Apple enables electrocardiogram on Watch Series 4 with watchOS 5.1.2

Desiree Burns
December 7, 2018

Apple's long-awaited ECG app is coming to Apple Watch Series 4 today as a free update.

While the original report from The Verge has been pulled, the chances of Apple not releasing watchOS 5.1.2 later today are pretty slim.

Why it matters: Apple Watch Series 4 reaches its full potential with the latest watchOS update, adding the ability to take an ECG reading at any time. This feature is also included in the watchOS 5.1.2 update, along with new complications for the Infograph watch face, Walkie-Talkie availability management in the Control Center, bug fixes, and more. What's more, the user can even be alerted if the heart rate rises or falls below a specified threshold. The ECG Watch app can then reveal any abnormal patterns, and the 30-second ECG can be presented to your doctor through a downloadable PDF. The Apple Watch 4 is being sold worldwide, of course, and it includes a heart sensor, but the app will be limited to the United States for now. Now, nearly three months after the device made its debut, the ECG app is finally available.

Apple expects it to change (and save) lives. Both of those software updates are of course now available to the public, and can be downloaded and installed over the air (OTA) by opening the Watch app on your iPhone and navigating to General Software Update. Apple designed it to detect irregular heart rhythms, which could be signs of atrial fibrillation.

watchOS 5.1.2 is Available Today, Brings ECG and Irregular Heartbeat Detection

ECG functionality is enabled by electrodes baked into Apple Watch's back crystal and Digital Crown.

The health monitoring feature has now only been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the USA, but it appears there is a way to access the ECG feature outside of the U.S., too.

The ECG app is for the Watch itself, while ECG data gets stored in Apple's Health app on iOS devices.

"Apple Watch has helped so many people around the world, and we are humbled that it has become such an important part of our customers' lives", Jeff Williams, Apple's chief operating officer, said in a statement.

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