It took around five days longer than we all expected, but the Apple Watch OS 2 update is finally here! Just like all major OS updates from Apple, this download is free and promises to provide a vastly improved experience for users. I’ve often spoken to people about how they feel when it comes to iOS updates for their iPhone or iPad, and the answers usually vary wildly from those who aren’t even aware that their software is being (or even needs to be) update, to those who know the release dates and the list of improvements by heart. The chances are, if you’re the kind of Apple fan who has invested in an Apple Watch early on, you’ll be aware of the Watch OS 2 update and have some idea of what it involves. The main point and most exciting thing is of course that this update will now support native apps that can be developed for and run directly from your Watch, meaning that you no longer have to delegate the heavy lifting to your iPhone and those behind the apps can create titles solely for Apple’s new wearable device. There are however a bunch of other excellent improvements that we run through below!
8. Alarm Clock
For someone who uses their smartphone as an alarm to wake up every morning, the news that Apple are finally looking at the Apple Watch as a device that can do the same is something that I first noticed with this recent update. Most people will take their Apple Watch off and place it next to their bed when going to sleep, so why not take advantage of this? The new Nightstand mode basically flips the display of your watch face to show it horizontally while charging overnight, with an alarm clock that can be set – the side button turns off the alarm, the digital crown turns into a snooze button.
7. Apple Pay Rewards
One of the biggest hits among consumers when it comes to Apple Pay is the whole rewards system, and the fact that you can use retailer loyalty systems through the app itself. Given how popular this is, it’s perhaps understandable that Apple have looked to prioritize it as part of this new Watch OS 2 update. Now, if you have a loyalty card with a store such as Dunkin Donuts or Walgreens, for example, you can simply hit he side button of your watch and pull it out with your Apple Watch, without having to find your card in your wallet or pull out your iPhone.
6. Transit Info
One of the features I was looking out for when first trying an Apple Watch is how it handled turn by turn directions. There’s nothing worse than trying to follow directions on a map while looking down at your iPhone, and the ability to convey this info to your wrist and have it updated in real time was an exciting prospect. This remains problematic as a feature, but it’s nice to see that Apple have looked to improve it and even added mass transit info for OS 2.
5. Activation Lock
One criticism that has been leveled at the Apple Watch since its launch is just how secure the device is, with people reporting online just how easy it is to clear everything from the watch when stolen – and that’s even if you don’t know the code to unlock it. This appears to be the main inspiration behind the new Activation Lock feature that comes with Watch OS 2. With this, it basically requires you to enter your iCloud Apple ID and password in order to unlock the device; this of course ties the device to your account alone and means that no one else can use it, should it be stolen. This feature isn’t a compulsory one, and may be overlooked by those who have already invested time and money in a two step authentication app, but it’s a nice update all the same.