOS 8.1 release candidate on your Apple Watch. The final version will be out in just a few days, and there aren’t any must-have features in this update.

If you still want to go ahead, you can sign up to Apple Developer Center for $99/year and download the beta profile using Safari on your iPhone. This will allow you to download and install the release candidate on your Watch. Install the profile to your Apple Watch from Apple Developer Center’s downloads section. Once done, go to Settings > General > Software Update in the Watch app on your iPhone, and wait for watchOS 8.1 RC to show up. Place your Apple Watch on its charger, and start the upgrade process.

Apple will be releasing the final version of watchOS 8.1 on October 25, alongside iOS 15.1, iPadOS 15.1, macOS Monterey, and tvOS 15.1.

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