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Apple watchOS 5.1 arrives alongside iOS 12.1, but major feature still missing

Apple rolled out watchOS 5.1 following its October 30 event, introducing a few new features for Apple Watch. The software update arrived alongside iOS 12.1 for mobile devices and includes support for the 70 new emoji also included for compatible iPhone and iPad devices.

It also delivers the new Group FaceTime feature, which enables users to join group audio calls. Naturally, there’s no camera integrated within the Apple Watch so no video action here. Users will be able to answer audio calls on their watch and then switch to video on the companion iPhone, which is a handy stopgap feature.

Elsewhere, Apple is also introducing some new full-screen colour watch-faces, which are available in a number of shades.

Related: Apple Watch 4 review

watchOS 5.1 also introduces a number of bug fixes and improvements, which Apple describes as follows:

– Apple Watch Series 4 automatically contacts emergency services if you are immobile for about a minute after detecting a hard fall. The watch will also now play a message that informs the responder that the 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 warned Activity awards were not showing in the Awards tab of the Activity app for some users.

One thing that isn’t coming in watchOS 5.1 is the potentially life-saving EKG feature, announced back in September alongside the Apple Watch 4.

It uses the new Digital Crown design to new to take an electrocardiogram, which could pick up life-threatening irregular heart rhythms. Apple has promised the feature will arrive on Series 4 models before the end of the year, but it isn’t here in watchOS 5.1.

To install watchOS 5.1, compatible Apple Watch owners need to be connected to the charger, within range of the companion iPhone and have at least 50% battery left. From there, the update should appear between the companion Watch app.

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