Apple has today released watchOS 8.1 and tvOS 15.1.
According to Apple's release notes, watchOS 8.1 includes the following improvements and bug fixes:
- 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)
Other than the annual major release, tvOS updates are typically minor in scale, focusing on under-the-hood bug fixes and performance improvements rather than outward-facing changes. We don't yet know the full extent of any changes in tvOS 15.1 release as Apple typically does not make release notes available for the Apple TV, but we do know that it brings support for SharePlay. We will update this post if anything else notable is reported.
At the time of posting, we are unaware of any fixes, enhancements or regressions for blind and low vision users in watchOS 8.1 or tvOS 15.1. To help us ensure that the information on this page is as complete and accurate as possible, please let us know in the comments of any fixes; enhancements; or regressions that you find in your own use of these releases.
Apple today also released a new 15.1 software update for the HomePod and the HomePod mini. According to MacRumors “the HomePod update introduces Lossless Audio and Dolby Atmos Spatial Audio to Apple's HomePods.”
Lossless Audio and Dolby Atmos can be enabled through the Home app. Open up Home Settings, tap on your profile, and then under Media, tap on Apple Music. From there, toggle on Lossless Audio and Dolby Atmos.
How to Update
watchOS 8.1 is available via Over-the-Air Update (Settings > General > Software Update) or 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.
More information on how to update the software on your Apple Watch is available on this Apple Support page.
To install tvOS 15.1 on Apple TV 4K or Apple TV HD, go to the Settings channel, then look for the System section near the bottom. From here, look for Software Updates under Maintenance, then select Update Software and Download and Install.
More information on how to update the software on your Apple TV is available on this Apple Support page.
By default, HomePod and HomePod mini automatically install new software updates, but you can manually check for updates in the Home app on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac. See this Apple support article for full instructions.