Apple Watch OS 5.1 update causing problems for some users


Sarah Tew/Techhnews

Apple released an update to the Apple Watch Series 4 earlier today that was designed to improve emergency alerts after the watch’s fall detection is activated — but the Watch OS 5.1 software update appears to be fouling up some users’ watches, according to reports on Twitter. 

Here’s what was supposed to happen: Watch OS 5.1, which is available for download alongside iOS 12.1, will now automatically call emergency services and play a recorded message, saying that a fall has happened and offering location information (latitude and longitude). The watch already could make emergency calls after falling, but didn’t send an audio message (instead, an emergency message with location information was sent to a key emergency contact).

The added audio message is intended for anyone who falls and is unable to speak, or falls unconscious. In the event that the person who falls can still speak, there’s also an option to stop the recorded message and speak directly. (The Apple Watch Series 4 has already been credited with helping at least one person who fell and needed assistance.)

However, in the hours since the update has become available, some users on Twitter and Reddit are reporting that the update is “bricking” their Series 4 watches. 

News of the software update issue was previously reported by 9to5mac. 

We’ve reached out to Apple for comment and will update this story when the company replies. But in the meantime, you should skip this software update for now.

Apple had previously pledged to deliver a software update to the Apple Watch Series 4 that adds electrocardiogram (ECG, also known as EKG) functionality before the end of the year, but the company hasn’t yet specified a date.

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