Apple releases watchOS 9.1 with low power mode, Matter support, and more

Apple has released watchOS 9.1 for Apple Watch Series 4 and later. The update features a new Low Power Mode, the ability to download music when Watch is not on a charger or connected to Wi-Fi, and Matter support.

watchOS 9 was released last month with new watch faces, improvements to sleep tracking, AFib history, Medications, Focus updates, and more.

watchOS 9

watchOS 9.1

October 24 – Apple has released watchOS 9.1 for all compatible Watch models.

Here are the release notes from Apple:

This update includes improvements for your Apple Watch.

– Battery life extended during Outdoor Walking, Running, and Hiking Workouts with the ability to reduce the frequency of heart rate and GPS readings on Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch SE (2nd generation) and Apple Watch Ultra
– Music can download while Apple Watch is off charger using Wi-Fi or cellular
– Matter, the new smart home connectivity standard, is supported enabling a wide variety of smart home accessories to work together across ecosystems

This update also includes bug fixes for your Apple Watch.

watchOS 9.1 release candidate

October 18 – Apple has released watchOS 9.1 release candidate.

watchOS 9.1 beta 5

October 12 – Apple has released watchOS 9.1 beta 5 to developers.

watchOS 9.1 beta 4

October 5 – Apple has released watchOS 9.1 beta 4 to developers.

watchOS 9.1 beta 3

September 27 – Apple has released watchOS 9.1 beta 3 to developers.

watchOS 9.1 beta 2

September 20 – Apple has released the second beta to developers.

watchOS 9.1 beta 1

September 14 – Apple has released the first beta to developers. We will update this post if we find any new features.

Release Candidate

September 8 – Apple has seeded the first release candidate to developers.

Here are the release notes from Apple:

watchOS 9 brings great new ways to keep you active, healthy, and connected with Apple Watch. You have more ways to train and measure your workouts, a completely redesigned compass app, a new app to track your medications, more powerful sleep tracking with sleep stages, and better insights and support for your heart health if you have been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation.

Watch Faces
    •    Astronomy now displays current cloud coverage and star map
    •    Lunar includes a Chinese, Hebrew, or Islamic lunar calendar wrapped around a moon with a live rendering of moon phases
    •    Playtime includes animated numbers designed by Chicago artist Joi Fulton with editing options for background colors
    •    Metropolitan features a type-driven watch face with numbers that dynamically change in style and weight as you turn the Digital Crown
    •    Nike Analog, Nike Bounce, Nike Compact, Nike Digital, and Nike Hybrid, all with a tappable Nike Swoosh that launches Nike Run Club, are now available for more models of Apple Watch
    •    Rich Complications, Chinese script options, and background color editor available on Breathe, California, Modular, Typograph and more
    •    Portraits now supports portraits of dogs and cats and landscapes with the ability to customize the color of the background or entire photo
    •    Ability to choose the watch face displayed when a Focus is active

Workout
    •    Ability to customize and scroll through multiple Workout Views during a workout including Splits, Segments, Activity Rings, and more
    •    Heart Rate Zones view uses max and resting heart rate to create personalized zones and shows time spent in each zone
    •    Elevation view displays current elevation and elevation gain and visually maps your elevation progress during Outdoor Run, Outdoor Cycle, Outdoor Wheelchair Run Pace, Hiking, Outdoor Walk and Outdoor Wheelchair Walk Pace
    •    Running Power view, measured in watts, shows an instantaneous measure of how much power is generated during your run (Apple Watch SE and Apple Watch Series 6 and later)
    •    Running Form Metrics including Stride Length, Ground Contact Time, and Vertical Oscillation available in Workout Views to monitor and trend running efficiency (Apple Watch SE and Apple Watch Series 6 and later)
    •    Custom Workout enables you to create Workouts with repeating sets of intervals that can be based on a time, distance or an open goal with automatic or manual advancement to your next set
    •    Pacer provides a training experience to help you sustain a desired pace using alerts and a dedicated workout view
    •    Multisport Workout supports duathlon or triathlon training with automatic detection of Open Water/Pool Swim, Indoor/Outdoor Cycle, Indoor/Outdoor Run, and transitions to the next leg
    •    Workout alerts can be customized for metrics like pace, power, cadence, and heart rate zones
    •    Pool Swim workouts automatically detect kickboard
    •    SWOLF swimming efficiency metric calculated as stroke count plus time to complete lap

Fitness+
    •    Trainer guidance displayed on-screen including targets for Intensity, strokes per minute for Rowing, revolutions per minute for Cycling, and incline percentage for Treadmill
    •    Trainer guidance and personal fitness metrics displayed on-screen for compatible third party TVs and devices

Compass
    •    Redesigned compass app with more in-depth information and zoomable views (Apple Watch SE and Apple Watch Series 5 and later)
    •    Primary face supports both an analog compass dial and a digital view of current bearing and direction
    •    Zoomed view provides analog view of bearing plus your elevation, incline and coordinates
    •    Compass Waypoints allow you to mark your position or point of interest (Apple Watch SE and Apple Watch Series 6 and later)
    •    Backtrack uses GPS to track your historic path in case you get lost or disoriented (Apple Watch SE and Apple Watch Series 6 and later)

Sleep
    •    Sleep stage tracking using data from the accelerometer and heart rate sensor to detect time spent in REM, Core, and Deep sleep, as well as awake
    •    Comparisons chart provides a view of heart rate and respiratory rate alongside time asleep in the Health app on iPhone

