Apple has today released watchOS 5.2 to the public, bringing the ECG feature to Hong Kong and Europe and adding support for Air Pods 2.
At the time of posting, we do not believe watchOS 5.2 contains any accessibility improvements for blind and low vision users. This is incredibly disappointing, especially as we are nearing what has historically been the end of the current software release life-cycle - and there are still issues with VoiceOver, such as it not speaking certain Complications on the Infograph faces on the Apple Watch Series 4 which Apple has not resolved. As with iOS 12.2 and macOS 10.14.4, it is our sincere hope that blind and low vision users will not have to wait until this fall's software release to see fixes for the outstanding VoiceOver bugs in watchOS.
Changes in watchOS 5.2
According to Apple's release notes via MacRumors, watchOS 5.2 contains the following changes:
- ECG app on Apple Watch Series 4 now available in Hong Kong and some regions in Europe. For a list of available regions, visit: https://www.apple.com/watchos/feature-availability/
- Irregular heart rhythm notifications now available in Hong Kong and some regions in Europe. For a list of available regions, visit: https://www.apple.com/watchos/feature-availability/
- Adds support for AirPods (2nd generation)
- Supports real-time text (RTT) for phone calls
MacRumors also states that watchOS 5.2 contains support for Apple News+ and two new faces for Hermès Watches that match the Spring Hermès band collection.
Our testing suggests that blind and low vision users are unlikely to find any accessibility improvements or regressions in watchOS 5.2; however, it is impossible for us to test all apps, configurations, and use cases. If you do find any accessibility changes in watchOS 5.2, please let us know by posting a comment detailing your experiences.
How to Update
watchOS 5.2 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.