Apple Watch Series 4 is reportedly getting the anticipated electrocardiogram (ECG) functionality through the watchOS 5.1.2 update. The ability to take an ECG of the user's heart using the built-in sensors makes the new Apple Watch model a strong contender in the smartwatch market. But while Apple showcased the scope of the latest integration at its September event, the ECG feature is yet to make it to the smartwatch. The Cupertino giant received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the ECG app earlier this year. However, users are supposed to wait for the next watchOS update to experience its capabilities.
As per an Apple Store training document obtained by MacRumors, watchOS 5.1.2 will include an Apple-made ECG app to let users monitor their heart rhythm and understand signs of Atrial Fibrillation. Apple announced at the time of launching the Apple Watch Series 4 that all recordings through the ECG app, their associated classifications, and any noted symptoms are stored in the Health app in a PDF. This PDF can be shared with physicians.
The new ECG app works with the electrodes built into the new Digital Crown of the Apple Watch Series 4 and the new electrical heart rate sensor that is featured in the back crystal. To record an ECG, users will be required to place their finger on the Digital Crown while wearing the Apple Watch.
The training document reportedly highlights that the ECG app is regulated and will only be available in regions where the new heart recording feature cleared for use. This means the app will initially be limited to the US since Apple has already received FDA clearance. However, the Apple Watch Series 4 models available globally include the necessary hardware to bring future expansion of the ECG feature.
It is worth noting here that Apple Store employees are reportedly 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”.
Aside from ECG reports, the latest Apple Watch model is designed to analyse heart rhythms in the background and sends a notification if an irregular heart rhythm is detected. This feature is yet to debut via watchOS. A separate Apple training document obtained by MacRumors suggests that the irregular heart rhythm notifications will also be available through watchOS 5.1.2 and will hit not just the Apple Watch Series 4 but also all the Apple Watch models starting from the Series 1.
Apple is currently testing watchOS 5.1.2 with developers, though there isn't any official word around its final debut. Having said that, considering the beta testing of the new watchOS version, we can safely expect that it should arrive publicly soon. The fresh Apple Watch software is expected to come alongside iOS 12.1.1 that's also been in beta testing.