The Week in iOS Apps: It’s complicated

26 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Apple Watch apps won’t install? Here are some possible fixes.

Apple has made some big changes to Apple Watch via a spanking-new operating system, though you may have missed it among all of the hoopla about the iPhone 6S and iPad Pro.

The ‘app slicing’ feature in iOS 9 that enabled developers to send optimally-sized variants of their apps to different devices is unavailable because of a bug in iCloud, Apple’s cloud service for its devices. These apps would begin to install, even showing an icon on the Watch’s home screen, but would then get stuck halfway through the process and eventually disappear.

Unfortunately, Cupertino can’t release it to the general public yet (even though its beta testing app has been supporting the feature for quite some time), “due to an issue affecting iCloud backup.” See, Apple gave developers the power to mark parts of their applications meant for specific devices. Slicing is one of three components of Apple’s app-thinning process that enables developers to install iOS apps by matching app delivery to the capabilities of the user’s particular device, with a resultant smaller footprint.

That means folks with an iPhone 6s will only end up downloading app components meant for the 6s and not the ones meant for iPads or other iPhone variants — hence, the term app slicing/thinning. This makes paying for a $2 bottle of water at Starbucks (after you get over sticker shock) is simply a matter going to the Wallet app, scrolling to your Starbucks card, and tapping to bring up the bar code.

The note posted on Apple’s developer website says the company will roll out app slicing with a future software update, though — hopefully sometime soon, for the sake of everyone quickly running out of storage. Keep in mind that this will wipe out all data from the Apple Watch, but it also automatically creates a backup of that data on the iPhone. (If you’re feeling anxious, you can make a backup of your iPhone using iCloud.) Once the reset is complete, set up your Apple Watch again. And though the iPhone is still necessary, you don’t have to be tethered to it, so you can just leave it on your kitchen counter and then roam anywhere in the home (or office) to take calls.

You’ll get to keep your current user name (as long as it doesn’t contain invalid characters, in which case you’ll have to go through a few extra steps to make the transfer), and all your old comments will eventually (not immediately) migrate with you. You can check if you have this feature by going into your phone settings and looking for “Wi-Fi calling” and then enabling it, if it isn’t already enabled. (Note: though this started rolling out on a trial basis earlier from some carriers, it is expected to accelerate on watchOS 2). Now if you place it on its side and connect the charger, the Watch will automatically go into Nightstand mode – a digital display that lights up whenever you touch the screen and shows the time, date, and battery status.

But if you’ve already found something that you can’t wait to try, the nuclear option of resetting your iPhone and Watch is at least confirmed to work.

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