macOS Monterey 12.3, iPadOS 15.4 with Universal Control; Apple Watch gets firmware recovery support

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macOS Monterey 12.3 was released by Apple to provide universal control for Mac and iPad users. The new feature, currently in beta, allows you to use a single mouse and keyboard on your Mac. The new macOS version also brings spatial audio support and new emojis. Alongside the macOS Monterey update, Apple introduced watchOS 8.5, iOS 15.4, and iPadOS 15.4. The iPhone maker has also made it possible for users to restore their Apple Watch’s firmware directly from the iPhone, without having to visit a nearby service center.

macOS Monterey 12.3: What’s new

One of the biggest changes macOS Monterey 12.3 brings to Mac users is the addition of Universal Control. This new feature was announced at WWDC 2021 in June. It was also expected to be available in October as part of the original macOS Monterey, although Apple has delayed the feature.

Universal Control requires your iPad to be running iPadOS 15.4 and that both your iPad and Mac use a single Apple ID. The devices should also be within a few feet of each other.

Once all the above conditions are met, you can use Universal Control to use a single mouse and keyboard on your iPad and Mac. The new feature also lets you drag and drop files between devices.

In addition to Universal Control, Apple included spatial audio support in macOS 12.3 specifically for Mac devices with the M1 chip, so users with supported AirPods can experience a surround sound experience. Customizable Off, Fixed, and Head Tracked spatial audio settings are also available in Control Center when using supported AirPods on Mac computers with the M1 chip.

macOS Monterey 12.3 brings over 40 new emojis and a new Siri voice – just like iOS 15.4. New emojis include faces, hand gestures, and household items.

Apple has updated its Podcasts app in macOS Monterey 12.3, which includes episode filters for seasons, played, unplayed, saved, and downloaded episodes. Safari webpage translation also added Italian and Chinese (Traditional) support. In addition, Shortcuts included support for adding, removing, and querying tags with reminders. Saved passwords in Safari can also contain notes.

The new macOS version includes bug fixes and improvements, including improved accuracy of battery capacity measurements, an updated Apple TV app to fix audio distortion when watching videos, and a Photos app fix for an issue with photos and videos when organizing Albums are unintentionally moved.

Apple has also integrated a number of security patches into macOS Monterey 12.3, which are described on the Security updates page.

iPadOS 15.4: What’s new

Apple introduced iPadOS 15.4 with features like Universal Control, over 40 emojis and the updated Siri with the new voice. Siri on iPadOS 15.4 can also provide time and date information to iPad Pro and later models while offline. In addition, the new iPadOS version includes an updated FaceTime that enables SharePlay sessions initiated directly from supported apps.

The iPadOS 15.4 update also includes the ability to adjust volume controls when rotating your iPad. It works with iPad (5th generation and newer), iPad mini (4th and 5th generation), iPad Air 2, iPad Air (3rd and 4th generation) and iPad Pro. There are also updates to iCloud, Safari, Podcasts, Messages, and Camera apps with some tweaks.

The update also includes bug fixes to fix issues, including one where the keyboard might insert a period between entered numbers. The new macOS version also fixes a syncing issue with iCloud Photo Library where photos and videos are not syncing.

Apple has too detailed the security updates that are part of iPadOS 15.4.

watchOS 8.5: What’s new

Apple Watch users also got watchOS 8.5 with some upgrades. It offers the ability to authorize Apple TV purchases and subscriptions right from your wrist. You can also use audio cues in Fitness+ with audio commentary on visually demonstrated movements during exercise. Apple’s subscription service Fitness+ is yet to launch in India.

The latest version of watchOS also updates irregular heart rhythm notifications to improve atrial fibrillation detection. It is currently available in US, Chile, Hong Kong, South Africa and some regions.

The watchOS 8.5 release also includes a list of patches that are out there detailed on the Security Updates page.

iOS 15.4 and watchOS 8.5 users get a new tool that allows users to restore their Apple Watch over the air. Previously, in case of an unresolvable issue, users had to visit a service center to fix the firmware on the Apple Watch.

Apple updated theirs support articleas sighted from 9to5Mac to detail how users can restore their Apple Watch firmware.

Make sure your Apple Watch and iPhone are running the latest software version and are connected to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. You now need to place your Apple Watch on the charger and double click the side button on the watch. After that, follow the on-screen steps on your iPhone to proceed with firmware recovery.

Apple Watch firmware can now be restored using an iPhone
Photo credit: Apple

The Apple Watch may display a red exclamation mark in some cases. You just need to double click the side button and follow the same steps to restore your Apple Watch in these cases.

You may need to contact Apple Support if your Apple Watch keeps showing the red exclamation mark.

How to download macOS Monterey 12.3

Apple has released macOS Monterey 12.3 for all eligible MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac mini and Mac Pro. You can check for the update manually by going to system settings > software update after clicking the Apple menu icon in the top left corner of your computer screen. Alternatively, you can get the update by visiting the About this Mac Setting from the Apple menu.

How to download iPadOS 15.4

iPadOS 15.2 is compatible with all iPad models that are suitable for iPadOS 15. It can be downloaded at settings > General > software update.

How to download watchOS 8.5

You can download watchOS 8.5 on Apple Watch Series 3 and later by going through General > software update in the Watch app on your iPhone. You can also download the latest watchOS update directly from your Apple Watch when connected to Wi-Fi by going to settings > General > software update.

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