watchOS 8.5 released with COVID-19 vaccination cards and improved irregular rhythm notifications

Apple has released watchOS 8.5 for Apple Watch Series 3 and later models. The update features the ability to authorize Apple TV purchases, COVID-19 vaccination cards in the Wallet app, improved irregular rhythm notifications, and audio hints in Fitness+.

watchOS 8.5

What’s new in watchOS 8.5?

watchOS 8.5 features support for authorizing Apple TV purchases and subscriptions, as well as COVID-19 vaccination cards, which allow users to add test results, vaccination records, and recovery history to the Wallet app.

Irregular rhythm notifications have also been updated with improved detection for atrial fibrillation. The feature is available in select countries and users can check if they have the latest one by going to Health app > Browse > Heart > Irregular Rhythm Notifications > Options > About.

Here are the complete release notes from Apple for this update:

watchOS 8.5 includes new features, improvements, and bug fixes, including:

  • Ability to authorize Apple TV purchases and subscriptions
  • COVID-19 vaccination cards in Apple Wallet now support the EU Digital COVID Certificate format
  • Updates to irregular rhythm notifications designed to improve atrial fibrillation identification. Available in the United States, Chile, Hong Kong, South Africa and many regions where the feature is available. To determine your version visit: https://support.apple.com/kb/HT213082
  • Audio hints in Fitness+ provide you with audio commentary of visually demonstrated moves during workouts

This software update also includes 22 security patches. You can find more details here.

Apple had previously released watchOS 8.3 as a major update, followed by minor updates that included security patches and bug fixes. watchOS 8.3 shipped with Apple Music Voice Plan, App Privacy Report, ECG support for China, and Assistive Touch support for older Apple Watch models.

watchOS 8.5 compatible Apple Watch models

watchOS 8.5 can be installed on the following Apple Watch models.

Install watchOS 8.5

In order to download and install watchOS 8.5, put your Apple Watch on its wireless charger and make sure that it has at least 50% battery. Open the Watch app on your iPhone and go to General > Software Update to download the new update. Make sure that you are connected to a stable Wi-Fi network, and your iPhone is in close proximity to your Apple Watch, during the update process.

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