Apple Releases watchOS 8.5 With Support for Apple TV Purchase Authorization, Irregular Heart Rhythm Notification Improvements and More

Apple today released watchOS 8.5, the fourth major update to the watchOS 8 operating system that launched in September. watchOS 8.5 comes two months after the launch of watchOS 8.4, which fixed a charging bug.

watchOS 8 on Apple Watch feature
‌‌watchOS ‌8.5 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.

watchOS 8.5 introduces support for Emoji 14 characters, with new additions including melting face, biting lip, heart hands, bubbles, beans, face with diagonal mouth, palm up hand, eggs, troll, low battery, coral, lotus, and more, plus it includes improvements to Apple's irregular heart rhythm feature that notifies users if atrial fibrillation is detected. Apple's full release notes for the update are below.

watchOS 8.5 includes new features, improvements, and bug fixes, including:

  • Ability to authorize Apple TV purchases and subscriptions
  • COVID-19 vaccination cards in Apple Wallet now support the EU Digital COVID Certificate format
  • Updates to irregular heart rhythm notifications designed to improve atrial fibrillation identification. Available in the United States, Chile, Hong Kong, South Africa, and many more regions where the feature is available.
  • Audio hints in Fitness+ provide you with audio commentary of visually demonstrated moves during workouts.

For more on all of the features in watchOS 8, we have a dedicated watchOS 8 roundup.

Related Roundup: watchOS 9

Top Rated Comments

expectdelay Avatar
10 months ago
That irregular heart rhythm notification is a great feature, and I love that they are updating it. It was very helpful to me. Love any health related updates.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Robert.Walter Avatar
10 months ago

PSA: This is the first Watch OS update that requires newer than iOS 15.1.1. :)
My mom just tried to update her watch and it told her that she had to update her phone first (both watch and phone are on the latest, not today’s, last revision. )
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mapsdotapp Avatar
10 months ago
nice quality of life improvement: inputting your passcode immediately unlocks the watch instead of having to tap OK to submit it.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Toratek Avatar
10 months ago
My iPad Pro, iPhone13 Pro, MacBook Pro, and both my Apple Watches (7 & 6) updated in a grand total of 20 minutes. This was a very smooth update.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CarlJ Avatar
10 months ago

It’s taking 2 hours to download …..is it normal??????
Any chance it's trying to download over a different connection (either cellular or WiFi, vs. using bluetooth from the iPhone)?

I just updated my watch (Series 5) and it took less than 5 minutes for the whole process.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
london_apple Avatar
10 months ago
2 hours to download… still waiting. Why is it always the Watch that takes forever to update? Literally every other product downloads an update faster for me lol
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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