Medications
    •    Capabilities to log as-needed and scheduled medications, including the amount and time taken
    •    Ability to view medication schedule and what you have logged for the day
    •    Reminders to log scheduled medications
    •    Medications complication to see your schedule or quickly open the app

AFib History
    •    Weekly notifications with estimate of the percentage of time spent in atrial fibrillation during previous calendar week
    •    Highlights show which day of week and time of day when AFib is highest
    •    Tracking of lifestyle factors that may influence time spent in AFib including Exercise, Sleep, Weight, Alcohol Consumption, and Mindful Minutes in the Health app on iPhone
    •    Sharable PDF for richer conversations with healthcare providers
    •    Support for users 22 years or older with diagnosis of atrial fibrillation

Family Setup
    •    Podcasts app is now available and includes ability to search, download, follow shows, and explore curated content
    •    Third party email support extended to Yahoo and Outlook
    •    Editing and sharing contact photos now available

Accessibility
    •    Expanded Quick Actions with AssistiveTouch for play and pause in Now Playing, pause and resume in Workout, take a photo using Camera Remote, and toggle between map view and turn-by-turn directions in Maps
    •    Bluetooth keyboard pairing with Apple Watch
    •    Apple Watch Mirroring lets you control Apple Watch remotely from your paired iPhone via AirPlay with support for assistive technologies like Voice Control or Switch Control as an alternative to tapping the Apple Watch display

Other features and improvements:
    •    Low Power Mode maintains core features of Apple Watch while temporarily disabling select background features such as always on display and heart health notifications to extend battery life
    •    Support for international roaming allows you to stay connected to your cellular network while traveling abroad (Apple Watch SE and Apple Watch Series 5 and later)
    •    Expanded keyboard languages including French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish available on Apple Watch Series 7 and later
    •    Communication safety setting in Screen Time gives parents the ability to enable warnings for children when they receive or attempt to send photos that contain nudity in Messages
    •    Cycle deviation notifications alert you if your logged menstrual cycles show a pattern of infrequent periods, irregular periods, prolonged periods, or persistent spotting
    •    New Cardio Recovery metric estimated by Apple Watch available in the Health app
    •    Reminders app updated to support editing so you can add key details like location, tags, and due times
    •    Calendar app redesigned to support creation of new calendar events with ability to switch to day, list, and week views
    •    Enhanced Podcast experience with support for search, ability to follow and unfollow shows, and discover new content in Listen Now
    •    Dock updated to show apps running in background at the top
    •    Notifications redesigned with streamlined slimline banner when actively using Apple Watch

Some features may not be available for all countries or all areas, for more information visit:
https://www.apple.com/watchos/feature-availability/

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

Developer Beta 7

August 23 – Apple has released watchOS 9 beta 7 to developers.

Public Beta 4

August 16 – Apple has released the fourth public beta for watchOS 9.

Developer Beta 6

August 15 – Apple has released watchOS 9 beta 6 to developers.

Public Beta 3

August 9 – Apple has released the third public beta for watchOS 9.

Developer Beta 5

August 8 – Apple has released watchOS 9 beta 5 to developers.

Public Beta 2

July 29 – Apple has released the second public beta for watchOS 9.

Developer Beta 4

July 29 – Apple has released watchOS 9 beta 4 to developers.

Public Beta 1

July 11 – Apple has released watchOS 9 public beta to testers. This is the first-ever public beta for watchOS as previously beta software updates for Apple Watch had only been available to developers.

To install this public beta, your paired iPhone must be on iOS 16 public beta. You would also need to download the watchOS 9 beta profile from Apple Beta Software Program website.

Developer Beta 3

July 6 – Apple has released watchOS 9 beta 3 to developers.

Developer Beta 2

June 22 – Apple has released watchOS 9 beta 2 to developers.

As per Apple’s release notes, there are some of the new features available in this update:

  • HealthKit workout APIs now support multisport workouts with activities of swimming, cycling, and running.
  • New data types for running workout metrics like running power, ground contact time, vertical oscillation, running speed, and stride length.

Developer Beta 1

June 6 – Apple has released beta 1 to developers. The first public beta will be released next month.

Apple has shared a detailed list of features and changes in release notes. For a high-level overview of these updates, check out our coverage of watchOS 9 features.

It is important to note that there are a number of known issues in the first developer beta, so test it with caution.

Compatibility

watchOS 9 is compatible with the following Apple Watch models:

Apple has finally dropped support for Apple Watch Series 3 with this update, even though the watch is still available for sale.

Installation

It is not recommended that you install a beta on an Apple Watch as restoring it is not straightforward. Even though Apple recently added functionality that allows users to restore Apple Watch, it is still a risk that should be avoided as much as possible.

watchOS 9 is available for download by installing a beta profile from Apple Developer Center. The membership to Apple Developer Center costs $99 per year, but users can also find the beta profiles on other websites for free. Once the beta profile is downloaded to the Apple Watch via a connected iPhone, go to the Watch app on the iPhone and navigate to General > Software Update.

Make sure to place your Apple Watch on its charger and that it has at least 50% battery charge, before starting the update process. Wait for the new beta update to appear in Watch > General > Software Update and start the download and installation process.

Alternatively, you can also wait for the watchOS 9 public beta, which will be released next month. It will be relatively more stable than the first developer beta, which is usually the buggiest out of all beta releases.

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