Apple Releases watchOS 7.4 With iPhone Unlocking, Apple Fitness+ AirPlay 2 Support

Apple today released watchOS 7.4, the fourth major update to the watchOS 7 operating system that was released in September 2020. watchOS 7.4 comes three months after watchOS 7.3, an update that introduced a new watch face, a Time to Walk feature, and expanded ECG availability.

7
‌‌The watchOS 7.4 update‌‌ can be downloaded for free through the dedicated Apple Watch app on the iPhone by going to General > Software Update. To install the new software, the Apple Watch needs to have at least 50 percent battery, it needs to be placed on a charger, and it needs to be in range of the ‌‌‌‌‌‌‌iPhone‌‌‌‌‌‌‌.

Paired with iOS 14.5, watchOS 7.4 brings a new "Unlock with Apple Watch" feature that lets an ‌iPhone‌ with Face ID use an unlocked and authenticated Apple Watch as a secondary authentication measure when you're wearing a mask, alleviating the need to enter a passcode to unlock the ‌iPhone‌.

iphone apple watch unlock
Because Face ID does not work when wearing a mask, it can be a hassle to use an ‌iPhone‌ with a mask on. The new Apple Watch feature provides an easy but still secure way to access the ‌iPhone‌ without hassling with a passcode. It's almost identical to unlocking on Mac and can be enabled in the Settings app under Face ID & Passcode.

An unlocked Apple Watch paired with Face ID can unlock the ‌iPhone‌ when a mask is worn, but the entire face cannot be covered and the eyes still need to be visible. Apple Watch mask authentication can't be used for Apple Pay or App Store purchases, nor can it be used to unlock apps that require a Face ID scan. In these situations, the mask will need to be removed or a passcode/password will need to be used instead.

iphone apple watch unlock 2
When the Apple Watch unlocks the ‌iPhone‌, you'll feel a haptic tap on the wrist and will receive a notification on the watch to let you know when your ‌iPhone‌ has been unlocked, similar to how it works when using the watch to unlock a Mac. There is a proximity feature as well, to ensure that you must be near your ‌iPhone‌ for it to unlock with the Apple Watch.

For Apple Fitness+ users, the watchOS 7.4 update enables AirPlay 2 for Apple Fitness+, so workouts can be streamed to an ‌AirPlay‌ 2-enabled TV or set-top box. Apple Watch metrics do not show up on the screen when AirPlayed, however, and that feature is limited to ‌iPhone‌/iPad/Apple TV.

watchOS 7.4 introduces an option to choose a Bluetooth device type in settings to correctly identify audio notifications, and it introduces ECG support and irregular heart rhythm notifications in Australia and Vietnam. Apple's full release notes with additional features are listed below:

watchOS 7.4 includes new features, improvements, and bug fixes, including:

- Ability to unlock your ‌iPhone‌ X and later with Apple Watch when you attempt to use Face ID while wearing a face mask
- Option to classify Bluetooth device type in Settings for correct identification of headphones for audio notifications
- Ability to stream audio and video content from Apple Fitness+ workouts to ‌AirPlay‌ 2-enabled TVs and devices
- Support for the ECG app on Apple Watch Series 4 or later in Australia and Vietnam
- Support for irregular heart rhythm notifications in Australia and Vietnam

More information on the ‌watchOS 7‌ operating system that runs on modern Apple Watch models can be found in our watchOS 7 roundup.

Related Roundup: watchOS 7

Top Rated Comments

javanate Avatar
2 weeks ago
Time to wipe and reset my watch again :( Series 3 doesn't have room for updates
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheSkywalker77 Avatar
2 weeks ago

Time to wipe and reset my watch again :( Series 3 doesn't have room for updates
Beat me to the comment!!

It’s really sad how poorly the Series 3 has aged. If only I waited one more year to get a watch I would’ve gone with the SE.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
danny842003 Avatar
2 weeks ago
Got my series 4 on launch day, finally get to use the ECG.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
beermode Avatar
2 weeks ago
Annoying to have the Series 3. Perfectly stable and useful, only hampered during upgrade time. Like it's some sort of psy ops to see if I get annoyed into buying a newer model.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Killbill2 Avatar
2 weeks ago
Yay! ECG in Australia!

Attachment Image
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DinkThifferent Avatar
2 weeks ago

Beat me to the comment!!

