watchOS 2.2 launches with Nearby in Maps, pairing of multiple watches and more

watchOS 2.2 multiple watches pairing teaser 001

In addition to the major iOS 9.3 software update for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, a companion software update for the Apple Watch released this morning, too. The new watchOS 2.2 firmware is now available as an over-the-air download in the companion Watch app for the iPhone.

watchOS 2.2 is not as major a release as iOS 9.3 or OS X 10.11.4 so ti includes only a few improvements such as the Nearby feature in Apple’s Maps app, the ability to pair multiple watches to a single iPhone and more.

Before we get to it, check out a brief video walkthrough of all the new features watchOS 2.2 has to offer by our own Andrew O’Hara.

Pair multiple watches to a single iPhone

watchOS 2.2 it is the first software release for the Apple Watch that lets you pair multiple watches to a single iPhone simultaneously. This feature should be of particular interest to people who own more than one watch and want to use one, say, for jogging and working out and the other for a more dressy occasion.

Folks who write software for a living and wish to test their native apps on multiple watches should find this new feature quite handy, too.


The companion Watch app is even smart enough to automatically switch over to the right watch without you having to do anything other than putting your watch on and raising your wrist.

Multiple watches can only be paired to an iPhone running iOS 9.3 or later.

Revamped Maps gains Nearby and more

The stock Maps app has been revamped and received some updates in watchOS 2.2.

For starters, Search is now a tappable option rather than requiring a Force Touch action and there’s a new toggle for switching between standard and transit directions.

More importantly, Maps in watchOS 2.2 brings out the Nearby feature which lets you browse various points of interest in your vicinity and find local business organized by type, powered by Yelp’s database.

watchOS 2.2 Maps Apple Watch screenshot 002

Spanning categories such as Foods, Drinks, Shopping, Travel, Services, Fun, Health and Transport, Nearby is a great feature addition for travelers while making Maps for Apple Watch on par with its iOS 9 counterpart in terms of finding local businesses.

watchOS 2.2 Maps Apple Watch screenshot 003

As you may have guessed, an enhanced Maps glance in watchOS 2.2 sports the Nearby icon that acts as a shortcut which takes you right into the Nearby section within the Maps app. And lastly, Maps now provides quick navigation buttons for travel directions from your current location to home and work addresses.

Apple’s Feature Availability webpage lists markets where Nearby is available.

The Nearby feature is also available on iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices with iOS 9.0 or later and on CarPlay with the new iOS 9.3 software installed.

Bug fixes and other tidbits

watchOS 2.2 includes bug fixes and performance improvements for issues discovered since the release of watchOS 2, plus a number of optimizations and under-the-hood tweaks that should improve the performance of your Apple Watch.

Availability of watchOS 2.2

watch OS 2.2 requires any Apple Watch model and an iPhone with iOS 9.3 or later. The software update is provided at no charge to all Apple Watch owners. For detailed information about the security content of this update, see Apple Security Updates.

How to update to watchOS 2.2

To update to watchOS 2.2, open the companion Watch app on your iPhone, tap My Watch → General → Software Update and follow onscreen instructions.

The update won’t install unless your watch’s battery charge is at least 50 percent, the device is connected to its charger and in range of its connected iPhone

After the phone downloads the update, a rather lengthy installation process will begin. Simply wait for the Apple logo to appear on your watch and for the progress bar to fill in completely. Your Apple Watch should reboot once the update is completed.

Will you update to watchOS 2.2?

If you spot other outward-facing changes in watchOS 2.2, obvious or subtle, let us know and we’ll update the article with new information.

We also want to hear your thoughts on this particular software update.

What’s your favorite new feature in watchOS 2.2, and why? And those of you who own an Apple Watch, are you guys going to update soon?

And that’s it, ladies and gentlemen. Make sure to stay tuned to iDownloadBlog throughout the day and the rest of this week for tons of additional Apple Watch and watchOS 2 coverage.