Apple has recently released watchOS 9.6.1. Bearing good news for compatible Apple Watch owners, the latest update fixes the battery drain issue.
Everyone should update to watchOS 9.6.1 for improved performance
The new watchOS 9.6.1 update has the following tech specs:
- Update Size: 114 MB on Apple Watch and 288.6 MB on the paired iPhone.
- Build number: watchOS 9.6.1 (20U80)
Although it is a small update, it patches a significant health bug and improves battery health. Release Notes of the watchOS 9.6.1 read:
This update includes a fix for an issue that prevents access to motion data for apps that use the Movement Disorder API to track tremors and symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease.
In 2018, Apple introduced Movement Disorder API for watchOS developers to create apps for patients with Parkinson’s disease. The API allows the smartwatch to detect symptoms of Parkinson’s which are quivering, and tremors indicated by shaking. It can also monitor a side-effect of treatments for Parkinson’s called Dyskinesia which triggers swaying motions and fidgeting.
A bug in watchOS 9.6 stopped the third-party apps from accessing data associated with Movement Disorder API.
Furthermore, the new watchOS 9.6.1 update also fixes the battery drain issue. Released in July, watchOS 9.6 included fixes for bugs and security exploits in various components like WebKit, Find My, Kernel, Apple Neural Engine, and libxpc. However, it contained a new bug.
After installing watchOS 9.6, users from around the world reported battery drain issues. According to users’ complaints, the batteries of Apple Watches running on watchOS 9.6 did not last from dawn to dusk on a full charge. Even Apple Watch Ultra users were impacted by the bug.
As I was also affected by the rapid battery drain issue on watchOS 9.6, I can say that battery life has improved in watchOS 9.6.1.
How to install watchOS 9.6.1?
Users running watchOS 9.6 on their Apple Watches can download the update on their devices through Settings app > General > Software update on watchOS and iOS.
They need to put their Apple Watch on charging and keep the paired iPhone near the smartwatch during installation.
It must be noted that the update is not available for users who upgraded to watchOS 10 Public Beta to fix the battery drain issue because they are already running a higher software version than watchOS 9.6.1.