WatchOS 4.1 brings Wi-Fi toggle, Apple Music, and Radio streaming
Update delivers a number of highly anticipated features to the new watches.
The Apple Watch Series 3 has been available since mid-September, but a couple of major features did not accompany the device at launch. Series 3 devices with LTE service will be able to stream content from Apple Music and Radio with this update, as well as content from the user’s iCloud Music Library. Previously, Apple Watch models could only sync selected playlists from iTunes for playback through connected wireless earbuds. Now, those with an LTE-supported device can use that data service or Wi-Fi to stream content no matter where they are (as long as the wireless connection is decent) and without the paired iPhone present. The update also brings a new Radio app that lets users stream radio stations like Beats1 and stations accessible via Apple Music subscriptions.
WatchOS 4.1 brings GymKit to the Series 3, allowing the device to connect to compatible exercise equipment to share data. This means users will be able to pair the Series 3 with a capable treadmill, elliptical, or other gym machine to display data like heart rate directly on the machine. Compatible gym equipment will also share data like distance with the Series 3 so it can capture more accurate in-gym workout data.
Equipment manufacturers have to build GymKit into their machines, so not every treadmill at your local gym will be ready to pair with a Series 3 yet. LifeFitness, Cybex, Matrix, and other manufacturers have promised to make GymKit-ready machines, but there’s no word on how many machines will be made initially or which gyms will get them.
The Wi-Fi toggle option is a new addition to the Control Center in watchOS 4.1, and it lets users manually disable Wi-Fi when you want to use LTE data instead of available Wi-Fi networks. This should help those who experienced the Wi-Fi connection problem that plagued the Series 3 when it was released: the device would attempt to connect to known Wi-Fi networks even when a user wanted to use LTE instead. Now, you can turn off the Wi-Fi connection completely, which will force the Series 3 to use LTE service when the paired iPhone isn’t within range or powered on.
WatchOS 4.1 also brings some small bug fixes concerning Stand alerts, heart rate notifications, haptic feedback, and charging issues for first-generation Watch users. To install watchOS 4.1, navigate to Software Update under the General settings category. Make sure your Apple Watch is connected to Wi-Fi, placed on its charger, and has at least 50 percent battery life before installing the update.