One of the key features of the recently announced Apple Watch Series 4 is the ECG functionality, which unfortunately wasn’t available at the time of the launch. The iPhone maker did say it will be released by the end of the year and it is reportedly preparing to deliver on that promise.
According to an internal Apple Store training document obtained by MacRumors, ECG will be made available as part of the watchOS 5.1.2 update, enabling users to detect whether their heart rhythm shows signs of atrial fibrillation.
Apple’s smart watch boasts a single-lead electrocardiogram which, propelled by some fancy algorithms, is able to detect afib. The device also connects to the Health app on a paired iPhone to store that alongside other health-related data.
The ECG reading is conducted by users placing a finger on the Digital Crown while wearing the watch. The reading is completed in 30 seconds, allowing users to determine whether their hearts are beating in a regular pattern or if there are signs of atrial fibrillation.
Initially, the ECG feature will be available in the United States where Apple managed to get FDA’s seal of approval. The availability of this feature in other parts of the world will follow as soon as Cook & Co. get local regulatory approvals.
Nonetheless, Apple Store employees are instructed to advise customers that the ECG app is “not intended to be a diagnostic device or to replace traditional methods of diagnosis,” and “should not be used to monitor or track disease state or change medication without first talking to a doctor,” according to Apple’s document.
The ECG app will not be available on previous-generation Apple Watch models, including the original through Series 3.