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macOS Monterey 12.3, iPadOS 15.4 Arrive With Universal Control; Apple Watch Gets Firmware Restore Support

The latest macOS and iPadOS versions also include over 40 new emoji and a new Siri voice.

macOS Monterey 12.3, iPadOS 15.4 Arrive With Universal Control; Apple Watch Gets Firmware Restore Support

Photo Credit: Apple

Universal Control has been one of the most anticipated features for users with Mac and iPad

  • macOS Monterey 12.3 has been released for all compatible Mac devices
  • watchOS 8.5 comes with the ability to authorise Apple TV purchases
  • Apple Watch users can restore firmware, without visiting a service centre

macOS Monterey 12.3 has been released by Apple to bring Universal Control for Mac and iPad users. The new feature, which is currently in beta, allows you to use a single mouse and keyboard across your Mac. The new macOS release also brings spatial audio support and new emojis. Alongside the macOS Monterey update, Apple has introduced watchOS 8.5, iOS 15.4, and iPadOS 15.4. The iPhone maker has also enabled users to restore firmware of their Apple Watch directly from the iPhone, without requiring them to visit a nearby service centre.

macOS Monterey 12.3: What's new

One of the biggest changes that 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 as a part of the original macOS Monterey in October, though Apple delayed the feature.

Universal Control requires your iPad to run on iPadOS 15.4, and both your iPad and Mac to use a single Apple ID. The devices should also be within a few metres of each other.

Once all the above conditions are fulfilled, you can leverage Universal Control to use a single mouse and keyboard across your iPad and Mac. You can also drag and drop files between the devices using the new feature.

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

The macOS Monterey 12.3 brings over 40 new emojis and a new Siri voice — just like iOS 15.4. The new emojis include faces, hand gestures, and household objects.

Apple has updated its Podcasts app within macOS Monterey 12.3 that brings episode filters for seasons, played, unplayed, saved, and downloaded episodes. Safari webpage translation also added support for Italian and Chinese (Traditional). Further, Shortcuts included support for adding, removing, and querying tags with Reminders. Saved passwords in Safari can also include notes.

The new macOS release carries bug fixes and improvements that include improved accuracy of battery capacity readings, updated Apple TV app to fix sound distortion while watching video, and a Photos app fix for an issue of photos and videos being moved unintentionally when organising albums.

Apple has also included a number of security patches in macOS Monterey 12.3 that are detailed on the security updates page.

iPadOS 15.4: What's new

Apple has introduced iPadOS 15.4 with features including Universal Control, over 40 emoji, and the updated Siri that includes the new voice. Siri on iPadOS 15.4 can also provide time and date information while offline on iPad Pro and later models. Further, 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 you rotate 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, News, and Camera apps with few tweaks.

The update additionally carries bug fixes to address issues including one where the keyboard may insert a period between typed numbers. The new macOS version also addresses a syncing problem with iCloud Photo Library where photos and videos are not synced.

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

watchOS 8.5: What's new

Apple Watch users have also received watchOS 8.5 with a few upgrades. It brings the ability to authorise Apple TV purchases and subscriptions directly from your wrist. You can also use audio hints in Fitness+ with audio commentary of visually demonstrated moves during workouts. Apple's Fitness+ subscription service is yet to debut in India.

The latest watchOS release also updates irregular rhythm notifications designed to improve atrial fibrillation identification. It is currently available in the US, Chile, Hong Kong, South Africa, and some regions.

The watchOS 8.5 release also includes a list of patches that are detailed on the security updates page.

Users with iOS 15.4 and watchOS 8.5 get a new tool to let users recover their Apple Watch wirelessly. Up until now, users needed to visit a service centre to fix the firmware on the Apple Watch in case of an unresolvable issue.

Apple has updated its support article, as spotted by 9to5Mac, to detail how users can restore their Apple Watch firmware.

Make sure that your Apple Watch and iPhone are running the latest software version and are connected to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. You will now need to put 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 the firmware restore.

apple watch firmware restore recovery iphone image apple Apple Watch  iPhone

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


The Apple Watch might show a red exclamation point in some instances. You just need to double-click the side button and follow the same steps to recover your Apple Watch in those cases.

You may have to contact Apple Support if your Apple Watch continues to show 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 manually check for the update by going to System Preferences > Software Update after clicking on the Apple menu icon from the top-left corner of your computer's screen. You can also alternatively 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 eligible for iPadOS 15. It can be downloaded by going to Settings > General > Software Update.

How to download watchOS 8.5

You can download watchOS 8.5 on the Apple Watch Series 3 and above by going through General > Software Update on the Watch app on your iPhone. You can also download the latest watchOS update directly from your Apple Watch if it is connected to Wi-Fi, by going to Settings > General > Software Update.

This week on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast, we dive into Apple's Peek Performance event. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.
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