watchOS 8.1 update brings Fall Detection, COVID-19 vaccination card support, and more

Apple has been testing the watchOS 8.1 since the third-week of September. After testing various things through multiple beta builds, today, the Cupertino tech giant has finally released a new update for Apple Watch. Yes, the watchOS 8.1 is available to the public. And the latest patch comes with a couple of new features including the Fall Detection with select Apple Watch models support, COVID-19 vaccination card support, along with some enhancements. Here you can check everything about the watchOS 8.1 update.

Apple plants the first incremental update – watchOS 8.1 on Apple Watch with 19R570 build number over the watchOS 8 or the smaller watchOS 8.0.1. The new build weighs around 350MB in size for downloading. As always, the update is available to the Apple Watch series 3 and the latest models. But this time, there’s one feature not available for all models.

watchOS 8.1 comes with the new Fall Detection feature, but the feature is limited to Apple Watch Series 4 and newer models. Apart from that, the update also brings COVID-19 vaccination card support, so you can store the vaccination certificate in the Apple Wallet. Fitness+ now supports SharePlay to invite up to 32 people for workout through FaceTime call. The update also brings a fix to Always on incorrect timing issue.

Apart from all afore-listed features, the watchOS 8 also has features such as Portrait Mode Watch face, Focus Mode, Breathe app, sleeping respiratory rate in Sleep, Fall detection for workouts, assistive touch, GIF support, and more. Here’s the complete changelog of watchOS 8.1 stable update, which you can check before updating your watch.

watchOS 8.1 Update – Changelog

  • 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)

Download watchOS 8.1 update

iPhone users running on iOS 15.1 can easily sideload the latest watchOS 8.1 update on their Apple Watch. The update is available to Apple Watch series 3 or newer models. You can follow the below steps to update your Apple Watch to the newest build.

Note: You’ll not lose any data if you update your Apple Watch through the airborne update (aka OTA).

Prerequisites:

  • Make sure that your Apple Watch is charged to at least 50% and connected to the charger.
  • Make sure that your iPhone is connected to Wi-Fi.
  • Make sure that your iPhone is running on iOS 15.1

How to install watchOS 8.1 Update on Apple Watch

  1. At first, open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap on My Watch.
  3. Then click on General > Software Update > Download and Install.
  4. Enter the password for confirmation.
  5. Tap on Agree to the terms and conditions.
  6. Once done, tap on install.
  7. That’s it.

That’s it. Now you can start using your Apple Watch running on watchOS 8.1 update.

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Haneet Singh

Haneet is the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of YTECHB. He has a huge passion for tinkering with latest smartphones, wearables, smart home devices, smart TVs, and more. As an avid Apple Ecosystem user, he loves customizing his iPhone and iPad to suit his needs. For tips, you can connect Haneet at haneetsingh@outlook.com In 2019, Haneet and the YTECHB team exclusively shared the wallpapers of iPhone 11 right before the launch event. In 2020, Haneet alongside his team members shared exclusive renders and official photos of two Samsung Galaxy smartphones - the Galaxy M11, and Galaxy M21. Later, the YTECHB team leaks information about Motorola's feature phones and Razr 3. In the last few months, our team shared Galaxy S24 Ultra leaks and more. You may come across his work getting mentioned in The Times of India, India Today, Hindustan Times, NDTV, TechRadar, Digital Trends, Yahoo News, GSMArena, Android Authority, Android Central, Android Headlines, SamMobile, XDA, 9to5Google, and many other publications. He works across news, updates, features, guides, and more. If YTECHB writes about it, you can expect him to be involved in some way.

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