Apple releases watchOS 8.5 with support for Apple TV purchase authorization, irregular heart rhythm notification fixes and more

watchOS 8 on Apple Watch feature

Apple today released watchOS 8.5, the fourth major update to the watchOS 8 operating system it launched in September. watchOS 8.5 comes two months after the launch of watchOS 8.4, which fixed the 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, needs to be on a charger, and needs to be within range of the iPhone.

The watchOS 8.5 emoji introduces support for 14 characters, including melting faces, biting lips, heart hands, bubbles, beans, slanted face, palm up, eggs, trolls, low battery, coral, lotus, and more. Some are included. This includes improvements to Apple’s irregular heart rhythm feature that notifies users when 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 EU digital COVID certificate format
  • Updates to irregular heart rhythm information designed to improve atrial fibrillation detection. Available in the United States, Chile, Hong Kong, South Africa and many other regions where this feature is available.
  • The audio cues in Fitness+ give you audio commentary of moves visually displayed during the workout.

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