Last week, Apple officially released watchOS 4.3 to the general public, alongside iOS 11.3 and new updates to tvOS and macOS.
While iOS 11.3 is a fairly major release for iPhone and iPad devices, its watchOS 4.3 stablemate is much more incremental in nature. But while it doesn’t add anything groundbreaking, there are still several important and much-appreciated features included in the new update.
4 Smarter Siri Watch Face
The Siri watch face has gotten a bit smarter in watchOS 4.3, adding a new Activity feature. Basically, the Siri watch face now shows your daily Activity information in detail. Thus allowing users to see their Activity at a glance without needing to open the corresponding app or switching watch faces.
3 Proper iPhone Music Controls
WatchOS 4.3 reintroduces full-fledged iPhone music control to the Apple Watch — a feature that was removed in watchOS 4, to the disappointment of many owners.
Now, there’s an “On iPhone” section in the Apple Watch’s Music app where users can access their playlists, albums, songs and artists. In other words, you can now control music playing on your iPhone, rather than just on the Watch itself. Previously, when playing music on an iPhone, users only had the ability to skip tracks.
Additionally, watchOS 4.3 adds the ability to control volume and playback on a connected HomePod. Similarly, you can also stream music directly from a Watch to AirPods for the first time.
2 Nightstand Mode Improvement
Nightstand, the mode that pops up when an Apple Watch is being charged and placed on its side, has also gotten an incremental update in the newest update to the watchOS platform.
Previously, the Nightstand mode — which displays time, date and active alarms — only worked in a horizontal orientation. Now, the Apple Watch will detect its orientation and display Nightstand mode in Portrait if applicable.
It’s worth noting that this small addition would be of particular use to Apple Watch owners charging their devices on Apple’s upcoming AirPower charging mat.
1 Various Bug Fixes
As always, Apple continues to update its software platforms with minor improvements and bug fixes. watchOS 4.3 is no different, and it results in a relatively stable and bug-free software update.
watchOS 4.3 fixes an issue with Activity achievements being awarded to users incorrectly. It also squashes a bug that prevented Siri music commands from working when a Watch was connected to certain audio devices.
Additionally, some Apple Watch owners reported that their devices only displayed battery life in 5 percent increments in the watchOS 4.3 beta. The final update patches that, so battery life should now display accurately