Update: Apple has now withdrawn watchOS 5.1 after some users reported that their watches were rendered unusable by attempting to install the update.
Today has seen another round of software updates from Apple. In addition to iOS 12.1, Apple has released macOS 10.14.1, watchOS 5.1, and tvOS 12.1.
The macOS 10.14.1 update includes support for the Group FaceTime feature, which lets you chat with up to 32 people at the same time. Group FaceTime is also now available on iOS following the release of iOS 12.1; and on Apple Watch with watchOS 5.1.
Additionally, macOS 10.14.1 and watchOS 5.1 introduce more than 70 new emoji. These new emoji are also available on iOS 12.1, and include:
characters with red hair, gray hair and curly hair, a new emoji for bald people, more emotive smiley faces and additional emoji representing animals, sports and food.
According to MacRumors, watchOS 5.1 makes a few minor tweaks to Watch faces:
The watchOS 5.1 update brings a full-screen new "Color" watch face option for the Apple Watch Series 4, with users able to choose between multiple shades. There's also a filled-in circular color option for older Apple Watch models that joins the standard Color clock face.
According to the release notes via 9to5Mac, watchOS 5.1 includes the following improvements and fixes:
- Apple Watch Series 4 automatically contacts emergency services if you are immobile for about a minute after detecting a hard fall. The watch will now also play a message that informs the responder that Apple Watch has detected a fall and shares your location coordinates when possible.
- Fixes an issue that could cause an incomplete installation of the Walkie-Talkie app for some users
- Resolves an issue that prevented some users from being able to send or receive invitations on Walkie-Talkie
- Addresses an issue where some previously earned Activity awards were not showing in the Awards tab of the Activity app for some users
Apple does not traditionally provide release notes for tvOS, so it's still unknown what improvements of fixes are included with tvOS 12.1. However, it's likely to focus on under-the-hood performance improvements and bugs that have been discovered since the release of tvOS 12.
At the time of posting, we are unaware of any changes for blind and low vision users in these releases. If you do spot any fixes, regressions or enhancements, please do let us know by posting a comment below.
How to Update
macOS Mojave introduced a new method of installing software updates - you now open System Preferences and select the "Software Update" option.
To install tvOS 12.1, go to the Settings channel then look for the System section near the bottom. From here, look for Software Updates under Maintenance, then select Update Software and Download and Install.
watchOS 5.1 is available by going to the Watch app on your iPhone and navigating to General> Software Update. To install the update, your Watch must be connected to its charger and have at least 50% battery power.
As always, we look forward to hearing your thoughts on these updates.