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WatchOS Update Adds ECG App and Heart Rhythm Monitor

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Thursday, 12:28 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   @phonescooper

Apple said owners of the Apple Watch can expect to see watchOS 5.1.2 arrive later today. This update targets the new Series 4 smartwatch and introduces features Apple first revealed earlier this year. The Series 4 gains an ECG app, which gives people the ability to take an electrocardiogram (ECG). Electrodes built into the back of the Digital Crown support the feature. Watch owners need only launch the app and press and hold the Digital Crown for 30 seconds. In addition to taking the ECG, the app also looks for irregular heart rhythms. The Watch is specifically looking for signs of atrial fibrillation, which is a warning sign of imminent health events such as a stroke. Apple worked with the FDA for years in order make this possible. The results are stored securely in the Health app on the associated iPhone and can be shard in PDF form with health care providers. All Apple Watches gain access to an improved heart rhythm detector. The detector uses the optical heart sensor on the Watch to check the rhythm occasionally. If it detects any abnormalities, it will alert the wearer. This feature was validated by testing hundreds of people. Apple says these new tools will need to be turned on. An onscreen setup flow teaches Apple Watch owners what the features can do, what they cannot do, what types of results they may get, and how to interpret those results and take action if warranted. watchOS 5.1.2 will be available for download today.

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