Apple Releases macOS 10.15.1 and watchOS 6.1 with Apple Watch Series 1 and Series 2 Support

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Apple has today released macOS 10.15.1 and watchOS 6.1.

According to the release notes via 9to5Mac, watchOS 6.1 includes the following changes:

watchOS 6.1 introduces support for AirPods Pro and includes improvements and bug fixes. This update also brings watchOS 6 to Apple Watch Series 1 and Series 2.

The macOS Catalina 10.15.1 update includes updated and additional emoji, support for AirPods Pro, HomeKit Secure Video, HomeKit enabled routers, and new Siri privacy settings, as well as bug fixes and improvements.

The full release notes are:

  • Over 70 new or updated emoji, including animals, food, activities, new accessibility emoji, gender neutral emoji, and skin tones selection for couple emoji
  • Introduces support for AirPods Pro
  • HomeKit Secure Video enables you to privately capture, store, and view encrypted video from your security cameras and features people, animal, and vehicle detection
  • HomeKit enabled routers let you control how your HomeKit accessories communicate over the internet or in your home
  • Adds support for AirPlay 2-enabled speakers in scenes and automations
  • Privacy settings to control whether or not to help improve Siri and Dictation by allowing Apple to store audio of your Siri and Dictation interactions
  • Option to delete your Siri and Dictation history from Siri Settings

Our testing of macOS 10.15.1 suggests that Siri voices are more responsive when using them as the VoiceOver voice. In macOS 10.15, there appeared to be significant delays when using these voices, sometimes resulting in skipped or repeated speech and unreliable VoiceOver feedback.

In addition, it is now reportedly possible to access preferences windows for Mac Catalyst apps with VoiceOver.

Similar to the above fix in macOS 10.15.1, one possible improvement we found during our testing of watchOS 6.1 is that the option to use the Siri voice as the VoiceOver voice on the Series 4 or 5 Apple Watch is a little more reliable.

On watchOS 6.0 our experience was that VoiceOver would typically revert back spontaneously and very quickly to using its own voice, and that it would then prove extremely unlikely that you would be able to restore the watch back to using the Siri voice.

However, things appear to be slightly improved on watchOS 6.1, where our experience has been that VoiceOver is less likely to spontaneously revert back to using its own voice.

Unfortunately, the behavior becomes less reliable if you change the voice used by Siri. You may find that VoiceOver will mirror the change for the first one or two times that you change the Siri voice, but it's likely that after this it will revert back to using its own voice; at which point it seemingly becomes impossible to restore it to using a Siri voice.

Our recommendation for now, is that if you do manage to get VoiceOver to use a Siri voice, don't then change the voice used by Siri unless you need to. Our other recommendation is that you keep emailing Apple's Accessibility Team at accessibility@apple.com asking that they resolve this issue.

Please let us know in the comments if you too find use of the Siri voice to be more reliable on watchOS 6.1. And, of course, be sure to let us know of any additional changes, fixes or regressions that you find in either of these releases..

How to update

macOS 10.15.1 can be downloaded by going to System Preferences > Software Update.

watchOS 6.1 is available by going to the Watch app on your iPhone and navigating to General> Software Update. To install the update, your Watch must be connected to its charger and have at least 50% battery power.

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5 Comments

#1 Another Way to Update Watch OS

You can also download the Watch OS update directly to your watch by going to Settings>general>software update on the watch.

#2 Also for series 1 and 2

Hi.
I'm so glad that Watch OS 6 finally came to Series 1 and 2. I'm currently updating my watch series 2, and I look very much forward to check this out.

#3 siri voice has indeed improved

Hi,
I've just updated my Mac to the latest OS, and the siri voice has indeed improved. However, pitch change and responsiveness to capital letters is not up to speed as with other Mac voices. I'm sure it'll improve once more updates become available. it's almost their, but not quite.

#4 Siri

She works well in my Series 5 watch. I like it. She is much better than the voiceover Samantha. I had not check monogram to see if that bug was fix.

#5 So Far So Good

I just updated last evening. I'm currently using Aaron as my VO voice, and he has definitely improved as far as responsiveness. Haven't done much with this update as I went grocery shopping yesterday and just let my MBA do its thing while I was at the store. But things seem to be good thus far on my end.