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watchOS 4.2 Adds Apple Pay Cash and Moistens HomeKit

Apple has released watchOS 4.2 with a few notable features. Most important, it now supports Apple Pay Cash, Apple’s new person-to-person payment system. You can either send money in the Messages app on the Apple Watch (screenshots 1–3 below), or use Siri on the Apple Watch (screenshots 4–5). (“Hey Siri, send Adam Engst a dollar.” Just kidding!)


watchOS 4.2 also adds support for HomeKit sprinklers and faucets in the Home app, should you wish to automate your water. Combining automation and faucets strikes me as being fraught with unanticipated problems, but having the ability to turn things off remotely might be welcome for the anxious.

Winter sports enthusiasts may soon be able to track details of downhill ski or snowboard runs with an Apple Watch Series 3 now that watchOS 4.2 provides a workout type that third-party apps can use to monitor downhill snow sports. Sadly, Apple said nothing about support for cross-country skiing, although I did find a mention in the HealthKit API listing it as a constant. Not sure what, if anything, that means, particularly given all the other workout types listed on that page (yay, curling!).

watchOS 4.2 also fixes at least three bugs that Apple is willing to tell us about:

  • Asking Siri about the weather could sometimes cause the Apple Watch to reboot, presumably as Siri contemplated the question of what it really means when the forecast says there’s a 40 percent chance of rain.

  • Scrolling in the Heart Rate app didn’t work for some users.

  • It wasn’t always possible to dismiss simultaneous timers or alarms independently.

As with most updates, there are some security fixes as well, but Apple is sitting on the details for now, presumably until macOS 10.13.2 comes out.

We haven’t noticed any problems with watchOS 4.2, but there’s no harm in waiting a few days to install watchOS 4.2, especially given Apple’s quality control troubles of late.

watchOS 4.2 is a 144 MB download that you install via the Watch app on your iPhone (in Watch > Settings > General > Software Update). Remember that the Apple Watch must be on its charger, charged to at least 50 percent, and within range of your iPhone, which itself must be on Wi-Fi. Don’t start installing if you’ll want to use the watch again within an hour or so — watchOS updates are poky. It’s best done at night.

 

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Alan Forkosh  An apple icon for a TidBITS Supporter 2017-12-06 14:59
If you want your watch to be active overnight (e.g. sleep analysis), start the process well before your bedtime. I think that it took close to 1.5 hours for the process to complete for me.
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Curtis Wilcox  An apple icon for a Friend of TidBITS 2017-12-06 17:46
Start what process? The watch doesn't have built-in sleep tracking capability, right?
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Alan Forkosh  An apple icon for a TidBITS Supporter 2017-12-06 20:15
Various apps monitor heart rate and movement to determine sleep states and quality (for example, AutoSleep).
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