watchOS 8.1 Features, Improvements, Bugs And Fixes
Last updated on October 30th, 2021 at 08:13 pmPosted in News by Mike on October 25, 2021
Apple has released watchOS 8.1 (build 19R570) alongside iOS 15.1, iPadOS 15.1 and macOS Monterey. This update includes improvements and bug fixes and is available for all compatible Apple Watches.
watchOS 8.1 Download
This update is available over-the-air and can be downloaded and installed via the Watch app from the paired iPhone:
- In the My Watch tab, tap on General -> Software Update.
- Tap Download and Install, after reviewing the release notes.
- Be patient until the update is requested, downloaded and prepared for update.
- To Install watchOS 8.1 you need the Apple Watch on its charger, in range of the iPhone and connected to Wi-Fi.
Fact: the watchOS 8.1 update file is 340 MB for the Apple Watch Series 6. Size might vary depending on model and OS version that you’re updating from.
watchOS 8.1 Features
Apple mentions two new features and one improvement in the update log:
- Wallet is now able to stored your COVID-19 vaccination card and present the proof direct from your watch.
- Fitness+ is now SharePlay compatible. Subscribers can invite up to 32 people to workout together through a FaceTime call. This works together with an iPhone, iPad or Apple TV.
- Fall Detection gets enhanced algorithms that are able to detect falls during workouts. The feature can now be enabled on Apple Watch Series 4 and later.
watchOS 8.1 Release Notes
Check the screenshots uploaded nearby to read the full release notes.
Fact: For the security content of this update you can tap here (official Apple page).
watchOS 8.1 Bugs
Apple mentions a single bug fix in the update log. However, sometimes more patches are done silently. If you notice a fix that’s not listed here don’t hesitate to inform us via the comments section.
- Always On time bug – This is one of the most annoying watchOS 8 issues. Apple Watch time won’t update when the wrist is down. Time can jump even tens of minutes when user raises its wrist after a longer break.
- To be updated!
Other known watchOS 8 issues that haven’t been reported as fix in the release notes are:
- Music controls not working on Apple Watch. (Status: -)
- Activity Rings disappearing from Watch Face.
- Dismiss button not working properly when trying to close a Messages notification.
Issues surfacing in watchOS 8.1 are listed below:
Apple Watch screen not turning On when raising wrist after updating to watchOS 8.1
Credits: Rui F. O.
Apple Watch distance calculation issues during workout. Watch reports about 25% less distance for the same route covered.
Credits: David B.
- To be updated! (Waiting for your feedback.)
Have you updated Apple Watch to watchOS 8.1? Did you encounter any problems? What’s your feedback? Use the comments section and share your thoughts.
Related: Apple has also released tvOS 15.1 and HomePod 15.1 for compatible Apple TV and HomePod speakers!
Com esta actualização, o meu apple watch “SE”, deixou de ligar o ecrão quando levanto o pulso.
Translated from Portuguese: “With this update, my apple watch “SE” stopped turning on the screen when I lift my wrist.”
Thanks for reporting. First check the Control Center: Theater Mode should be disabled!
Then try to force restart Apple Watch. Does this help?
After the upgrade I can’t open the watch with my wrist.
Thanks for the report. You might the screen doesn’t turn On when you raise your wrist? What Apple Watch model are you owning?
Some of my contour watch faces have changed with the 8.1 update – Eg. On the starlight colour, the numbers are now a darker colour instead of being white.
And the same with a few other colours..
Has anyone else experienced this? Not sure if it’s a bug or if it was intentional.
Thanks for the feedback Sarah. What about the notifications dot, is it still off-centered in Contour?
Yes it is..
Everything seems fine it’s just that the colour of the numbers has changed.. and honestly I’m not a fan lol.
I was just wondering if it happened to anyone else, or if it was just a bug?
Still have time update bug ! Already hard reset many times… Apple Watch 6
Thanks for reporting. This is strange. Time not updating in Always On mode has been fixed for us in watchOS 8.1 and we haven’t got any similar reports since, excepting your case. Have you tried to unpair the Apple Watch and re-pair it to your iPhone? Does it help?
Sadly I should confirm that the bug is still present. Analog watch faces update time only when wake up. Tested with California and Meridian. Digital faces works.
After installing watch 8.1 on my Series 3 model, the calibration in the workout app has changed considerably. This never happened in any previous software updates. I’ve walked the same route dozens of times over the past two years, and the distance shown on my watch was always within a narrow band. Now after updating to 8.1, the distance shown is 25% less.
Thanks for reporting this David. We will test it out too. Anyone else experiencing the same?
Before I did the update I was able to voice my text message in messaging without hitting the microphone. Did that change where you always hav to hit the microphone to speak a message! If that’s a change then I think you went backwards not forward and easier for people. It’s another step that has to be taken.
After installing 8.1, the voice to text icon disappeared?
