watchOS 6.1 Brings the Latest Software to Aging Apple Watches

watchOS 6 Credit: Angela Lang/CNET
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Apple today launched watchOS 6.1, the first major update to watchOS 6 since the wearable operating system was released back in September.

The update appears to be a fairly minor one. During the beta testing cycle, no one spotted any significant user-facing features. And in Apple’s release notes today, the company notes that watchOS 6.1 introduces support for AirPods Pro. On the other hand, Apple also says that watchOS 6.1 introduces “improvements and bug fixes.”

Although the changes may be primarily under-the-hood, there’s a good chance that it addresses some of the bigger issues that users may be running into.

Because of that, it’s a recommended update even if Apple’s release notes don’t specify which exact bugs it patches.

It’s also worth noting that watchOS 6.1 also brings the watchOS 6 update to older Apple Watch models for the first time.

When it launched, watchOS 6 was only available for Apple Watch Series 3 and later — but Apple promised that it would eventually become available for earlier Apple Watch models.

watchOS 6.1 now brings the update to Apple Watch Series 1 and Apple Watch Series 2 devices.

  • You’ll need an iPhone capable of running iOS 13 to download and use watchOS 6.1.
  • For users with older iPhones stuck on an earlier version of iOS, Apple has introduced watchOS 5.3.3 — a minor update that tightens up security on the older watch operating system.
  • watchOS 6.1 should now be available for compatible Apple Watch models as a free over-the-air update.

To download it, your watch will need to be at least 50 percent charged, placed on a charger and in range of your iPhone. You can find it in the Watch app on your iPhone by going to General > Software Update.

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