watchOS 8.5 brings bug fixes and security updates to Apple Watch

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A photo of a hand holding an Apple Watch Series 6 with a white Sports band


Apple has released the minor watchOS 8.5.1 software update which adds unknown bug fixes and security fixes to your Apple Watch.

A photo of a hand holding an Apple Watch Series 6 with a white Sports band
Image credit: Onur Binay / Unsplash

What’s new in watchOS 8.5.1?

According to the official watchOS 8.5.1 changelog, the update “includes security updates and bug fixes for your Apple Watch,” period. That’s it, nothing else is mentioned in release notes—watchOS 8.5.1 is just a maintenance update. The fact there isn’t even an entry about it in a support document listing major security updates for Apple software could be a good sign after all. It could mean that watchOS software doesn’t suffer from any major vulnerabilities for the time being.

How to install watchOS 8.5.1 on your Apple Watch

To install watchOS 8.5.1 on your Apple Watch, you must use the Software Update feature within the companion Watch app on your paired iPhone.

  • Open the Watch app on the iPhone that’s paired to your Apple Watch
  • In the Watch app, select the “My Watch” tab at the bottom
  • Choose “General” from the main list
  • Touch the “Software Update” option

If you see a message saying watchOS 8.5.1 is available, download it.

You may be asked to enter your iPhone passcode or Apple Watch passcode as part of the update process. The progress wheel will appear on your watch when the update is being installed. Your watch must be connected to its charger and have at least fifty percent battery for the update to complete.

Should you install watchOS 8.5.1?

Of course, with no new outward-facing user features, regular users may choose to skip this update. On the other hand, any update that makes your watch less buggy and more secure deserves installation. Obviously, do what you like. Other updates were released alongside watchOS 8.5.1 to address some of the real pain points.

With the HomePod software 15.4.1, for instance, Apple has an annoying issue where some HomeKit appliances for the connected home just wouldn’t respond to even the simplest Siri voice commands. As another example, iOS and iPadOS 15.4.1 fix the widely reported battery drain some people experienced after updating their iPhone to iOS 15.4. And the new macOS Monterey 12.3.1 update addresses problems with some Bluetooth controllers and external monitors for Mac owners.



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