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January 26, 2018

An update to watchOS 4.3 brings several new features to the Apple Watch

by John_A

Apple announced the latest update for the Apple Watch, watchOS 4.3. Currently available as a developers’ beta, the watchOS 4.3 update brings some subtle, but welcome changes to the Apple Watch.

Unlike updates for many Apple devices, watchOS updates are only available to developers. Although it seems like a disappointment that you can’t give the update a test drive a few months before its release, it makes a lot of sense: Uninstalling a watchOS beta is pretty difficult and, at times, it even requires you to send the watch to Apple for service.

While you won’t be able to get your hands on watchOS 4.3 for the next few months, we are already learning lots of details about the update. Here’s what we know so far.

Music app

One of the biggest disappointments when Apple released watchOS 4 in 2017, was the change to the Music app. While previous versions allowed you to control music on your iPhone, watchOS 4 removed the feature and limited you to controlling the music on your Apple Watch.

Well, with the watchOS 4.3 update, you can once again use your watch to control music on your iPhone. Now you can easily use your Apple Watch to connect your iPhone to AirPlay speakers and play music anywhere in your house.

There is also another interesting update in watchOS 4.3. You now see a “Speaker” option when you access AirPlay from the Control Center. The new option is almost certainly meant to connect the watch to Apple’s new HomePod.

Charging and nightstand

chrisalcntra / Reddit

While relatively minor, the watchOS 4.3 update brings some minor changes to the charging and nightstand animations.

First up is the nightstand feature. The watchOS 4.3 update supports nightstand mode in portrait orientation; previous watchOS versions have only supported the feature in landscape. While the update is pretty minor, it’s a major hint that the release of Apple’s new AirPower wireless charger is imminent.

You’ll also see a new charging animation in the watchOS 4.3 update. It’s not a huge change, but it definitely looks a little sleeker.

Watch face

refine_and_refine / Reddit

The Siri watch face, first released in watchOS 4.0, pulls information from more than a dozen sources to show you relevant content throughout the day. While the watch face can provide tons of useful data, it was never able to show you activity data. A Reddit user is reporting that watchOS 4.3 will now allow you to add the Activity complication to the Siri watch face.

Bugs

Like most updates, watchOS 4.3 will bring bug fixes and performance improvements. Since the update is currently only available through a developers’ beta, we don’t have a ton of details on what improvements you can expect. We will continue to monitor and update our reporting as we learn more.

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