watchOS 2 app logic

In addition to releasing iOS 9 beta 4 and OS X 10.11 El Capitan beta 4 to its developer army, a matching beta of the upcoming Apple Watch software update is now available to registered members of the Apple Developer Program.

The new watchOS 2 beta 4 (build 13S5305d) requires an iPhone running iOS 9 beta 4 and can be applied over-the-air by going to the General -> Software Update section of the Apple Watch companion app.

What’s new in watchOS 2 beta 4

  • Apple Pay is now switched on in beta 4.
  • Issues with Apple ID in the Messages app appear to have been resolved.
  • The Activity complication is now colored on watch faces, it was monochromatic in the previous beta.

watchOS beta 4 colored Activity complication

  • Pushes from complications are now received on an iPhone.
  • Apple Watch to iPhone file transfers no longer fail.
  • Haptic feedback now works in third-party apps.
  • Disabling the Fitness Tracking privacy setting on the companion device for a third-party app no longer sends motion updates to the app on the Watch side.

The full release notes for watchOS beta 4 are available here.

The new beta has arrived approximately two weeks following the release of watchOS 2 beta 3, and more than a month after its initial release during Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference keynote talk back in June.

The biggest change ushered in by watchOS 2 is laying the groundwork for native apps that execute on the device itself, as opposed to being streamed wirelessly off an iPhone, which contributes to lagginess and poor performance.

watchOS 2 nightstand mode

Native apps can tap into Apple Watch hardware, including health sensors, the Digital Crown, Taptic Engine and microphone, in addition to being permitted to connect to known Wi-Fi hotspots to retrieve online content without an iPhone, among other things.

Other newsworthy watchOS 2 tidbits include 3 new watch faces, custom Complications, a Time Travel mode for viewing upcoming events on a watch face and a Nightstand mode, pictured above, which puts the current time in landscape when the device rests on its side.