Please go back like was previously
You’re talking about the voice dictation command to input text?
Series 3 Watch: After updating to 8.1 I no longer have emojis as quick replies to texts. Used to always do 1-click replies when driving, now I have to start a new message, choose emoji, then hit send. This is no longer a viable way to reply while driving.
Thanks for reporting this. Will check this out and let you know.
After installing 8.1 I can not dictate to TEXT.
Can you mention Apple Watch model please? I tried to replicate this. Opened Messages on Apple Watch Series 6. Tapped on the text input field. Went for microphone icon and dictated text without any problem.
Please provide more details to help me replicate the issue. Thanks.
Super annoying that you now have to go into messages and then into the text box, then find the mic button. It was much quicker and easier to use before. I text a lot by dictation. Is there a way to go back to the last version of watchOS?
Agreed. You mean back to watchOS 8.0.1 or back to watchOS 7.6.2?
Just updated Apple Watch 6 to OS 8.1. Timer now has custom times before default presents, previously it displayed the presets before the custom timers, which is what I use primarily. Cannot delete custom timers and I now have 4, so have to scroll past them to set a default timer. Frustrating because I usually have my hands full when I’m setting a timer and am trying to set the timer using my knuckle on my pinky finger. I don’t see anyway to rearrange the display.
Thanks for the feedback Mary. Unfortunately, I can’t find a way to change the layout of the Timer app.
Cycling workouts are not automatically detected by AW 5!
Thanks for reporting Daron. Unfortunately, this watchOS 8 feature isn’t available on the Series 5. You can read more about this over here: https://www.iphonetricks.org/apple-watch-cycling-detection-not-working/
After this update when I look at my watch after an alert it doesn’t show me anything but a black screen. Any other time it works ok, only when I receive a message, email, score update, basically something I get alerted to look at my watch for. Just a black screen. I have the series 3 Nike edition. Please help us fix this bugggg!
Thanks for reporting this Nick. You mean that every time when you get a notification, and raise a wrist to check it out you get a black screen?
If you click the Digital Crown does the app bundle come up and you can use the Watch normally?
After the watchOS 8.1 update the Activity rings are dimmed on the watch and iPhone 11 (iOS 15). Never happened before, this is very annoying. If Activity rings are supposed to be used daily, then no interruption can be tolerated. Can you fix this bug Apple?
Thanks for reporting this. You mean the Activity rings on the Watch Face? Have you read this article? https://www.iphonetricks.org/apple-watch-activity-rings-disappeared/
After the 8.1 update my messages don’t mirror with my phone. I’ll check my message on my phone but they are still unread on my watch. Very annoying!
Thanks for the feedback Johnny. This was reported in the first release version of iOS 15 and watchOS 8. We covered it here: https://www.iphonetricks.org/messages-read-status-not-syncing-between-devices/
Does it help?
I’m seeing dots instead of numbers on GMT Watch Face! Is this a known issue?
Thanks for sharing this Oliver. We could replicate it too. Apparently it’s caused by the Bold Text option. It glitches out when enabled. We’ve posted about it over here: https://www.iphonetricks.org/apple-watch-dots-on-watch-face-dial-fix/
After the 8.1 update to watch my when I view texts on my phone it no longer clears them from the watch and via versa. Anyone else notice this?
Thanks for reporting this. We’ve covered it over here: https://www.iphonetricks.org/messages-read-status-not-syncing-between-devices/
Does any of the provided fixes help you out?
After update incoming calls are shown when wrist is down, and I don’t want that. I tried to change it, but it doesn’t work.
Thanks for the feedback Ioana. I test this out and indeed incoming calls go through when Settings -> Notifications -> Show Notifications on Wrist Down -> Show Notifications (enabled) and Phone app (disabled).
It seems that only the Phone app is affected. I tested with Messages disabled and notifications don’t show when wrist is down.
I tried disabling Show Notifications completely and incoming call alerts still go through.
Let’s wait it out for iOS 15.2 and watchOS 8.3 which should be released today. Perhaps a fix will be included.
It still doesn’t work. :( Any ideas?
Thanks for the followup Ioana. The next step would be to Unpair Apple Watch (a backup is automatically saved on iPhone). Reboot iOS device and re-pair Apple Watch. Does it help?
We will also create a dedicated page for this issue and ask for help from the community. The feedback will be used to report the bug to Apple.
Patricia, same problem after unpair/re-pair.
Looks like we can solve it in Display & Brightness:
Show Complication Data: Choose the complications that show data when your wrist is down.
Show Notifications: Choose the notifications that are visible when your wrist is down.
Show Apps: Choose the apps that are visible when your wrist is down.
Thanks for your contribution Ioana. Indeed if you disable the Phone app in Settings -> Display & Brightness -> Always On -> Show Apps section, incoming calls are not shown anymore when wrist is down in Always On Mode. Great find!