You can now use Apple Watch to authorize purchases on your Apple TV

Apple’s watchOS 8.5 update brings out a new feature that allows you to complete purchases and subscriptions on your Apple TV from the Apple Watch on your wrist.

A photograph showing an Apple Watch Series 6 case sitting upright on a table, with a colorful lights in the background blurred with a depth-of-field effect
Image credit: AB / Unsplash

How to install watchOS 8.5 on your Apple Watch

Available for Apple Watch Series 3 and later, watchOS 8.5 is available to download and install on the device through the companion Watch app on your iPhone.

  1. On your iPhone, open the companion Watch app.
  2. In the Watch app, select the “My Watch” tab.
  3. Choose “General” from the main list.
  4. Select the option labeled “Software Update.”
  5. If asked for your iPhone or Apple Watch passcode, enter it to begin the download.
  6. Wait for the progress wheel to appear on your Apple Watch.

Your Apple Watch is now installing the update, which can take quite a long time to complete because it’s being sent over slow Bluetooth. Be sure to check out our neat Bluetooth tip with which you can speed up watchOS updates dramatically.

Using Apple Watch to complete a purchase on Apple TV

The changelog for watchOS 8.5 states that the update lets you authorize Apple TV purchases and subscriptions with your Apple Watch. You’ve already been available to approve certain system prompts on your Mac with the watch, so this is a nice extension of an existing feature.

Aside from an Apple Watch with watchOS 8.5 or newer, this functionality requires that your Apple TV is powered by the tvOS 15.4 software or later. Both the new Apple TV software (tvOS 15.4) and the latest HomePod update (version 15.4) enable another useful feature: The ability to join captive Wi-Fi networks that require additional sign-in steps, such as those commonly found in hotels and dorms.

What else is new in watchOS 8.5?

watchOS 8.5 also brings improvements to the irregular heart rhythm feature, plus a bunch of new emoji characters including melting face, biting lip, heart hands, bubbles, beans, face with a diagonal mouth, palm-up hand, eggs, troll, low battery, coral, lotus and more. The update also introduces a new feature making it easy to restore an Apple Watch using a nearby iPhone.

watchOS 8.5 also includes an important security fix for a loophole in Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection feature. Security experts said on Twitter that the vulnerability could reveal your IP address when downloading remote content in Mail, such as images. The good news is, watchOS 8.5 automatically prevents remote images and other content from loading. You can also choose whether the Mail app should allow remote content only for the current email or for all incoming emails.

Apple separately provides a list of all the other security updates in watchOS 8.5.

Apple’s changelog for watchOS 8.5

watchOS 8.5 includes these new features, improvements and bug fixes:

  • Ability to authorize Apple TV purchases and subscriptions.
  • COVID-19 vaccination cards in Apple Wallet now support the EU Digital COVID Certificate format.
  • Updates to irregular rhythm notifications designed to improve atrial fibrillation identification. Available in the United States, Chile, Hong Kong, South Africa and many regions where the feature is available. To determine your version, read this support document.
  • Audio hints in Fitness+ provide you with audio commentary of visually demonstrated moves during workouts

You can also access the watchOS 8.5 release notes via the Apple website.