It’s really sad how poorly the Series 3 has aged. If only I waited one more year to get a watch I would’ve gone with the SE.
And this update is even worse, now my Series 3 needs THREE gigabytes of free space instead of the 2,5GB of the previous update (that i skipped!).
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

tracking disabled ios 14 5

Analytics Suggest 96% of Users Leave App Tracking Disabled in iOS 14.5

Friday May 7, 2021 1:51 am PDT by
An early look at an ongoing analysis of Apple's App Tracking Transparency suggests that the vast majority of iPhone users are leaving app tracking disabled since the feature went live on April 26 with the release of iOS 14.5. According to the latest data from analytics firm Flurry, just 4% of iPhone users in the U.S. have actively chosen to opt into app tracking after updating their device...
tile amazon sidewalk integration

Tile to Leverage Amazon Echo and Ring Devices to Better Compete With AirTags

Friday May 7, 2021 2:07 pm PDT by
Amazon today announced that it is teaming up with Tile to add Amazon Sidewalk integration to Tile's Bluetooth trackers. Amazon Sidewalk, for those unfamiliar, is a network of Amazon Bluetooth devices that's designed to improve the connectivity of devices like the Ring and Amazon Echo. Tile will now be joining Amazon Sidewalk, and through this integration, Amazon Echo and Ring devices will be ...
Top Stories 59 Feature

Top Stories: Epic Games vs. Apple, Hidden AirTag Mode, Apple Music Hi-Fi, Colorful MacBook Air?

Saturday May 8, 2021 6:00 am PDT by
While we wait for the newly introduced iMac, iPad Pro, and Apple TV models to launch later this month, this week saw the kickoff of the big Epic Games v. Apple trial, with lots of juicy tidbits coming out as the two sides make their arguments. This week also saw some rumors about a Hi-Fi tier for Apple Music, more biometric sensing capabilities for Apple Watch, and timing for the...
airtag hacked

AirTag Successfully Hacked to Show Custom URL in Lost Mode

Monday May 10, 2021 1:52 am PDT by
The inevitable race to hack Apple's AirTag item tracker has reportedly been won by a German security researcher, who managed to break into the device's microcontroller and successfully modify its firmware. Yesss!!! After hours of trying (and bricking 2 AirTags) I managed to break into the microcontroller of the AirTag! 🥳🥳🥳/cc @colinoflynn @LennertWo pic.twitter.com/zGALc2S2Ph— stacksmashing ...
macbook colors 3d black bezels

Prosser: Next MacBook Air Could Come in Colors Similar to iMac

Friday May 7, 2021 6:55 am PDT by
According to Apple leaker Jon Prosser, Apple's upcoming release of the MacBook Air will feature various colors, similar to the colors in the newly released 24-inch iMac. In the latest video of his YouTube channel Front Page Tech, Prosser says the same source who accurately provided him information on the first Apple silicon iMac coming in colors has told him that he recently saw a prototype...
zoom app icon

Apple Gave Zoom Access to Special API to Use iPad Camera During Split View Multitasking

Sunday May 9, 2021 2:00 am PDT by
Zoom, a hallmark platform used by millions during the global health crisis, has been given access to a special iPadOS API that allows the app to use the iPad camera while the app is in use in Split View multitasking mode. This case of special treatment was first brought to attention by app developer Jeremy Provost, who, in a blog post, explains that Zoom uses a special API that allows the...
Apple 5G Modem Feature

Kuo: Apple-Designed 5G Modem May Debut in iPhones as Early as 2023

Sunday May 9, 2021 10:02 pm PDT by
Apple plans to adopt its own custom-designed 5G baseband chip starting with the 2023 iPhones, meaning it'll no longer need to rely on Qualcomm to supply the 5G cellular modem for the iPhone, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in an investors note obtained by MacRumors. According to Kuo, Apple plans to include its own custom-designed 5G baseband chip starting with the launch of the 2023...
3d printed airtag case siri remote

3D-Printed Case Lets You Attach an AirTag to Your Apple TV Remote

Monday May 10, 2021 8:11 am PDT by
Apple recently released a redesigned Siri Remote with a physical clickpad, but if you have an original Siri Remote laying around that you still plan on using, you may be interested in getting an AirTag case for the remote. Etsy user PrintSpiredDesigns has capitalized on the opportunity with a new 3D printed, made-to-order AirTag case for the original Siri Remote. The remote slides into the...
iPhone 13 Camera Backs

iPhone 13 Models Will Be Slightly Thicker and Will Have Larger Camera Bumps

Monday May 10, 2021 10:41 am PDT by
Apple's upcoming iPhone 13 models will be slightly thicker than the iPhone 12 models and will also feature larger, thicker camera bumps with lenses that protrude less, according to iPhone 13 schematics seen by MacRumors. The new iPhone 13 and 13 Pro models are expected to feature a thickness of 7.57mm, up from 7.4mm in the iPhone 12 models. That's an increase of 0.17mm, which won't be hugely ...
ifixit m1 macbook teardown

Leaked MacBook Schematics Have Aided Independent Technicians Performing Complicated Repairs

Monday May 10, 2021 8:51 am PDT by
Independent technicians have reportedly been able to use leaked MacBook schematics to aid repairs (via Vice). Last month, Apple supplier Quanta Computer was hit with an attack by the ransomware group known as "REvil," leading to a large quantity of internal Apple documents about both released and unreleased devices being exposed. The leaked PDFs, available on a number of forums and online...