The Apple Watch Series 4 will finally gain its long-awaited ECG functionality when watchOS 5.1.2 is released to the public. Version 5.1.2 of the operating system is currently in beta testing.
According to MacRumors, which got their hands on an internal Apple Store training document:
watchOS 5.1.2 will feature an Apple-designed ECG app that can indicate whether your heart rhythm shows signs of atrial fibrillation, a serious form of irregular heart rhythm, or a normal sinus rhythm. Apple Watch Series 4 is capable of generating an ECG similar to a single-lead electrocardiogram, according to the FDA.
ECG and other heart data is collected in the Health app on a paired iPhone. Apple’s document lists a minimum requirement of an iPhone 5s or later running iOS 12.1.1, currently in beta testing, or later.
Taking an ECG reading with the Apple Watch Series 4 will be easy. Users will place a finger on the Digital Crown while wearing the watch. The reading will be complete in 30 seconds. The ECG will allow users to determine if their heart is beating properly, of if it is showing signs of atrial fibrillation.
The app is limited to release in the U.S., as that is the only country where Apple has received government clearance, but all Series 4 models include the needed hardware.
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.
Apple has promised availability of the ECG app by the end of the year, but hasn’t announced an exact release data. watchOS 5.1.2 has been in beta testing since November 7.
While the ECG app is only available on Series 4 models, irregular heart rhythm notifications will be available on all Apple Watch Models from Series 1 and newer.