After about a month of beta testing, Apple is finally releasing watchOS 8.1 to all developers. Different from iOS 15.1 and other operating systems, watchOS 8.1 is all about minor updates.

Since Apple focused a lot on the SharePlay feature for iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and Mac users, watchOS 8.1 feels a bit left behind as it’s in fact a pretty minor update, even though, it brings:

  • COVID-19 vaccination card support that allows you to present verifiable vaccination information form Apple Wallet;
  • Fitness+ supports SharePlay to allow subscribers to invite up to 32 people to workout together through a FaceTime call;
  • Always On may not display the time accurately for some users when their wrist is down.

On the other hand, watchOS 8, which was released a month ago, brings a lot of new features. For example, a redesigned Weather app, two new Watch Faces, and included new built-in applications that take advantage of the always-on display used on the Apple Watch Series 5, Series 6, and Series 7.

Here’s what else is with watchOS 8:

  • There’s a new version of the Breathe app, now called Mindfulness;
  • Respiratory rate is now measured during sleep tracking;
  • Photos app overhauled with featured highlights and memories;
  • Photos can now be shared from the watch with Messages and Mail on watchOS 8;
  • Scribble now lets you include emoji in handwritten messages;
  • App shelf in iMessage includes image search and quick access to photos;
  • Find My now includes items (including AirTags);
  • Weather includes next hour precipitation;
  • Apple Watch can do multiple timers for the first time;
  • Tips is now available on the Apple Watch;
  • Music can be shared from Apple Watch over Messages.

Now, we have to wait and see when Apple will start testing watchOS 8.2 and whether it will bring new features.

If you want to learn how to enroll on watchOS 8 beta testing, click here. You can find our full roundup on the upcoming Apple Watch operating system here.

Did you find anything new in watchOS 8.1? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter, @9to5Mac.

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