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While we await the much larger release of iOS 15.2, Apple has pushed out two minor updates to address some relatively small issues that users of its latest iPhone and Apple Watch devices may be experiencing.
A couple of days ago, Apple dropped iOS 15.1.1, a minor release exclusively for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 lineup, and now watchOS 8.1.1 is out specifically for the new Apple Watch Series 7.
What’s interesting is that both of these minor updates claim to address issues that we’ve heard very few reports of, which suggests that Apple is actually being more proactive than usual here.
The iOS 15.1.1 lists only one change in its release notes, which is to “improve call drop performance on iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 models.” Similarly, Apple says that watchOS 8.1.1 “fixes an issue where Apple Watch Series 7 may not charge as expected for some users.”
In fact, these updates are so device-specific that you won’t even be able to get them unless you’re running one of the affected models. They do not include any security updates or other changes that would be relevant for older devices.
This means that you don’t need to worry if you’re not seeing iOS 15.1.1 or watchOS 8.1.1 show up in your Software Updates unless you’re using one of the following devices:
- iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 mini
- iPhone 12 Pro or iPhone 12 Pro Max
- iPhone 13 or iPhone 13 mini
- iPhone 13 Pro or iPhone 13 Pro Max
- Apple Watch Series 7
For the iPhone 11 and older models, iOS 15.1 remains the latest version available, while those who haven’t upgraded to the latest Apple Watch Series 7 will similarly be remaining on watchOS 8.1.
We’ve seen a few reports of dropped calls, but it’s nowhere near as serious as we’ve seen in the past. Clearly, though, Apple has identified something in iOS 15.1 that may have contributed to these issues. So if you’re among those who have been frustrated by it, then it’s definitely worth taking a trip into Settings > General > Software Update and getting iOS 15.1.1.
The same applies to watchOS 8.1.1 for those having charging problems with an Apple Watch Series 7. Again, however, this issue doesn’t appear to be widespread from what we’ve seen online.
Since both of these updates have nothing else to offer, there’s no need to rush out and install them if you’re not having any concerns with dropped calls or charging on Apple’s newest devices. Further, these fixes will almost certainly be rolled into the bigger iOS 15.2 and watchOS 8.3 updates that are likely just around the corner.
The Mystery of watchOS 8.2
For reasons that we can only speculate, Apple seems to be skipping watchOS 8.2. The watchOS 8.1.1 update comes only two days after Apple released the third beta of watchOS 8.3, but that beta cycle actually began three weeks ago.
Usually, when Apple skips a point release like this, it’s because it’s earmarked for some other purpose. For example, last year’s iOS 14.2 betas skipped over iOS 14.1 as Apple was already prepping that for the iPhone 12.
This time around, however, it’s extremely unlikely that a new Apple Watch is waiting in the wings, making the absence of watchOS 8.2 downright mysterious — especially since watchOS 8.3 doesn’t really add much in the way of new features.
There’s a remote possibility that Apple could renumber watchOS 8.3 before its final release, but that seems unlikely considering that we’re already three betas in with the 8.3 version.
Apple could also just release watchOS 8.2 on its own, without a developer or public beta cycle. That would also be unusual, but not entirely unprecedented. There was a time when not every point release went out in beta, but that’s been very uncommon over the past few years.
However, there’s also almost nothing in watchOS 8.3 that would justify Apple holding it back until iOS 15.3 comes along — at least nothing we can see that would necessitate releasing it as a beta alongside iOS 15.2.
It’s unusual enough to make us wonder if Apple is up to something more behind the scenes. Still, unless we’re about to be completely blindsided with the release of a new Apple Watch SE in the next few weeks, it’s difficult to imagine what’s exactly is going on.