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Apple released watchOS 9.6.1 for Apple Watch users on Tuesday but without an accompanying iOS 16.6.1 update. A new rumor today suggests that Apple isn’t planning iOS 16.6.1 and is instead planning to jump all the way to iOS 16.7. Simultaneously, Apple has also started ramping up iOS 17.1 testing.
watchOS 9.6.1 addresses a bug in Apple’s Movement Disorder API that had prevented access to that data by researchers and third-party applications.
Typically (but not always), when Apple releases an update for one of its platforms, it releases accompanying updates for other platforms. This is especially true for watchOS, with Apple generally trying to keep lock-step between watchOS and iOS when possible.
That being said, a new rumor today from a previously accurate source on Twitter suggests that Apple is instead planning to jump to iOS 16.7 with its next update. The company reportedly isn’t planning to release iOS 16.6.1.
There’s no word on when Apple might release iOS 16.7 to the public, and the update is not actively being beta tested with developers. Last year, the first and only iOS 15.7 beta was released alongside the final iOS 16 beta. The stable iOS 15.7 update for everyone was released alongside iOS 16 on September 12, with a handful of bug fixes and security improvements.
In recent years, Apple has allowed users to remain on a previous year’s iOS release instead of immediately updating to the new version. For example, Apple actively encouraged users to update to iOS 15.7 rather than iOS 16 on day one last year.
iOS 17.1 testing ramps up
As of right now, there’s no evidence of iOS 16.7. This will likely change as we inch closer to a release sometime next month.
Interestingly, there has been a subtle uptick in iOS 17.1 users on over the last several weeks. iOS 17.1 could potentially add some of the features that aren’t included in the iOS 17 initial release, such as the new Journal app, additional AirDrop improvements, and collaborative playlists in Apple Music.
Last year, iOS 16.1 was released on October 24 with new features including iCloud Shared Photo Library, Live Activities for third-party apps, key sharing in the Wallet app, and more.
Apple releases watchOS 9.6.1 update for Apple Watch users
Apple is rolling out a new software update to Apple Watch users ahead of watchOS 10’s launch in September. Starting today, watchOS 9.6.1 is rolling out with a fix for the Movement Disorder API.
Here’s what Apple says is new in watchOS 9.6.1:
- This update includes a fix for an issue that prevents access to motion data for apps that use the Movement Disorder API to track tremors and symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease.
The Movement Disorder API was first launched in 2018 as a way for developers to offer passive, all-day monitoring via an Apple Watch. The API is able to monitor two common symptoms of Parkinson’s, including Tremors, indicated by shaking and quivering detected by the Apple Watch. The API can also monitor for Dyskinesia, a side-effect of treatments for Parkinson’s that causes fidgeting and swaying motions in patients.
The bug in watchOS 9.6 prevented third-party apps from accessing this data. Apple says the issue has been rectified with today’s release of watchOS 9.6.1.
You can update your Apple Watch by going to the Apple Watch companion app or to the Settings app on the Apple Watch itself. The build number for watchOS 9.6.1 is 20U80.
As of right now, there’s no sign of other updates from Apple, including iOS 16 and macOS Ventura. We’ll be sure to let you know if any other updates are released today.